With all the gun violence across the country in the past month or so, one might hold out the hope that the nation will finally take a long look at itself and it's collective love of the gun. Sadly, the holistic, generational approach to break the gun's spell on our soul will likely not happen soon. There's too much work to do, too much denial, and the gun culture seems far too firmly entrenched.
Gun advocates do have one thing right. A ban on assault weapons by itself won't work. That doesn't mean it won't have an effect, just that the misinterpretations of the Second Amendment will defy an easy legislative solution. Does this part of the Constitution give us the right to bear rocket launchers, like the pair that were turned in during a recent gun buyback in LA? Of course not. But neither does it give Americans the absolute right to carry guns into bars, which at least a couple of states now allow.
We must confront the fact that for many of us, guns have been presented as problem solvers since we were small children. Their possession gives a sense of safety and security, the ability to fight back in case any of "them" would seek to hurt us. Trouble is, all too often, we have learned that "them" is us, people who are able to buy guns legally because of loopholes in the law, or through theft or deception.
Our response to gun violence is to buy more guns. As lobbyists hide behind the shield of legitimate hunters to keep sensible laws off the books, we mourn the deaths of innocent children, but move on as soon as the last casket is in the ground. Rarely if ever do we question our fundamental beliefs about why they are so necessary.
Laws are but one part of the solution. We must break the cycle of vicarious violence in our everyday lives, whether it comes from movies, television, or video games. That will take time. That will take work. It's work that we as Americans aren't yet prepared to do.
Or are we?