On Gun Violence and Social Tribalism

One of my earliest memories is of my first day of kindergarten with Ms. Eubanks. All the students were sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room as our teacher addressed the class. Except that not all of the kids were lumped together in the middle of the room. I was sitting away from everyone else in the back and off to the side a little bit. My reason for doing this was probably some form fear or social anxiety, but I can’t remember exactly how I was feeling at the time, I was 5 years old. At some point I took my attention away from Ms. Eubanks to scan the room a little bit where I observed another student in the opposite corner sitting away from the group just as I was. The best description of that moment is that it was like looking in a mirror. I knew instantly that he must have been feeling the same things that I was feeling. We became fast friends after that and throughout the rest of elementary and into middle school. Hanging out every weekend playing with GI Joes, watching WWF and WCW, and collecting trading cards. I won’t make the claim that I was ever relentlessly harassed or bullied, because I wasn’t. But it was definitely a situation where, socially, I was on the outside looking in. It wasn’t a difficult time but I do remember having feelings of isolation and resentment at times. But I was fortunate to have that friend, with whom I shared common interests as well as competed against in various contests. He was bigger than me at the time and quite frankly just better at most things. I typically would those contests, and it was a metric shit-ton of fun. After our nations latest tragedy, I thought about if and how things might have been different had I been the only kid sitting separate from the group that day.

You see it all the time in every level of society. You see people fucking with other people, taking things, hurling insults, harassing, attempting to implement some form of authority. When someone chooses to abuse another person in a social setting, the subject of the attack will respond either externally or internally. The external responses we all know well, a sharp comeback, venting about it to a confidant, or maybe a crisp punch in the face. The internal responses are a mystery to everyone save the person having them. One person may shrug it off with the knowledge that the abuse was momentary and insignificant to the grand scheme of their life. Another may fantasize about hurting the person who hurt them. With time and introspection the desire to hurt those that hurt you usually fades, but not always. Many people become obsessed with their thoughts. Other times times abuse is daily and relentless, never allowing time for the anger and resentment to subside. So what happens when that internalized malice and anger explodes?

What happens are the tragedies in Parkland, Vegas, Orlando and countless others. Immediately followed by cries for a gun ban and, on the other side, claims for more guns as countermeasures for these incidents. The logic behind both is lazy and utterly ridiculous. If gun possession were to be outlawed it is likely many of these shootings would not take place, that is fact. What is also likely is that a troubled person would exact their revenge on a society they feel rejected by through other means, a vehicle, bladed weapons, acid attacks are all the rage in the UK these days. Like cars and knives, guns are for utilitarian or recreational purposes. The overwhelming majority of gun owners do not use them to do harm to others, just as the majority of car owners or knife owners do not use them to do harm. Denying rights to all the people because of the actions of a few is nonsensical, lobbying for car and knife bans makes about the same amount of sense, none. People who commit murder are statistically a fraction of a percent of legal gun owners, to say nothing of how many gun murders are committed using illegal firearms, on which a gun ban would have very little effect.  Never mind the logistics of enforcing such a ban, which would require the forfeiture or confiscation of over 300 million legally owned firearms; also representing a significant financial investment by their owners. Since these were lawful purchases a munitions buyback program would have to be implemented to reimburse these investments, in full. If you disregard ammunition and accessories entirely, and use the laughably low and inaccurate value of $1000 (it makes the math simple) per firearm, thats over $300 billion in public money. The real number would, without a doubt, be well over $1 trillion. Assuming of course that everyone capitulates. Besides this would require Congress to actually get something done and they seem to be on a permanent lunch break.

Arm teachers you say? What does that do for Vegas? Orlando? San Bernardino? Denver? I’d give it an over/under of about 18 months before a disgruntled teacher unloads on their classroom in a momentary fit of rage; you know, laughably low wages, abusive kids(yes, those same kids that are awful to their peers, you think they give teachers a pass?) etc. THIS WILL HAPPEN. Murphy’s Law would agree. So we arm the teachers anyways, do you have school budget increase written in there also? Because you will need one. Why don’t we just make open carry mandatory so that any time the sandwich artist at subway says they’re out of meatballs, they can catch the bullet they so richly deserve. The murder rate would soar. More guns; absurd. Like trying to use water moccasin venom to treat a rattlesnake bite, pure lunacy. Please stop with this, especially you Congress-people. Stop taking a break from your eternal lunch outing to poke your head in the door and belch some musty gas into the room.

So one side clamors (apparently not a word, but I’m using it anyway) for no guns and the other more guns. With some really solid name-calling to boot, Nazi! Cuck! Snowflake! Through all this the perpetrator is universally branded a monster whose motives are largely ignored. It always, ALWAYS, becomes a politicized argument about guns that goes nowhere and deepens the divide between people in this country that is currently an absolute chasm. The perpetrators of these crimes all have stories, many of which contain similar grievances within them. A healthy, happy social and family life is never a part of that story. But that isn’t the real problem is it? It’s definitely guns or a lack of them. I’m not going to claim that I have all the answers, but getting to the root of the problem is probably going to be the most effective plan and guns are not it.

We socially ostracize people way too regularly in this country. Economic stress and pressure can feel like its choking the life out of you. There is a rot growing in the population and its being fuelled by technology. Abuse used to only be carried out in person. You could get a break from it once you got home. Now, with social media, its a constant bombardment. It gives cruel schmucks the platform to be relentlessly shitty to people, including those they have no real life connection with. You can find countless stories of suicides resulting from online harassment. What toll does the constant barrage of spamming and trolling have on the human mind? As things currently stand, the 1st amendment is far more problematic than the 2nd amendment. Speech control would probably do more good than gun control at this point.

There are many other things that can drive a person to extreme action; insurmountable debt, failed relationships, racism, intolerance and so many more. A downward spiral has formed and its getting worse, people aren’t listening anymore, they’re lashing out. It seems a good first step is to stop being a hateful, angry, piece of shit. It seems easy to me at least. At the end of the day, if the ships sinks, everybody drowns. So whatever your ideologies may be, you still have to be able to have a conversation with someone you do not agree with, throwing a tantrum accomplishes nothing. And stop fucking with people as a hobby, thats a punk hobby, man.



4 thoughts on “On Gun Violence and Social Tribalism

  1. Ah, I see the new trend is blaming the victims for their own murders. Well, why not. It’s not like victim blaming / victim shaming is actually a new evil.


      1. No; clear I did read it. Hence, my opinion on your position. You blame the victims and society for the choices made by these sickos. Nice. What’s next, boys will be boys?


  2. It is occurring in our society, therefore it is a societal problem, and an escalating one at that. Our society should be held accountable for the things that occur within it. Stating that abuse begets abuse which results in the death of innocent people is not victim blaming. Labeling a person a sicko and then firing up the Xbox solves nothing. You have to take the time to really examine what causing this and then act on it.


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