Jay Meehan: The gun violence debate needs to get ugly if we’re going to spur action
“How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut
First of all, due to Trump’s FCC changing the level of the “net neutrality” playing field, the first “hit” that appeared when Googling “assault rifle ammunition” is an ad from Cabela’s for their “high-grade rifle ammunition featuring a wide variety of .223, .308 & 5.56mm, .270 rifle ammo.”
Not information concerning the makeup of the rounds-in-question or defining any of the relevant terms but the location where one can most easily, in a bought and paid for profit-and-loss scenario, acquire them.
No doubt Cabela’s is a member of a trade group whose lobbying arm played a role in convincing the current administration that it would be better for business if net neutrality became a thing of the past and Corporations were allowed to run the Internet.
Plus, there was an added bonus for the intellectuals running the West Wing these days. Counting as one more pin in their Obama voodoo doll, it could join other prickly reminders of the Trump rollbacks on healthcare, environment, trade, education, criminal justice, immigration, and public lands.
This is not an attempt to single out specific retailers whose walls are lined with high-powered assault rifles but rather to report on which routes were made available to my Internet search engine and the pecking order of through whose doors it was granted entrée. Of course, if any of the shoes that dropped fit, well, slip them on your corporate feet.
As a longtime hiker, camper, and trout hunter, there is a mess of eye-candy to be had when wandering through such emporiums. Admittedly, I’ve shown up at their checkout counters with armloads of paraphernalia aimed at reducing the philosophical distance between couch and campsite.
How many digressions is that? Anyone keeping score here? Actually, if one maintains the intended point of the piece in its crosshairs, a feat that oftentimes eludes your humble scribe, the answer is zero. It will all become clear soon enough. Or so he says.
Take Vietnam for instance. Many of us protesting that war felt like if the public could only get a clearer picture of the devastation, the attendant support for the conflict would diminish to a point of no return, forcing the Johnson and Nixon mindsets to rethink their convoluted exit-with-honor strategy.
Our point back then was that if the news of the day was going to in any fashion speak to the actual cost of the war, it should include representative photos of body bags, coffins, and the carnage on the ground.
Well, a conveniently designed censorship due to “national security” kept that from happening, of course, causing, along with other mitigating circumstances, the war to drag on. There are those in the gun-control trenches today that feel that history is once again repeating itself.
To wit: the true cost of the current gun laws is being kept from the American people. What we need, as difficult as it would be on our collective stomach and sleep-cycle, are actual photos of the butchery and bloodletting in classrooms and schoolyards spread across front pages, TV screens, and billboards.
Putting up with the seemingly neverending cash flow from the NRA to their bought-and-paid-for Republican lawmakers is getting more difficult by the minute.
Let’s pull out all the stops and demand photographic evidence of what their money is actually purchasing: young bodies ripped apart by “high-grade ammo.” We need our noses rubbed in the open wounds and severed arteries. Until then, we’re only getting part of the story.
We need to cease allowing time to heal the psychological wounds of senseless slaughter. The collective outrage needs to be maintained between these atrocities. Fuel added to the fire, as it were. The alternative being, of course, the continued cycle of mass shootings followed by condolences and the wringing of hands.
Although far from being a groundswell, there have been a few assault rifle owners emerging from their closet to call for more stringent rules of engagement when it comes to purchasing requirements of the weapons involved. Not enough to sway the GOP congress, of course. Only money can do that.
Keep your thoughts and prayers and show us the carnage! Let’s get real for a change. Let’s feel something and thereby earn full credit for being alive.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.