Following another mass shooting, the debate follows the familiar pattern. The advocates of gun control ask why this does not -- finally -- spur lawmakers to action to implement regulations that will keep deadly hardware out of the hands of people who will misuse it. The passionate defenders of guns respond with their usual arguments against restricting access to weapons.
The gun lovers are right when they say that restrictive laws will inconvenience law-abiding citizens far more than they will impede bad people who will get their killing hardware outside of officially sanctioned channels. Evil finds a way.
The saddest part -- after the actual slaughter of innocents -- is the passionate devotion gun lovers display toward the tools of killing.
Gun control attempts to solve a behavioral problem by regulating equipment. The guns themselves do serve a function, but the problem lies in the willingness to use them in a certain way. The mental and emotional climate moves steadily toward a more paranoid population. You can't call it a society, and it's certainly not a community. It's just a bunch of people living in forced proximity, getting on each other's nerves.
We are learning to fear each other and to broadcast our opposition to the multitude of viewpoints we know conflict with our own.
I've certainly gotten to the point where I automatically distance myself from anyone with a coiled-snake sticker on their car. Many of them are nice enough, even treating me with great courtesy when they pass me on my bicycle. But the signal flag is flown by misguided libertarians who want to be free to use their wiles to claw their way up in a culture based on personal advancement to the detriment of everything else.
The coiled snake can appear by itself or in a group of stickers ranging
from one or two more to a multicolored collage of xenophobia. The
accompanying stickers can say things like "Shoot protesters," "Imagine
No Liberals," and worse exhortations to take positive action to rid the
world of viewpoints the owner of the vehicle feels should be eradicated.
The libertarian Utopia is a wild land dotted with the personal forts of sovereign citizens. That might be better for the environment. As humanity devolves through isolation and the collapse of collective culture, our life spans will shorten and our population will drop. Eventually, we will settle into equilibrium with our environment.
On the other hand, if this pure application of philosophy gets diluted by personal weaknesses and alliances, you just end up with a species choking on the pollutants released by its job creators and feeding each other hot lead. We're pretty close to that now.