A man walks into a movie theater with a rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun, plus two canisters of gas. He sets off his smoke bombs and then opens fire, randomly, at the packed crowd. He kills twelve people outright and wounds at least 38 others, some of them seriously enough that their survival is in doubt. He is captured almost immediately. He is a white male American, 24 years old.
Another day, another massacre in America. By now, our national consciousness is almost inured to such violence. Ho hum. Move along. Nothing to see here.
For a day or two or three, all the politicians and public officials will offer sober words about the killings. They will talk about how their prayers are with the victims and their families. They will talk about how the perpetrator must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And then they'll go back to business as usual. The victims, their families, and their pain will be pushed to the background and forgotten.
Soon enough, there will be another such massacre to claim our attention - for a day or two - and everyone will be shocked, shocked that this has happened again.
I'm not shocked. I've come to expect this. While I am sad for the victims and their families, I know they will not be the last, as long as we do not have the political will in this country to stop the trafficking in assault rifles and other such guns that have no business being in the hands of the general public. This in spite of the fact that a majority of Americans want this traffic stopped. But it doesn't matter what the people want. What matters is what the National Rifle Association wants because it owns our government.
And so I have a modest proposal. Since we are obviously not going to stop people from getting these guns, I think some canny Republican in Congress should propose a law that requires every American over the age of ten to carry a fully armed assault rifle at all times. Being caught without one's rifle should require a mandatory sentence of 30 days in prison, preferably a privatized for-profit prison. If one is too poor to buy a rifle, then the government should issue vouchers to help them purchase. Not only would that get a gun into everyone's hands as the NRA wants, but it would also stimulate the economy! Two birds with one bullet, so to speak.
Would this reduce the number of massacres we have? Probably not. It would most likely increase them, but so what? Every newscast would lead off with the story of the day's massacre(s) until they become so commonplace that they drop out of the news altogether. Anyway, we're going to have these events eventually, so we may as well go ahead and get them over with.
One other thing: If everyone has to carry an assault rifle and we engage in our daily massacres, it will at least reduce our carbon footprint by the simple means of reducing the number of people. We can accelerate the extermination of ourselves and save the Earth! Again, two birds with one bullet.