The fact that I haven’t been inspired to write much about beer lately, coupled with the fact that I’m planning a bit of a break from alcohol very soon (to hopefully drop a few pounds) means that this blog has been, and may continue to be, a little light on beer posts. With that in mind, I’ll be occasionally posting off topic to keep things going around here. This is the first such post.
I know this may be an unpopular opinion, especially in conservative circles, but I don’t want to get shot. Actually, when I really think about it, I don’t want my children or girlfriend to get shot either. I’m sure if I thought about it enough, there are probably others that I also don’t want to get shot. I especially don’t want to get shot and killed, that sounds pretty awful.
The problem, though, is that I live in the United States, where many in our government are OK with me maybe getting shot. Whether I’m at school, work, in a movie theater, in a night club, at a concert, in church, out shopping, playing baseball, or just outside near a tall building, there is a chance I might get shot. A much larger chance than if I was in any other wealthy, industrialized nation. That kind of sucks. But it is the risk that conservatives have made clear that they are willing for me to take.
With over 50 dead and 500 injured in Las Vegas, common sense might dictate that we take a closer look at access to firearms in this country, but it’s been clear since Sandy Hook in 2012 that this will not happen. If conservatives are willing to let children get murdered and do nothing about it, then it’s pretty clear they are OK with the occasional murder spree. On top of that, there is always a call to wait a day after a mass shooting before even starting a discussion about gun control. Apparently it’s too early right now, even though it kind of feels like it’s too late for everyone who has already been shot.
Taking a closer look, it seems that not only are they OK with the current levels of gun violence, there is an effort to actually increase the chance I get shot. The House is set to vote this week on a bill that would make it easier to buy a silencer for a gun. Silencers don’t actually make guns silent, but the decibel reduction could prevent people who are being targeted from reacting quickly in a venue that is already loud (like a concert) and make it harder to locate the source of the gunfire.
Of course, many conservatives say that reducing access to guns isn’t the solution. They claim that what we need to focus on is mental health. So to help with that, just this weekend, Congress let the CHIP program expire, which provided low cost health care to 9 million children, including mental health care. On top of that, Congress has been repeatedly trying (and thankfully failing) at passing a health care law that would strip away health insurance (which includes mental health care) from millions of Americans. Earlier this year, Congress voted to repeal an Obama era rule preventing the mentally ill from buying guns.
So as an American who doesn’t want to get shot but is living under leadership that wants to increase my odds of getting shot, what am I to do? Perhaps I should take the suggestion that is so often thrown out there whenever someone has the audacity to complain about anything in our country and move away. In Japan you are over 300 times less likely to get shot and killed. Gun related deaths there are about as common as deaths from lightning strikes. But I don’t speak Japanese. Maybe the answer is England, where you are more than 30 times less likely to be killed by a bullet. They like their beer almost as much as we do here in the US and I can understand the language for the most part so I’m pretty sure I could make it there.
The problem with that option, of course, is that everyone that I know and love is here in America. So I guess I’m stuck here where I could get shot at any time for no reason. Maybe we can figure out a way to turn the power of thoughts, prayers and lukewarm condolences into bulletproof vests.
Realistically, the only fix to this problem is a change in Congress. The only way that gun laws will change is by voting in a group of people who don’t want me to (maybe) get shot. (Hint: If the candidate has received money from the NRA, they are probably OK with me getting shot. Statistically, there is also a 98% chance they are a Republican) The next chance to have our say is in 2018. If you are also of the opinion that getting shot is not good and maybe you don’t want that to happen, lets get the change in Washington we need to make America safe.