David Stairs

The only guns this cowboy ever owned

What could be more dimwitted, un-insightful, or self-serving than a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment?

An 18th century concept written for a frontier nation still chafing from imperial abuses, the right to bear arms has been made into a rallying cry for men with small penises.

Free enterprise industrial capitalism taken to its ultimate absurd end, manufacturing and marketing weapons of war for a civilian population.

A coterie of opportunistic manufacturers with zero restraints taking cynical advantage of a citizenry too dazed, or too frightened to do anything but buy more fucking guns.

Mental health is not even close to the crux of the problem. GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM. America is awash with them, and Americans have fetishized guns. The Second Amendment is just a cover for this morbid fascination.

A minority of conservative conspiracy delusionists who mistakenly believe they need to prepare to defend themselves against overreach by an “autocratic” government, as if a 24-7 nationwide election cycle is not sufficient proof against this.

A gaggle of right wing politicians more beholden to corporations than to the well being of the people they represent. Senator Cruz, and all of your like-minded Republican colleagues, cowardice is your only qualification for elective office.

A berserk gun lobby headlined by a deranged membership association of chickenshit obsessive/compulsives who tell physicians to “stay in their own lane” and think the need to spew deadly force is God-given right.

A small army of racist xenophobes who invoke Stand Your Ground laws as an excuse for drawing down on any person they don’t immediately recognize.

A misguided 2008 Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, overturning decades of reasonable jurisprudence in favor of a new interpretation of the Constitution.

And ProPublica reports that the largest search engine in America allows gun advertising to seep into sites that otherwise block such ads through its retargeting function by one of its ad exchange partners. According to Zach Edwards of Victory Medium:
“Google purposefully built a loophole into all of their retargeting systems so that policy violations pour like a noncompliant firehose. It has been a full decade or so of this retargeting loophole existing and Google is still acting dumbfounded that firearms manufacturers are having their retargeting ads show up on kids websites and other publishers.” All hail to Google’s positive ad revenue.

The ultimate result: dead citizens; dead servicemen; dead children: a public health crisis brought on by a hail of lead.

It should be no surprise that four of the top fifteen mass shootings in US history occurred in Texas. That’s right pardner, the ol’ Lone Star State, where boys are men and open carry is the law. Where it’s illegal to possess alcohol until 21, but by God you can purchase an AR-15 and a few hundred rounds of ammo on your 18th birthday without a background check.

Texas, where right-to-lifers have nearly eliminated freedom of choice because they are obsessed with protecting the unborn, while the living— school children— must huddle under their desks watching friends be murdered nearby because the right to bear arms for every frustrated adolescent male with a chip on his shoulder trumps public safety.

It’s a not-so-funny thing about freedom that when one is free to do anything everyone is a lot less free.

This national crisis makes me wonder what would happen legislatively if a mass shooting were to occur in the Senate chambers. Would “thoughts and prayers” be sufficient condolence under those circumstances?

Retaining an obsolete “inalienable right” to own guns as some sacrosanct characteristic of American “freedom” only guarantees that acts of domestic terror will continue, a predictable fate for a nation of gunslingers.

Libertarians get it wrong. You are only as free as the nearest assault-rifle-packing malcontent. And in America he is just around the corner.

David Stairs is the founding editor of the Design-Altruism-Project.

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