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Amerigunistan: Is This The New American Normal?
“Amerigunistan” is obviously not a country, but a growing number of Americans fear that the U.S. is quickly turning into a destructive war zone – much like … well … “Afghanistan.”
During my two tours in Afghanistan, there wasn’t a day that passed where you didn’t cognitively factor in the looming insurgency threat into every action or movement you made that day. The threats: vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), indirect fire (IDF), green-on-blue attacks, and the list continues. Conversely, in the U.S., we plan a simple trip to the local bank, Food Giant, or Wal-Mart without hesitation or overly-extensive planning involved.
In a deployed environment, a troop movement “outside-the-wire” involves deliberate planning, seamless coordination, briefings, and headquarters authorization. All because the threats against allied forces were deadly, real, and numerous. As a fighting soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, you had to keep (what U.S. fighting forces call) “your head on a swivel.” That meant being insanely alert, being aware of your surroundings at all times, trusting no one beyond your individual unit members — at least until verified, and anticipating the worst case scenario in literally every situation.
As Americans, we simply don’t worry about being hit by a VBIED on the way to Chuck E. Cheese’s with our kids. Similarly, we generally don’t expect to dodge gunfire during a weekend trip to the mall with the family. But over time … and absent significant cultural, law enforcement, and “gun access” legislation in this country, will America devolve into a war-zone-like country as well?
But over time … and absent significant cultural, law enforcement, and “gun access” legislation in this country, will America devolve into a war-zone-like country as well?
On 15 February 2018, we collectively gasped as a deranged gunman and ex-student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL gunned down 17 innocent students at the high school.
“So What’s “Amerigunistan?”
So here it is up front: I don’t believe the answer to this social problem is to ban guns. However, I do believe in enforcing and making the existing gun laws significantly smarter and infinitely more effective. That said, it makes absolutely no sense to protect members of Congress, movie stars, pop stars, sports professionals, and military installations with armed guards and fortified infrastructure, but leave the most innocent and vulnerable in our society without a fighting chance.
Likewise, I find it incredibly interesting that politicians give eloquent speeches about gun control and the evils of ‘assault style’ weapons … all while under the protection of armed guards and security forces…it’s hypocritical.”
Gun control alone measures alone, aren’t the answer to ending gun violence in America — mainly because gun control laws only touch a small fraction of the major nodes that encompass this issue right now. For example, law abiding citizens who have no desire to rob a bank or commit a crime are impacted the most by stringent gun control laws. The criminals (by definition) don’t follow laws. “Ask the cities of Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Philadelphia; the cities with the most stringent gun control laws — but also the cities with “off-the-chart” murder rates in the country. These are American cities [literally] “under siege” and victimized by criminals.
So obviously, the logical thing to do is to disarm law abiding citizens and toss them to the wolves (*facetious).
Furthermore, punishing law-abiding citizens for the sins of the criminal is tantamount to the middle school kid who gets bullied during lunch and instead of addressing the issue with the “actual” bullies or school administrators, he simply goes home and kicks the dog … all because that’s the easiest target to control. But it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.
Punishing law-abiding citizens for the sins of the criminal is tantamount to the middle school kid who gets bullied during lunch and instead of addressing the issue with the “actual” bullies or school administrators, he simply goes home and kicks the dog … just because that’s the easiest target to control. But it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.
“These Are The Real Conversations We Should Have Right Now …”
I believe the following actions should be taken (minimum) if we are going to have a serious conversation about mitigating gun violence in this country.
- Close The Gun Purchase Gaps and Loopholes: Close the existing gaps and loop holes that exist in our current background check systems, (yes, there are a few). For example, if a person’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) status at the point of sale comes back “Delayed” due to questionable background check information, the weapon should probably NOT be sold to the individual EVEN after the three day wait has expired … the vetting process needs to be discovered fully before the weapon exchanges hands. Some retail stores (Dick’s Sporting Goods for example) have implemented these safeguard actions already.
- Fix NICS: Tighten the screws on federal requirements for the military, states, local, and tribal entities to submit criminal history data to the FBI databases (they are there for a reason). Currently, submission of criminal data history to the FBI databases from the states is highly encouraged, but voluntary. In order to (better) prevent bad actors from continuing to torment the public … states, tribes, and federal agencies need to do a better job of collaborating national criminal history data. The information in the NICS databases should also be transparent and interchangeable with all the other systems. Knock down these stove-pipes. Our law enforcement officers out there in our cities can use this valuable information as they make contact with the public. Knowing that the guy you just stopped on the freeway has a history of domestic violence is good to know.
- Mental defectives: We need common sense mental defective reporting to the NICS. Mental defectives need our care, attention, and the best professional help we can provide them … but they certainly don’t need an AR-15 in their possession … no more than a baby needs full access to the medicine cabinet. That’s all. We also need to ensure we continue to protect medical privacy; but not at the expense of innocent lives when there is a clear and eminent threat against public safety … yep, we need to stop playing “I’ve got a secret” in the mental health community.
- Our schools need protection right NOW! Not tomorrow…or when Congress decides to take substantive action. Waiting to win a (mythical) gun control victory in Congress will not happen (probably ever). However, there WILL be another school massacre [attempt] in the near future. If you are a superintendent, school administrator, teacher, or parent, your energy and efforts need to be focused on protecting our precious youth. Additionally, schools need to fund for serious campus threat assessments and develop effective countermeasures. “We don’t have money for comprehensive threat assessments,” is no longer an acceptable excuse for our school administrators. Our schools are vulnerable and under attack … stop spending federal funds on “non-sense” projects and cultural experiments. There … now you will have the funding you need.
