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Dealing Death by Firearm in America

In America, there is surely another gun nut with his screws loose planning the next atrocity.

Here we are again, amid the greatest aggregation of firearms in the history of mankind, still pissing in an exceptionally fetid urinal. What passes in America for political leadership is again paralyzed by an organized cabal of venal corporate arms merchants with a surefire formula for lobbying success — big lies, plus big threats, plus big bribes equal a braindead public passion for arms that are designed to kill people.

Make no mistake, this is not about Bambi, and this is not about true sporting folks who buy a gun and then buy a license to use it. I am not exactly sure how it is OK to require a license to kill a deer, but not OK with these folks to require a license to kill a human. Think about the nutcase in Las Vegas. He seemed to be a meticulous guy going about the business of setting himself up to kill a whole bunch of humans. He probably had a license to kill deer, but didn’t need to have a license to kill humans, so he didn’t bother to try to get one.

If this were just a Nevada problem, we could just avoid Nevada. There is not much there to begin with, and Celine Dion and Wayne Newton are hardly reasons to go to a state that doesn’t require a license to kill humans.

The big issue that is up for debate here is whether or not law abiding citizens would be deterred from killing humans if there were a requirement to get a license before you could kill another human being. The answer is not clear. Millions of self-proclaimed law abiding citizens drive while merrily texting on their cellphones even though this is against the law in most places. Would the same analytical framework apply if they were planning a killing? “My killing is so special that I remain a law abiding citizen even though I am breaking the law.”

Since we know that there are a few drivers who never text and drive because it is against the law, maybe there would be some law abiding citizens who would refrain from killing humans if a license were required and they didn’t have one. This could be a good outcome. So why don’t we give it a try in America, since nothing else has worked? And, for a little irony, even the death penalty hasn’t worked.

By now, you are yelling that it already is against the law to kill humans, except if you live in Florida or are a policeman. So what good would requiring a license to kill humans actually do? No good at all, and that is the point. We have to stop guns, not people. No guns around and most good reasons to kill other humans become a good reason to have another drink.

It has always been a mystery to me why anybody would choose to identify with the nuts they know who are armed to the teeth. More importantly, why are so many “first responders” who have seen the initial carnage from the armed slaughter of humans so silent in the aftermath? How can individuals be so brave in the moment and so cowardly when the moment has passed? The nation needs its new “heroes” to be sustained heroes, the loudest voices targeting the guns at the heart of gun violence in America.

And there are other things we can do. Those among us who actually don’t use our cellphones when we drive and would get a license before we killed anyone can work with the legal community and the families of the dead and wounded to sue everybody in sight. We can develop a set of form lawsuits for every state in the nation, have stacks of these forms ready to go, have money for filing fees in organizational coffers, and then sue everybody in sight: the shooter, his family that let him accumulate an arsenal, the company that made the deadly firearms, the company that sold the firearms, and the individuals that handed them over to the killer. Everybody in sight.

Most of these lawsuits will not prevail under existing law, but some will, and that may be enough to cause some sleepless nights for the purveyors of death. At a minimum, it will require each and every one of them to pay the price of defending the lawsuits and bring unwanted attention to the reckless realities of the gun merchant world. It will also put family members on notice that ignoring the gun nut in their midst may have collateral economic consequences. (It might even have caused Nancy Lanza to think twice about the arsenal she kept in her house and available to her deranged son who would use some of that arsenal to gun down children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.)

JUST LIKE HEALTH…

For those of you who don’t like the lawsuit approach, you can work on the insurance approach. There is an enormous amount of required insurance in America for everything from getting a mortgage to driving a car to owning a business. How about requiring insurance to own a gun, each gun, just like each automobile?

Since we have worked so hard politically to ensure that insurance companies continue to thrive by requiring insurance for everything we do, the insurance companies might even buy into the idea. Let’s make gun insurance just as costly as health insurance, forcing the gun nuts to choose between insuring their family’s health or their gun. There is a small possibility that some would actually choose health insurance, forgoing the gun.

Even after Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi joined the parade of fools who believed a word of what Trump said to them and then saw love so right suddenly go so wrong, the Democrats have again fallen prey to the belief that the moral morons among us have seen the light — this time it is bump stock nirvana. Obama didn’t take away their guns and Chuck and Nancy haven’t even tried, so you can be pretty sure that gun nuts flush with a bump stock will surely be able to keep what they have and get more.

And just as surely, there is another gun nut with his screws loose planning the next atrocity. This time, let’s get those thoughts and prayers going ahead of time. That way, we can all know in advance that we are doing all we can to stop the carnage.

*[A version of this article was also featured on Larry Beck’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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