For most of the Democratic National Convention, gun control has taken something of a backseat. While we expected it to be fairly center stage and a big part of the convention, it hadn’t been. Maybe a few off-hand comments here or there, but not the driving issue it was shaping up to be. Did that mean that Democrats were starting to recognize that maybe gun control wasn’t the winning issue they thought it was?
Of course not, and there were some comments made that really need to be addressed.
“People affected every day by gun violence have to walk by the street corner where their best friend, their brother, their mother, their nephew, where they themselves were shot, and life goes on and on, as if we all haven’t just watched a loved one dying get put in the grave,” Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., told viewers of the Democratic National Convention.
Now 20, Gonzalez was at the vanguard of a wave of youth activism protesting gun violence in the aftermath of the 2018 Valentine’s Day shooting, in which 17 people were killed and 17 others injured.
“The whole point of what I’m saying here is, until one of us, or all of us, stand up and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit by and watch the news treat these shootings like acts of God,’ gun violence isn’t just going to stop,” she said. Not “until there’s a force fighting harder against it.”
Is Emma Gonzalez really so delusional that she thinks gun violence will ever go away? For as long as there have been people, there have been some who were crap human beings and willing to kill others for whatever reason. Guns don’t create that. They don’t motivate that. No, that motivation comes from within the broken souls who think it’s their right to hurt other people.
Yet those people will hurt others regardless of what’s available to them.
What guns do, though, is allow the smaller and physically weaker people to oppose them. With knives, clubs, rocks, and so on, strength plays a factor. It plays a big one. It’s not the only factor, mind you, but a big one. For people like the elderly or many women, there’s only so much they can do to mitigate that factor, but firearms allow them to meet the threat on a more even field.
If guns went away tomorrow, violence wouldn’t. Stop kidding yourself.
Giffords was shown slowly playing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” on her French horn. Then she described the aftermath of the shooting, her speech deliberate, still affected by the damage to her brain.
“My recovery is a daily fight, but fighting makes me stronger. Words once came easily. Today I struggle to speak, but I have not lost my voice,” she said. “America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words.
“We are at a crossroads. We can let the shootings continue, or we can act. We can protect our families, our future. We can vote. We can be on the right side of history. We must elect Joe Biden. He was there for me, he’ll be there for you too.”
What happened to Gabby Giffords was a tragedy. It honestly was.
However, it was also the act of a maniac. It was carried out by someone delusional and who likely gave all the people in his life plenty of signals that they dismissed as nothing. As a result, no one called the police and he wasn’t caught beforehand.
That’s different than many potential mass shooters over the last year or two who have been arrested before carrying out their crimes. They planned the shootings, gathered materials to carry them out, did everything they could. However, they also gave warnings that people listened to and didn’t dismiss out of hand.
That’s why Gabby Giffords was shot. Not because of a lack of gun control.
Joining Giffords and Gonzalez in speaking about gun violence on Wednesday, DeAndra Dycus spoke for her son. Dre was 13 when he was shot in the head while dancing at a birthday party in Indianapolis in 2004. Now he is a quadriplegic who is unable to speak; he lives in a 24-hour care facility. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, Dycus said, she has only seen him three times since March and can’t hug him.
“One shot changed our lives forever,” she said.
“Today, my Dre does not talk. He does not walk. I know he knows me by the smile he shows when I walk in his room. But I’m unsure if he knows a gunshot has changed his life.”
That’s awful. As a father, I can’t even imagine what that has to be like.
However, there’s a lot missing from this story, such as who carried out the shooting and what their motivation is. Since this wasn’t a mass shooting as we tend to think of them, my guess is that it was related to gang activity or, at least, carried out by a gang member. That’s the root of many of the shootings we’ve seen in our inner cities.
I’m not saying Dre was in a gang. I honestly don’t know and have no reason to suspect he was, but not being in a gang doesn’t innoculate you against these kinds of attacks.
That said, the problem there is the gang activity that tends to lead to these sorts of incidents. For our inner cities, addressing that would do far more to deal with the violent crime problem than gun control. Gangs can kill just fine with knives, pipes, chains, or any other kind of weapon you’d care to name.
Further, gangs are typically involved in the drug trade, which means they’d still have access to guns regardless of what new laws you cared to craft. Even an outright gun ban wouldn’t disarm them.
I get that many Democrats legitimately feel that gun control is a necessary thing to address violence, but too few have looked beyond the surface. Gun control isn’t a magic bullet. Banning guns won’t make the problem go away. If it did, we wouldn’t have a study showing more kids die from drug overdoses than gun violence.
But they are coming for our guns, one way or another. They’re not going to stop until they learn once and for all that it’s a losing issue for them. Wednesday night’s performance at the DNC proved it. Best to get about teaching them a valuable lesson by handing them their posteriors come November.