We are never going to see gun control as long as we’re in love with post-atrocity rituals. Over and over, crazies buy assault weapons, shoot people in a church, a school, a nightclub--and we rush joyfully to our grieving routines. We hug, sob extravagantly, pile up flowers and toys, light candles, sing, bow heads in silence, and chant that we are strong, will move forward together, and that of course, love conquers all--though it obviously does not.
We enjoy our virtuous feelings as we assemble with printed banners to listen to speeches, send facebook condolences to people we don’t know, and circulate petitions to elected officials who do nothing--because that’s what we really really want. No lost lives--even 30,000 a year--are as important to us as the fun of a copious sniffle with someone else who, like us, was not mowed down.
Gun nuts proclaim that a good guy with a gun--worshiper, schoolteacher, nightclubber--would promptly take down a shooter, pop his (or her) gun back into a pocket, and everyone would go home happy. That fantasy has never been seen; far more frequent are sprays of missed shots fired off by policemen–who are trained in shooting--attempting to hit a fleeing target.
At this summer’s presidential conventions, we'll see if concealed-weapon advocates believe what they bleat about. We’ll see if law-abiding citizens that elected officials prize are allowed to circulate in the halls, swaggering in their heavy belts as they approach the speaker’s platform.