The party of “life” strikes again:
House File 1467, which ought to be called “Shoot First,” will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee this Thursday. It would allow the killing of anyone who enters another’s yard, even when the person is unarmed and posing no threat; and it would allow the killing of anyone in a public place who seems threatening — again, even if the person is unarmed, and even if walking or driving away is a safe option.
This is how cheap the Republicans in Minnesota think life is. This is how little they value it. What this bill would mean is that no one, anywhere, is safe at any time.
Think about what kind of society that is.
Back when I worked at a bookstore in the Phoenix metro area, a woman came into the store. She needed a book on grief. Could I recommend any?
I was too young to know what grief is, not even twenty. I’d only suffered a few losses: my grandmother died of breast cancer when I was seven, my grandfather of complications from diabetes a few years later, my uncle the same way when I was fourteen. But they lived half a continent away. I’d felt pain, briefly, but their loss hadn’t been a constant hole. What did I know about grief and mourning? Nothing. I took her over to the proper section, tried to make a few recommendations based on what other people had bought, rang up her purchases.
That’s when she told me why.
She’d had a son. A little younger than me, just a teenager, on his way home one evening. He took a shortcut through a neighbor’s yard. He knew the neighbor, didn’t think it would be a big deal, nothing he hadn’t done before. But that night, the neighbor picked up a gun. Went to the door. Didn’t bother with a warning, didn’t bother to identify, just shot.
Her son died. The neighbor faced no consequences. The kid had been on someone else’s property, after all, and it didn’t matter to the fine people of Arizona that he was a kid who hadn’t done a single threatening thing. I believe there was a trial, but the jury wouldn’t convict.
And if the Republicans in Minnesota had their way, there wouldn’t even be that much.
What do you say to a woman whose son had been murdered, shot down by someone they knew, and who had been denied justice by a jury of their peers? What will you say to the people who will lose loved ones, because their “crime” was stepping on the wrong bit of property or maybe looking too closely at some trigger-happy shit at the local park? What will you say when the person who pulled the trigger walks away without facing a single instant of jail time for taking a human life?
But that’s not all:
Also buried in this bill is a loosening of concealed-carry permit laws to recognize all other state’s pistol permits in Minnesota, even states with lax background checks that issue permits valid for life. It also makes it harder for local law enforcement to prevent prohibited purchasers from getting permits to buy guns, and limits law enforcement’s ability to confiscate weapons in domestic violence situations.
So that means guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. And guns in the hands of abusers.
Basically, what the Republicans are saying is, if the police get called out on a domestic, they can’t take the guns away from the very upset, demonstrably violent person who might then decide to reassert his (or, less probably, her) dominance by taking one of those non-confiscated weapons and putting a bullet or few through the head of the person they’ve been busy abusing. According to the Republicans, this is right and good and how things are supposed to be.
Am I taking it personally, despite the fact I don’t live in Minnesota? You betcha. Not only are there people in Minnesota I quite like and would prefer to see survive, but Republican insanity has a distressing tendency to spread to other states. It’s like measles, or smallpox, and there appears to be no vaccine. There are plenty of people in the great state of Washington who think living in the Wild West is an ideal, not a problem.
So, Minnesotans, make sure your reps know you don’t agree that life is so fucking cheap. And as for the rest of us, we’d best be on our guard.
We’d better be taking it personally.