After the shooting at Fort Hood this week I find myself strangely disengaged from the gun control debate raging in America. Granted, I'm an Australian citizen with no real stake in the matter - but I do visit NYC every year or so and so I feel I have a right to speak on the matter.
I used to be engaged. I used to care when Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would make excellent points about common-sense gun control regulation and I would always be disappointed when those proposed measured failed in congress. Every time after another mass shooting I would be heartbroken that the world's leading superpower would have overwhelming public support for a measure and yet a few wealthy special interest groups and a whole lot of self-preservation would make elected representatives vote against it. Democracy failing, yet again, to work in America.
But now I don't care anymore. I've simply grown hard and callous against this sort of news because I just can't deal with it. I personally can't feel the tragedy of all these deaths and have empathy for them. I have limited sympathy for a country that refuses to address their own problems. For a country that recognises that something is wrong, can do something to change it and elects not to do so. It's going to sound harsh, but how many mass shootings have to occur at once before the conservative nut-jobs will pry their cold, unfeeling hands from their killing machines?
Here in Australia the number was one. One mass shooting in Port Arthur and the conservative party enacted sweeping gun control in the course of a few months. Australia, unlike America it seems, was willing to learn its lesson from one second with it's hand on the stove - unlike the Americans who seem content to continually press their faces to it and then wonder why their head hurts.
Americans love citing the 2nd Amendment of the constitution as if that's somehow relevant. An ancient document can never - and will never - account for all the complexities of future life. Be it the bible or the constitution, they didn't plan for the internet, drones, submachine guns, armour piercing rounds or flappy bird. It is a piece of paper, you and your government decides the values that you hold - the opinions of a whole bunch of archaic, male, dead slave owners from the 1700's should not have a fucking say in it. End of story. Would we still be applying leeches if it was in the constitution? Jesus.
The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, right? You'd think they would've been in abundance in Fort Hood, the military base. Ultimately it was suicide that brought this guy down - not police, not automatic weapons and certainly not the constitution. He was surrounded by military personal with guns and that didn't stop him. That's the last time I want to hear the 'well if everyone had guns...' argument. But it won't be. I guarantee it.
After an incident like this there are always calls from Republicans to overhaul the mental health system but they're always cutting funding and services for that system. We want a better mental healthcare system, so what should we do? Vote 46 times to repeal the affordable care act so those people can actually get mental healthcare? Good idea.
For now I'll just be grateful that I live in Australia, and hope that on one of my visits to America I don't become another sacrificial lamb for the 18th Century piece of paper that so many unfortunate people have lost their lives for.