In the wake of the latest mass shooting, this one at UC Santa Barbara, I've had three thoughts. One, I think we've finally jumped the shark on the gun-as-phallis metaphor that rears its ugly, ahem, head after each one of these incidents. This shooting was quite literally perpetrated by a virgin upset by his own virginity. Because he could not shoot his load he took a gun in hand and shot....yeah, exactly. The substitution is so unabashedly Freudian that it's a little breathtaking. It is also thoroughly pathetic in its artlessness.
Two, one of the victims' fathers got me thinking about the NRA again. Now, the NRA has a right to exist, as does any organization who works to defend part or all of our Constitution. The NRA has the same right to exist as, say, the ACLU, that constant bugbear of the right. But here's where I get lost: if the ACLU behaved the way the NRA behaves then they would be forcefully pushing for laws allowing people to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. Moreover, they would stage a rally and show up en masse in a town where citizens were crushed to death in an attempt to flee after someone yelled "fire" in a crowded theater. There really is no awful, gun-related situation to which the NRA is not willing to add that final "fuck you."
Three, the gun cult in this country is a death cult. They worship a tool whose only purpose is killing, and their most fervent supplications are reserved for the subset of these tools built specifically for killing other people. Note, I exempt hunters who eat their kill from this--not that I would ever feel good about killing another animal--and I exempt those people who own guns legitimately for home defense--not that I ever would since chances are more likely it will be used by family against family. (And how do I define "legitimate"? Well, is there a part of you that secretly wishes for a burglar to break into your house so you can empty a few rounds into another human being with no legal repercussions? No? Then you're cool.) Essentially, gun cultists defend their right to Life and Liberty by claiming a right to end yours.
Amanda Marcotte helped put a lot of the psychopathy driving our gun debate in perspective for me, and just like with the Santa Barbara shooter, it's all about thwarted desires.