John Mellencamp: Show Dead Bodies to Change Hearts and Minds on Gun Control

Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP, File

There's a particularly twisted subset of gun control fans who firmly believe that if Americans are only exposed to the sight of murder victims after they've been shot and killed, they'll support every one of the anti-2A infringements the gun control lobby wants to shove down our throats. I've always liked John Mellencamp's music, whether he was going by Johnny Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, or just plain old John Mellencamp, so it's disappointing to see that he's among those who are convinced that exploiting dead children is a price worth paying, so long as it leads to gun bans that will be ignored by the very people who've robbed those children of their future. 

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If we as a country want to find the collective will within ourselves to change our gun laws, let’s stop playing silly political games. Show the carnage on the news. Show the American people the dead children and others who have been struck down.  Show us what guns and bullets can do to the human body. The news media need to be brave enough to let Americans see what slaughtered children look like. Otherwise, I fear that too many perceive gun violence as an abstract; a story that’s repeated nearly every day to numbing effect. When I was a teenager, there was a war in Vietnam. In the beginning, no one paid much attention to this problem in a foreign land until the media shouldered the responsibility and showed America how our sons were being slaughtered. Once those images were shown on TV, there was overwhelming demand for that war to be ended immediately. I say this as a father and a human being, with deep empathy for the parents whose children have had their lives ended so suddenly and so senselessly: Show America the carnage. I am not being callous, and I know it will be painful to see.  But, sad to say, I think it’s the only way to shock America out of its stupor.

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I'm so sick and tired of this pathetic argument from the anti-gunners, which is based on the premise that the only reason people oppose gun control laws is that they just don't care about the victims of violent crime; that they need to have some shock to their senses to bring them in line with the already enlightened likes of Mellencamp. It's such a toxic mix of condescension and yes, callous disregard for others. Oh, he knows how painful it will be, but trust him: it's worth other people's pain so long as it convinces those he views as the ignorant masses to start demanding... well, Mellencamp never did get around to saying what kind of gun laws he wants to see on the books, did he? 

We've seen this argument used to demand bans on "assault weapons" specifically (as if it's somehow less awful to be killed by someone using a 9mm pistol, an ice pick, or fists and feet) to outright repeal of the Second Amendment, but Mellencamp can't even be bothered to lay out what laws he wants to see once we've been shocked out of our supposed stupor. 

What Mellencamp (and the other poor souls who believe this is a great idea) don't seem to understand is that there are plenty of folks out there who have seen the brutal results of a child murdered in cold blood but who don't believe that gun control laws are the answer; including front-line law enforcement, trauma surgeons, coroners, and moms and dads who'll never get over the pain of losing their child. They don't see "gun violence" in the abstract, but they don't believe that gun control is the answer either. 

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Does he honestly believe that they just love guns more than their own flesh and blood, or that they somehow just need another shock to the senses to get them to see the light? For all I know that's exactly what Mellencamp thinks, but I can assure him that their grief is just as profound as those who crusade for gun control after the death of their child. They just don't buy into the idea that the only way to spare other families from similar heartache is to wage a war on gun ownership itself. Mellencamp can believe all those folks are monsters if he wants, but we know better... and honestly, so should he. 


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