Jacob Woods studies Sociology and English in St. Paul Minnesota. He likes writing poetry, CNF, and playing piano and trumpet. He works as a part time magician making scone crumbs dissapear from carpets.
My Facebook feed is becoming just as toxic as the government propaganda apparatus, otherwise known as the media. I quit watching television during the latter half of my senior year and only rarely find myself in a situation where I am forced by social convention, politeness, to watch the telescreen.
An awareness of the tragic incident that occurred in Connecticut has been unavoidable. (Perhaps I should just quit using Facebook altogether as well. But, then I wouldn't have access to my readers. This is par for the course.) Every meme I see represents the deduction of tragedy into some superficial ideological validation of correctness. All of a sudden a child dying is not about children dying but about animal rights, religious bashing, willy wonka's take, conservative's love for liberal gun laws, and liberals save the wolves and wildlife campaign. In a nut shell, guns are bad. Guns are good. Arm the teachers. God save the queen.
What is aggravating to me is that I feel like nothing is being said in an infinite amount of ways. And if it is being said it is somehow an affirmation of a political, religious, or some unsaid personal belief. To be for gun rights is to be a good acting Christian. To be against gun rights is to be a good acting queer. The disparity between what my family posts and what my queer identified friends post is drastic. None of it, as perceived by me, has any substance worth considering. Minus perhaps the few prayers that have gone out to these families impacted by this repetitive tradgedy.
To those who are asking the proper question. Why does a gay man of 21 studying sociology have any interest in this subject? How does it even relate to your identity? When I went to the gay pride festival earlier this year in the Twin Cities I couldn't help but to notice how much interest there was in animal rights. I was trying to comprehend the association between my queer identity and why I should be interested in protecting the wolves. My other identity as a northern Minnesotan ranger, where wolf hunting and hunting for leisure is a thing, was in conflict with what I was being told about animal rights. If the wolf eats your stock, kill wolf. Wolf is dangerous to livestock. To my surprise, when I came to the Twin Cities, I also learned hunting had connotations of barbarism and affirmation of masculinity.
What I was experiencing was a separate symbolic universe. Borrowing this term from Berger and Luckman who wrote the Social Construction of Reality. They likely borrowed that term from some philosopher somewhere. It’s hard to wrap the mind around the idea that gun rights have everything to do with gay identity and even animal rights. A Facebook scroll will show how it is at least related to animal rights. (Above)To take it a step further, put yourself in my shoes. If religion becomes a way to oppress my sexual orientation and that religion is also symbolically intertwined to other familial rituals, such as hunting, becoming a raging gay liberal is a convienient way to distance myself from ideologies I am opposed to. Luckily, I'm currently growing out of this phase and seeing that matters are much more complicated then simply, I'm gay, I am against guns, and I'm a ostentatious vegan who splurges on bacon when no one is watching too. Naturally, these ties are not on the surface and very difficult to differentiate the authentic from the defense mechanism.
Going along this symbolic network line, religion, as alluded to before, isn't apart from these meme bashes either. Bryan Fischer has been, and perhaps properly so, a punching bag for many religion bashers. When his commentary on the shooting came up, the liberal cult tore into him as well. He is a favorite for queers to tear flesh out of as well. It's not in good spirit what the man says, but nor is trying to tear down the whole institution of Christianity via what this radical man says. To further elaborate on this point is Willy Wonka's take on the matter. Of course I know it isn't really Willy Wonka. But, it is the principle that I find irritating. That being the overlap of "Republican Bigotry" and "Religious Belief". It's a really crude way to bash religion without any sensitivity to religion as a collective anthropological phenomenon that serves some purpose. Perhaps the purpose it serves does have some authenticity between the lines. I'm sure not every Christian, or even the majority of Christians hold this perspective conveyed in this meme. It is a way to paint people who hold these views as stupid, ignorant, and bigoted without any sensitivity to why it may be that way and with absolutely no game plan to change it.
With all this in mind, when I argue that America needs stricter gun laws I'm not saying that guns should be illegal and completely innaccesible. Nor am I trying to affirm some gay liberal defensive rage. People should be allowed to hunt. Women hunt. Etc. I shouldn't have to go into all that. If operating on the premise that no child should ever have to be at risk of such a thing, then regulating guns, just as we do vehichles, tobacco, and alcohol, is the best way to go. There is no reason to go into the subject that America has some of the most relaxed gun regulations internationally. Consequently America has a higher rate of death do to gun related violence as well. A great site to do comparative studies as opposed to weightless thoughtless meme posts is - http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/home
To conclude my aggravations towards the mindlessness on this tragic incident, I would like to also approach the mental health argument that is out there. Yes, mental health plays into the puzzle of why America has such a high rate of massacre violence. However there are social factors that play into the matter as well. That being the liberal gun laws. Someone had the nerve to explain to me, like I was an idiot child, how a gun worked. As if I didn't know how a safety pin worked or what a trigger did. (Yes, I'm being passive aggressive.)
"a trigger is never going to pull itself, someone always has to pull it. even with my pistol, if the firing mechanism somehow failed and released the firing pin, with it loaded it still will not go off, there is a lever that is directly connected to the trigger, it acts as a dam for the firing pin, it only moves out of the way if the trigger is pulled. if the lever is disconnected from the trigger, a spring holds it up and in the way of of the firing pin."
What amazes me is the ability to know how this works but the lack of belief when research shows that the presence of firearms increases the likely hood that homicide and suicide take place. Hmm, I wonder what guns in the education system would do? Mental patients are always going to be around, you'll never stop producing them and it is certainly more difficult to regulate a human being than a concrete weapon. I mean, we are living in a system where there is more regulation on a substance that is proven to make people more peaceful and melancholic then there are on weapon accessibility which is proven to make people more likely to kill school children. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/191/3/253.full
So yes, a person pulls the gun. But, it doesn't have to be that way. And it shouldn't because just as the mechanisms of a firearm work, the mechanisms of a mad society intertwined to liberal gun laws produces high homicide and suicide rates. Rant complete.