Sometime between the Sandy Hook massacre and the most recent mass shooting in Oregon, Americans crossed a threshold from having a relatively focused eye on sensible gun control laws to summarily rejecting anything short of an expansion of gun rights. Rather than being repulsed by military-style assault weapons in the wake of mass shootings, firearms like the AR-15, the Sandy Hook weapon of choice, are sold in record numbers. Lawmakers and gun store owners alike have routinely held AR-15 giveaways after Sandy Hook -- contests that are just about as tasteless as giving away box cutters and one-way airline tickets in the aftermath of 9/11.
The sole NRA-sanctioned measure to ameliorate gun violence is to simply invent new and ludicrous ways to fight back. The upshot is that we need to learn to live with mass shootings. Instead of making a serious effort to keep firearms out of the hands of would-be killers, the NRA and the gun lobby are happy to market guns to school districts for arming teachers, and to condition students to accept the potential for massacres. It's the new arms race, and it's happening exclusively inside the United States.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: instead of reducing the number of available guns, the so-called "good guys" are being instructed to stockpile more firearms to out-gun the "bad guys." Where does this escalation lead? More gun sales, of course. If it sounds like the nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States, it should. Furthermore, in schools and college campuses, students are participating in gun massacre drills. Our kids are being instructed how to shield themselves in case of an active shooter scenario and, really, they should just go ahead and name the drills "Duck and Cover." We'll circle back to this shortly.
Meanwhile, the giggling couch tumors on "Fox & Friends" defended Dr. Ben Carson's latest remarks on the Oregon massacre. The presidential candidate and neurosurgeon told the Fox News morning show hosts, "I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'" Nice that Dr. Carson is so steady-under-fire than all those dead college students, not to mention the Sandy Hook kids, or those Virginia journalists. Good for him.
While defending Carson's indefensible statement, Elisabeth Hasselbeck went off on a rant:
But this is a man who spent 40 years plus bringing people back to life, giving people a chance at life. And the mainstream media wants to now mischaracterize him as someone who is dancing on graves. That's unfair, it's incorrect, and it's irresponsible.
Well, Carson tried to one-up dead college students. He might not be literally dancing on graves, but he's certainly grandstanding on them.
Nevertheless, here was the salient quote from the show:
It's completely irresponsible to do this man whose life mission has been to give life and who is simply answering a question, which, by the way, a bunch of universities are now training their students to deal with mass shootings, potential mass shootings, as a hazard such as a tornado, a hurricane, a mass flood. They're actually training students to deal with situations particularly in the way that Dr. Ben Carson stated here. He wasn't saying that the victims there didn't do enough to defend themselves.
Yes, we've become so utterly spineless about controlling the sale of deadly firearms, we have no choice but accept gun massacres and to prepare for them like hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. There's something profound about treating gun massacres like natural disasters. We're basically admitting that massacres are unpreventable, just like natural disasters -- even though there are numerous measures we could immediately take to prevent them but which the gun lobby will never allow. So, whatever. Deal with it, America.
If anything represents our collective torpor on guns, it's this. Rather than seizing the initiative away from the for-profit gun industry by taking a hardline posture on guns, Republicans and Democrats alike appear to be satisfied with doing nothing and hoping that "Duck And Cover" drills will result in fewer mass shooting deaths. Hell, at least during the nuclear arms race there were treaties signed that curbed testing and proliferation. On guns, however, even incremental federal laws are unheard of.
It's also important to note that some experts believe active shooter drills are generally ineffective.
"There ends up being zero learning going on because everyone is upset that you've scared the crap out of them," said Greg Crane, a former SWAT officer with the North Richland Hills Police Department near Dallas who holds seminars to teach civilians different strategies to deal with mass-shooting scenarios.
The new normal on firearms is resignation and capitulation, while the crisis has grown so severe that we're treating massacres like hurricanes and, yes, preparedness for a nuclear attack. We're being convinced that we have no choice but to prepare our children for massacres that we, as adults, are too chicken-shit to have resolved before the bullets started flying.
Why? Because the NRA is committed to selling millions of deadly consumer products to phallically-challenged bro-scholars who think they know something about constitutional law. Consequently, we're faced with man-made disasters on the magnitude of natural ones that, unlike tornadoes, could've been mostly prevented. Seriously, anyone marketing in this nonsense, especially Ben Carson and "Fox & Friends," ought to be ashamed of themselves.