Out of Our (Gun) Control

In the aftermath of the Colorado movie theatre shooting, the gun control debate is in full swing, and it’s been a typically predictable battle of wills. Proponents of the Second Amendment are sticking with the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” party line, and opponents are insisting that fewer guns would lead to fewer lives lost.

If you think about it, to call this a “debate” is not accurate; debate implies weighing the merits of opposing views to see which one best holds up under scrutiny. Two cliques inflexibly arguing the same points for decades on end does not fall under that definition. And, more importantly, it hasn’t accomplished anything other than getting people more and more pissed off at each either.

Another tragedy has shaken us to the core, and we haven’t learned a damn thing.

Feeling the way I do about this, my interest was immediately piqued when I saw that rapper and actor Ice-T had been asked to share his views on gun control in the United States. I’ve been a fan of his incisive and inflammatory rhymes ever since I was a kid, and I think it’s safe to say that someone who’s lived through both the South Central LA civil war (the longest-running armed conflict in American history, which has amassed a higher death toll than the home-rule war in Northern Ireland) and the Army is far more qualified to analyze gun violence than any politician.

In essence, Ice states that murder is a given. Fewer guns would only give us more shanks and home-made explosives, and this homicidal instinct is as American as apple pie. What else do you expect from a land built on top of a shallow mass grave? Interestingly, he also says that our right to bear arms is not so much to defend ourselves from one another, but from a police force with a proven track record of power-tripping and strong-arming. It is, after all, not only our Constitutional prerogative but our civic duty to put authority in its place when it doesn’t serve our best interests.

I’ve always considered myself an advocate of gun control, and processing Ice’s take on things forced me to step out of my comfort zone. Like any ineffectual armchair liberal, my knee-jerk reaction was “no, get rid of guns, period!” And honestly, if it had been anybody less badass than Ice-T making this case, I might not have given it much thought. But I think he’s right. We’ve been killing each other since the stone age, and senseless violence exists among our primate relatives. Guns are just an evolutionary leap from spears and arrows.

And then there’s the legal aspect of this problem. By now, it should be perfectly obvious to anyone with the slightest capacity for deductive reasoning that making something illegal doesn’t prevent it. All forms of violence, abuse, drug use and distribution, underage drinking, motor vehicle violations, theft, rape, prostitution, slave labor, white-collar crime, etc etc etc, are and always have been alive and well in America. All of the legal hand-wringing in the world will not stop people from shooting each other.

Everybody seems to be missing the point. None of the debaters and law-makers ask why so many people commit these acts. It takes a pathologically miserable person to stoop to such violence. Statistics alone prove that this misery is pervasive, and history shows that without this misery, I wouldn’t be here typing this and you wouldn’t be here reading it. I’ve come to the conclusion that the gun control debate is little more than a distraction from that deeply uncomfortable truth.

See Ice-T make his point here: