Safety is a Straw Man

This article has been published on Huffington Post. See it here.

I’ve read multiple articles since the shootings last week, both in my hometown and the deadly assault on school children in Connecticut. I’ve read a sadly moving article on mental health, articles on angry young men, articles on angry white men, articles on angry men of every color, articles on why the second amendment allows us to bear arms, and articles on why it doesn’t.  I’ve read articles lamenting the deaths of children overseas because of US military violence, crying out against the hypocrisy of the president’s tears for US children, while seemingly ignoring those of the countries we invade. It seems all I have done this entire weekend is read about this tragedy, its victims, its causes, and why these tragedies continue.

Nowhere in any of it have I seen anyone addressing the issue of profits. Every time a mass shooting takes place, gun manufacturers make a massive profit. Citizens, afraid for their lives, go out and buy a glock. The point of the gun lobby is not to ensure that every person in the US has a gun; it’s to ensure that every person in the US buys a gun (or two, or three…).  This is the real reason we haven’t been able to succeed at gun control in this country. The gun lobby pours massive amounts into ensuring their right to sell weapons is completely unfettered. In this, they have succeeded more than any manufacturer of any other product.

It’s about profits above lives, whether it’s healthcare or guns. Guns just result in deaths faster. The second amendment is a straw man. It’s the excuse used by the gun lobby to keep us from reining in the massive profits enjoyed by gun and weapon manufacturers and to keep our eyes off the ball, which is that the manufacture of these products has only one purpose: to make money. If it is children in the line of fire, so be it. Gun manufacturers make a killing (pun intended) every time a mass shooting takes place.

If we want real gun control, we need to face the reality that it is profits over lives we are discussing here. Safety is a straw man. The gun lobby doesn’t want teachers carrying guns to protect their classes. Just imagine the budget for arming schools. That’s the real issue. It’s time to start calling a spade a spade, and make lives our priorities, instead of the almighty dollar.

I am a writer and bankruptcy attorney living Portland, Oregon.

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2 thoughts on “Safety is a Straw Man

  1. Excellent essay, Lara! War profiteering allows trillions of dollars to be channeled into slaughtering human beings but, when it comes to mental health care (or anything else that helps people live safer, healthier lives) we simply can’t afford it. In fact, if we want minimal human services, then the working class must suffer austerity measures to get them. Why? Because you can’t make any money by helping people and capitalism cares only about the profits of the extremely wealthy, not the welfare of everyone else.

  2. Reblogged this on Dissent Not Consent and commented:
    Excellent essay, Lara! War profiteering allows trillions of dollars to be channeled into slaughtering human beings but, when it comes to mental health care (or anything else that helps people live safer, healthier lives) we simply can’t afford it. In fact, if we want minimal human services, then the working class must suffer austerity measures to get them. Why? Because you can’t make any money by helping people and capitalism cares only about the profits of the extremely wealthy, not the welfare of everyone else.

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