- “We saw something and said something — what the hell happened to you?” Let’s figure out why the Sheriff’s Department in Florida failed to take action with regard to the high school shooter after receiving numerous reports and tips from fellow students, teachers, parents and concerned citizens were submitted to authorities. Some suggest that details regarding the shooter were deliberately ignored in order to artificially reduce the number of “juvenile to prison pipeline” numbers in the state — ensuring that the statistics look better than they actually are. These are the things that students should be protesting right now: why was their safety put in jeopardy in order to meet the objectives of a social agenda? Better yet, when you told us, if we saw something, say something … WE DID! So why did you do “nothing” in response?” These are the true issues that should be investigated.
- It’s infinitely harder to stop a madman with a gun … without another gun: Regardless of your views on armed resource officers or administrators in our schools … remember the bad guy is counting on your school NOT having an armed force (deterrence) on your campus. By resisting the movement to either fund for resource officers or to arm teachers or school administrators, you support the attackers main objectives. Keep that in mind. There are indeed teachers that should never hold (or fire) a weapon ever. But give those who may be ex-military, or law enforcement, the opportunity to protect your campus if attacked. They’ve performed this duty in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve carried weapons on the mean streets of America with real perpetrators — why does the school factor suddenly change things. Protect our kids like we protect passengers in our airports.
what is not being discussed today… the horrendous failure of the cowardly deputies in Broward county and #BrowardCountySheriff to protect the kids on Valentine's Day in Parkland, Florida. #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/XMgOsNSq2T
— Color Me Red (@ColorMeRed) March 24, 2018
20 children, and 6 teachers were killed during the massacre at Sandy Hook, 14 children, and 3 teachers were killed during the massacre in Parkland Florida. Today #MarchForOurLives showed us how we #HonorThemWithAction now we work to get common sense gun laws passed! pic.twitter.com/XcKHlkHieO
— StopHandgunViolence (@stophandguns) March 25, 2018
My heart is beaming with pride ❤️ … the Parkland High School students met up with the Majory Stoneman Douglas students from Parkland, Florida. #neveragain #parklandforparkland #enough #proudadvisor #parklandpride @ParklandSchools @HankFox29 @69News @NBCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/aBc8iR1KEQ
Better yet, when you told us, if we saw something, say something … WE DID! So why did you do “nothing” in response?
Furthermore, those that are adamantly opposed to potentially arming teachers in the classroom are still living in the world of make-believe.
These are the same folks who have no issue walking past a gauntlet of armed police officers and TSA inspectors, surrendering their carry-on possessions for scrutiny, and finally getting zapped in an X-ray machine — all to ensure that your flight to Minneapolis to see grandma is uneventful.
Many Americans refuse to acknowledge the fact that this nation has shifted culturally. There are far too many contributing factors to mention in this article. As great of a nation that this place is … we are no longer the country we were 20, 30, 40 years ago. Scenes of our children dodging gunfire in the school cafeteria never crossed our minds before the Columbine High School tragedy. Today, an incident like that is (unfortunately) commonplace. Sad.
I also believe that citizens who cannot protect themselves from threats and rely solely on law enforcement or the military for their protection, cannot truly categorize themselves a “free” people.
Instead, I feel that “access” to guns in America is the true problem.
“No … Not Every American Should Have ‘Access’ to a Weapon…” Here’s Why:
Last time I checked, in order to operate a motor vehicle on American’s interstates, highways, and roadways, we have specific age requirements, we must possess baseline sensory and motor skill abilities, we must pass a written and practical driver’s test, we must provide our servicing DMV with an extraordinary amount of personal information, we give the state a photograph to be placed on our license and in their database, and repeatedly register our vehicles on an annual basis. All this to maintain safe roadways in this country. But when it comes to guns, yes … we have general gun registration laws and a pedestrian federal background check system, but we don’t exercise the same degree of vetting and due diligence when we allow people to drive on our streets and roadways.
That piece must change.
The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms, but that doesn’t mean everyone “should” bear arms. Certainly no more than that crazy uncle (that we all have in the family) should be left alone to baby sit your kids. It’s not a question of “rights,” it’s a reality of responsibility and mental capacity.
Similarly, as much as we love and care for our 1.3 million legally blind, fellow Americans that currently reside in our country, common sense tells us that they should not be operating vehicles on our roadways … for their own safety, and others. Likewise, guns in the hands of the wrong operator can be equally catastrophic. It’s operator access that needs to be “controlled.”
We must ensure that the wrong operators do not have access to guns in America … this is not a Second Amendment argument, it is a common sense reality.
In conclusion, I believe the term “Amerigunistan” is more than a (clever) hybrid reference for two diametrically opposed nations, it is an organic, grassroots cry from our concerned citizens for federal and state politicians to take meaningful action to stop the senseless violence that plagues one of the wealthiest and innovative nations on the planet. We are essentially a nation that has the capability and capacity to send satellites and other vehicles into space, cure exotic and deadly diseases, and develop software that can fly an aircraft without a pilot, but also worry everyday about sending our kids to elementary school three blocks away — a sad commonality that we are beginning to share with war-torn countries elsewhere on the globe.
So, to answer the original question posed by this article: “…is this the new American normal?” The answer is: I really hope not. The rest of the world is looking to us as THE example of excellence. Our emerging gun violence epidemic is by no means, “excellent.” We can (and must) do better America.
Written by Goombay Tally Staff Writers | Goombay Tally | www.goombaytally.com | Contact [email protected] for advertisement or feedback details.