Content warning: mass shooting
The largest mass shooting in United States history* took place this weekend. Of course it is time to discuss gun control and the rampant proliferation of military firepower in civilian hands. With an average of more than one mass shooting per day in 2016 so far, it is always time to discuss gun control. But this is not only about guns. It never is.
This is about bigotry, and the entitlement that comes with social dominance. It’s about men and the way we build them. It’s about a culture of anger and violence. It’s about homophobia, religion, racism, and the all too common problem of a man enraged lashing out, and a world unwilling to recognize it.
It’s not about mental illness. Violence rarely is. Over ninety percent of violent crimes are committed by people with no history of mental illness, but with a history of poorly controlled anger. When preachers, politicians, and pundits give these angry healthy people a target for their rage, they act on it. It’s not crazy to hate the people you’re taught to.
Gun control will lower the body count. This is a good thing and reason enough to support it. But gun control will not even begin to address homicidal rage. It won’t stop the racism behind police brutality or the public response to it. It won’t stop the transmisogyny that leads to the horrific, frequent murders of trans women. It won’t solve the sexism that inspires domestic abusers and rapists, or allows our judicial system to coddle them.
We have a gun problem, yes. We also have a bigotry problem that’s wildly out of control. We are suffering under a plague of male anger that is choking us, of straight rage that is killing us. This country was founded on the property rights of rich white men, and we’ve never shaken off that bias. Our violent disdain for all other humans has never left us.
We need bigot control. We need to end this hateful, angry, entitled state of affairs. We need to teach all children how to manage their rage, not just adults convicted of assault. We need to abolish all forms of unearned privilege, and we need to stop telling endangered populations to wait for change, to be patient until the bigots die of old age. We need gun control too. But please, do not for one second believe this is only about guns. It never is.
* The Massacre at Wounded Knee is considered by some the largest mass shooting. I consider a government military force attack different if no less horrific than an independent gunman with modern weaponry.
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