Someone wrote about Stephen Paddock that he wasn't a maniac, he wasn't a terrorist, he was simply a white man acting the way white men do. I almost agree. I believe Stephen Paddock was simply an American acting the way Americans do. We kill each other, we make war on anything and everything that stands in our way. We do what we know. We're Americans after all.
And, yes. I am, as are you, weary of the cycle of outrage followed by equivocations followed by... nothing changing in any way when it comes to guns in this country. It's exhausting and disheartening in ways that only a member of the Progressive Left can feel. Except that's not true at all.
In an effort to gain understanding on some level for the inexplicable, in lieu of simply writing off the Gun Nuts and 2nd Amendment Monsters and their lust for all things that shoot and kill, it occurred to me that the way I feel must be at least in the same wheelhouse as someone adamantly anti-abortion must feel every time a regulation on abortion rights is struck down.
In this sort of thought experiment lies the primary reason there is never any real gun reform in this country.
We have to admit something. We say we don't want to take all their guns but we're lying. We do want to take all their guns and they know it. Thus, any step closer to that agenda, any legislation that seems like a concession, is fought against tooth and nail. Because they know that if we get our way they won't be able to legally own those death cannons.
Just like the anti-abortion club.
There is nothing pragmatically wrong with requiring counseling prior to getting an abortion nor is it unreasonable to place a time limit on the procedure to avoid what starts to appear to be gruesome after five months or so. But we know that the Far Right doesn't want to regulate abortion. They want to completely eliminate it as an option. They want to get rid of our guns. So we dig in and fight even the slightest abridgment of absolute freedom.
They see murder. We see murder. Our murder is constitutionally protected. Their ownership of the means to murder is constitutionally protected. Because we have so thoroughly demonized the Other Side, compromise is impossible. Which means, in their view, we murder thousands of innocent babies, and in our view, they allow the slaughter of thousands of innocents as well.
And we wonder why our elected officials can't possibly find compromise on almost anything.
I remember the early days of the anti-abortion blowback in the 1980s in Kansas. Operation Rescue. I recall the over-the-top rage displayed in front of abortion clinics, the lining up and screaming at hapless women who were choosing to exercise their constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies, women who all had their own personal reasons for choosing the route they were on. And those anti-abortion protesters didn't care about the circumstances of these women. They only saw murderers. So they shrieked and shamed and bullied.
There was no reasoning with them. There was no chance for conversation or dialogue. No dialogue equals no compromise. No compromise equals no solutions.
America has become increasingly less religious in the past few decades while also becoming far more moralistic which is odd. Like a bunch of angry Puritans with no god but themselves.
Listening does not equal agreeing.
Belief does not equal truth.
No one was ever convinced of change by being told they are evil.
I don't have a solution to offer. I wish I did. I am almost completely anti-gun across the board and I am likewise almost entirely pro-choice across the board. I can't find compromise, either. But if we, as a nation of individuals, ever want to be a better nation united, we need to find bridges, build cathedrals of common ground and learn to find compromise, or else we are completely fucked.
If we can't rise above being American, we are no better than our history.