Our Gun Culture Will Change Someday | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Our Gun Culture Will Change Someday


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Some friends have posted on Facebook that they’re flying the American flag upside down for the foreseeable future because they can’t believe what is happening to their country.

For those of you who don’t know, flying the flag upside down from a ship in the days before radio meant, “We’re in trouble and need to be rescued.” So, my friends think their country is in trouble.

After all, we’ve added a bunch of jobs in the past four years. The stock market has climbed back above 13,000 mark. We averted the “fiscal cliff” with a little bipartisan cooperation. GM is still alive, and Osama bin Laden is dead. The needless war for oil in Iraq is over. The needless war in Afghanistan to get bin Laden is winding down.

Millions more Americans will have access to health care than ever before. The housing market is improving; gas prices have fallen. And in October 2012, we had our usual every-four-years “regime change” without a shot being fired.

Man, this place is messed up! After all, some nutball fired a military-grade weapon that no one outside of the military or law enforcement needs to use, slaughtering 20 6-year-olds and some teachers in minutes, so the “sane” people in government think it’s time to talk about changing our gun laws and our gun culture.

Oh, hell, no! It’s violent movies/video games/TV! It can’t possibly be the fact that anyone who can pass a background check—even if they are crazy, or if they are a crazy person who has access to legally purchased guns—has better access to assault weapons than to mental-health care! How can that be? I’ve seen life-size cardboard “Rambos” in gun stores as advertisements. So, violent movies make people violent—not guns—but it’s OK to use violent movies to sell guns.

And guns are not the problem?

In the 1950s, they blamed juvenile delinquency on comic books. Everyone has to have a scapegoat.

We will not eliminate assault weapons from our society in my lifetime, and probably not in my children’s lifetime. But it took a long time to give women the vote, pass civil-rights legislation, and do something about our rivers that used to catch on fire and our air that you couldn’t breathe. It took a long time to end child labor and company stores and other corporate abuses. But you have to start somewhere. And now is the time to start with guns.

We need to change a culture that leads people to believe as they grow up that they can’t be safe unless they possess such firepower. And that is just wrong.

It’s my country, too, and I’m going to take it back from the folks who don’t read newspapers, the paranoid and the just plain stupid.

And by the way, if I had shown up flying an American flag upside down while carrying an assault rifle to a speech given by “W” while he was invading Iraq on false pretenses (far more false than Obama’s alleged fake birth certificate), what would you have called me? I bet it wouldn’t have been “patriot.”