US, its guns, and the art of bull-shitting

58+ people dead in Vegas shooting when last checked, 500+ injured. Previous mass shooting venues include movie theaters, night clubs, church, college campuses and schools – elementary schools! Debates/discussions on CNN, NBC, Fox: motives, mental health, flags, Philippines and some customary ‘gun control’ (although, by the time I am submitting this piece, some discussion – in lieu of the ludicrousness of what happened in Vegas - has shifted at least on two major channels to how can it be that the devices that allowed the weapons to be rigged to reach this caliber can be ‘legal to own but illegal to use’ and how could it be that amassing 33 or more weapons, is a perfectly normal, innocent hobby for many enthusiasts – legal, no questions asked! But that, I doubt, will be enough. After all, even dead 6 year olds couldn’t stop our distractions. 49 people killed in Pulse after Sandy Hook - two measures on stricter gun control fails without even getting a hearing! Thanks to the very skillful digressions, deflections, and good old power of money).

One particular panelist, when asked if this would at last be a cause enough for current congress to revisit some gun control measures (which overwhelming majority of Americans want, but still mysteriously can never be passed), responds by pointing out how the motive behind this is more important right now than to jump to that conclusion – especially expressing grievance that Vegas police has been fast to say the shooter acted alone, which if she was in charge wouldn’t do, as there are many unknowns. Especially the fact of an ex-girlfriend from Philippines who has recently left the country. As if knowing whether Paddock did this because he has feeling crazy with his life, or because his craziness was from some misguided affiliation, or because he was just plain crazy with no reason is most critical missing piece to be able to prevent mass shootings. We now know as much as can be known on why the Sandy Hook killer did what he did. What has changed?

Now imagine a different scenario: stricter background checks, restrictions on numbers of weapons that can be legally owned and of what caliber. Could Paddock still have done what he has done by acquiring what he needed illegally (a common argument that is thrown around by gun enthusiasts)? Maybe.

Could the death toll be less or his chances of getting caught before he managed to do this have been higher? Absolutely.

But still there are people who will skillfully lead you away from this truth with massive paid efforts and fine talks. And the media will have to allow them some talking space: after all, good coverage listens to both sides.

Let’s pretend to think about the motive behind these comments. Is it because the speaker really believes that having uncontrolled personal access to bastion of fire arms doesn’t create any danger to the society? Or is it to make sure attention doesn’t get drawn to the many for who this is normal, lest it goes to the forbidden ‘there’!

I need am limited by word limits, so I am leaving out here the other common sense counters against most of these ‘please look the other direction – any direction except for in the one you should’ tactics on gun control that I have written about before as my anger needs more than 1000 words to just call out this bull-shitting here.

I come from a country that is, when compared to how we conduct ourselves here in the US, unarguably ‘raw’. We conduct ourselves quite directly there – and while that has its negatives – that is the style I would prefer for calling this out: the bull shit. The ability of nice, educated, accredited people to lie with a straight face publicly and knowingly. This amazes me even after 13 years here: the finesse with which experts, politicians and commentators here bull shit both sides of an argument in the pretense of expertise and attempted balance.

This struck me first time when I heard a certain group of experts ‘debating’ an issue as black and white as hate crime on a major channel. I listened on in amazement back in 2004, still fresh off the boat, how these very well dressed men and women used very polished English to draw a circle in place of a line between two points. I couldn’t understand it, nor could I figure out why in their right mind anyone would choose to defend something so stupid when they appear to be capable of such smartness and expertise. And then - over the years – it occurred to me! Off course they know what they are defending is wrong! They are just very good at their jobs.

It is their job to know what is circular, ambiguous and un-defendable about whatever it is that stands antagonistic to their personal/institutional/ political interests. And to know how to use that to divert attentions away and digress discussions.

In this extremely advanced and civilized nation, the lobbyists and interest groups know how to make sure even the most ridiculous to common sense arguments get presented in a polished silver plate. And we, thanks to most of the mainstream media who strive hard to play neutral to idiocy, slurp it up.

Before the ‘if you don’t like it here go back’ comments start – let me humbly clarify the obvious – criticizing certain issues as I see them is not a sign of my allegiance or lack of it for any nation. I also want to state the second obvious, there is tremendous amount of freedom in this country that I value more than my life, for speech and expression. I wouldn’t be writing this piece in most nations I have belonged or traveled to. That is exactly why, I feel like this nation can do better in calling out the bull shit and let the common sense prevail. It is their job that they are doing. It is our job to think and believe intelligently, and act selflessly (hint: choose society’s safety over inconvenience to your hobby).

Ironically, my personal belief is that the 45th president of this nation did get elected to some extent for this exact reason – showing a glimmer of (albeit crude) hope in the matter of cutting through polished circular talks in place of actions. I say ironically, because his election has in turn led to the need for more and more such talks by the defenders of his actions and policies.

NFL players vs. Mr. Trump counter – an hour long debate on the importance of patriotism and symbolism today. And the issue that started this? The numerous black men and women facing a different reality every day and ultimately paying with their lives? That is the elephant we don’t need to see as long as we keep listening to ‘all sides’ (or maybe I should say ‘many sides’).

Stupid, downright offensive tweets by a President, including calling a woman a ‘bitch’: Twitter and its importance in modern day politics and how Trump is very skillfully, changing the narrative of how modern day presidents interact with the public – an hour long discussion fit for a university paper.

Defending Graham Cassidy Health Care bill: let’s also talk about the people having to pay higher premium on Obamacare, until I confuse you enough to forget the shortcomings of this one.

Back to guns and the counter arguments: yes, there is a motive in this latest one too which we may or may not know. No, that will not change the fact that this nation is in desperate need of common sense gun laws: closing loopholes through which ammunition can be bought beyond any limits. Restriction on a certain kind. No avenue for assembling ammunition without having to provide identification details – stricter background checks. Please talk about that as you pray for the victims and express condolences, and stop convincing yourself on all the other bull shit which you believe (or pretend to believe) is the ‘real issue’ here. We don’t need to hear the many sides anymore – we know what is needed – we need to act.

For more on author/discussions: thoughtsandrights.com

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