The dark ride around the ceaseless Möbius strip of gun massacres, debate, ignorance, inaction and more gun massacres rolls on.
Ten people -- nine students and a teacher are dead -- after a student armed with several weapons including an AR-15, the weapon of choice for mass shooters for at least the last decade, opened fire inside Santa Fe High School near Houston on Friday.
Of course the only logical policy reaction to these continued massacres is to make sure both kids and adults can't easily get their hands on these semi-automatic weapons. Fewer people with guns means fewer gun massacres. This isn't rocket science. There's no secret formula. There's no political calculus that'll rid us of this virus other than to summarily cut off the source, and that source is a firearm-congressional-industrial complex that continues to sell as many for-profit firearms as possible.
The propaganda machine in defense of unfettered access to all varieties of guns is as clever as any successful marketing plan, and the Second Amendment has been exploited as a convenient prong of this strategy. Don't let anyone tell you the National Rifle Association is all about honoring the Constitution. The NRA and its disciples merely regard the Second Amendment as a means to an end -- and the end, here, is to sell as many retail guns as possible. Oliver North, Wayne LaPierre, Dana Loesch and the other NRA flying monkeys are nothing more than McDonaldland characters promoting the sales of product. Full stop.
It's the NRA's business model to convince easily-manipulated gun fetishists that it's their God-given right to own as many firearms as they can fit into their doomsday bunkers, not realizing that they're simply the target demographic in the nation's most pervasive advertising campaign. Advertisers need only manufacture hype around a danger (body odor, restless leg, split ends, evildoers under your bed) and then manufacture hype around a solution (deodorant, pharmaceuticals, all-in-one shampoo and conditioner, extended magazines, AR-15s with bump stocks) and consumers will line up around the block. It works every time.
By the way, I intentionally noted pharmaceuticals in the above parenthetical because there are myriad similarities between the crisis of gun massacres and the opioid crisis. In both cases, people are dying due to the prevalence and availability of a consumer product.
So, what do we do in the case of the opioid crisis? Among several solutions, all sides of the political debate can agree that opioids are too often prescribed by doctors. People are getting hooked, and people are overdosing. Donald Trump himself just ballyhooed National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in which we're supposed turn over unused opioids to the DEA, noting that 6.4 million Americans are abusing prescription painkillers and the like. Various states are restricting the availability of the drugs. All told, the solution appears to be confiscating opioids and limiting access to them.
But if guns don't kill people -- people kill people -- why aren't the Trump-Republicans likewise screaming about how opioids don't kill people, people do? If we're talking about consumer products in both cases, and if we're talking about humans buying those products and either using them responsibly or not, why is it okay to blame people for firearm abuse but opioids for the drug abuse? Put another way, gun rights zealots believe people are to blame for one thing (massacres) while also believing a product (opioids) is to blame for another thing (drug overdoses, addiction). Why isn't Trump pushing the idea that drugs don't kill people? Why isn't Trump promoting a National Firearm Take Back Day?
It seems as if restricting access to both products, guns and opioids, makes the most sense in the context of dual crises. Trump and his GOP agree with this solution for the drugs but clearly and loudly disagree with this solution for deadly semi-automatic weapons as well as the various modifications that make them even deadlier.
And until they figure it out, or are rendered politically impotent, we'll continue to careen through this perpetual-motion firearm crisis... with our children and our educators in the crossfire.