It’s no secret that America has a gun problem. As of last week there have been 272 mass shootings in America this year (the term ‘mass shooting’ being not concretely defined, but often referring to a lethal firearms incident in which more than four people are killed in the same time and place.) 2017 had 346 mass shootings. That’s threatening to crack a rate of one mass shooting per day. And that’s just mass shootings. To then go into individual incidents would be to risk a day or two lost to depressive drinking.
It is sometimes hard for Europeans looking warily across the water and recoiling at every report of gunfire to fathom just how deeply embedded firearms are into America’s culture, business, and history. America is a gun culture with a gun problem. A richly textured, multilayered quilt of a problem woven out of toxic masculinity, corporate-captured legislation, horseshit foundational myths, hyper-individualised dog-eat-dog capitalism, and poor education.
Because that’s the thing: For every large scale horror born out of malice, there will be countless examples of gun deaths and injuries that happen out of ignorance and stupidity. Just look at this breathtaking display from a gun range:
Firstly: Give that gun range officer with lightning reactions a raise.
Secondly: As previously mentioned, I’m in Europe, so my direct exposure to guns has been mercifully minimal. While in the States they are seen as commonplace to us they are aberrant, weighty things, black holes in the fabric of civil society. I held a gun in my hand, once, a small revolver, and it felt ten times as heavy as the figure a scale would’ve told me it weighed. I didn’t want to hold it for more than a few seconds. But even with my extremely limited experience of firearms I know those two main, cardinal, dead simple rules to gun handling:
1. Always treat a gun as if it’s loaded.
2. Only ever point a gun at something you want to kill.
The dong-headed moron in that short clip is apparently working with the added exemption of ‘Unless you’re taking a selfie with it and/or pointing it a person’s head of course’.
There will always be idiots in life, doing stupid things and hurting themselves and others. But still. How many incidents have happened and will continue to happen because of careless idiocy like that in the clip? How do you even guard against that, short of a full, ground-up rejuvenation and re-orientation of education, legislation, and culture?
Header Image Source: Gfycat