Smoke ‘em if you get ‘em

     Every time you hear about a school shooting, people from all sides are saying that “we need to do better for our children”, and that is “the only thing we all agree on”. But we don’t really care about children. This is the only thing we should agree on.

     Last year, more kids died of unintentional gun related death than from school shootings. I know the latter is more spectacular and brings better ratings, but the former is much more horrific in my opinion. More than 70 kids died because their parents would rather have the freedom to own a gun than care about their children being safe. You gun nuts can keep your guns. But at least keep them in a safe place.

     Children die and get injured everyday because of guns, it just happens to be in communities that we see from afar, such as black neighborhoods or areas we never go to. We don’t have the balls to see a reality that does not touch us directly, or we care at a Democratic rally, but then we go back to our gun safe spaces. With the increase in school shootings, white families are understanding what black families have always suffered from in this country; the fear of not seeing your child come home because of a stupid situation brought by someone else with a gun. And still, we see that children lives don’t matter. A school shooting makes us forget about Trump’s shit for 3 days, but after we’d rather go back to talking about his latest tweet.

     Gun related issues is not the only place where we fail our children. We fail our children by letting them get diabetes eating and drinking junk that we would not even give our dogs. We fail our children when we create health insurance for dogs while so many families cannot afford the health insurance of their own children. We fail our children when we don’t pay our teachers enough but they spend their own money to provide for school supplies. We fail our children when we let the School to Prison Pipeline exist. We fail our children when we let institutions like Colleges and the Catholic church get away with rape. We fail our children everyday when we purposefully let ourselves make this planet unlivable for their future. We fail our children when we could have safer cars but still don’t make manufacturers build them. We fail our children when we don’t vote for local elections and let crazies get elected.

     Everyday we fail our kids. And this is where the government that we elected should be able to correct this for us. Three of the leading causes of injury death in Children 10 to 24 are Car accidents, Suicide by Firearm and Homicide by Firearm. In 2016, more than 7,000 kids died because of a firearm.

     People kill people they say. Of course they do, but it’s a lot easier with guns. People who smoke kill themselves. But when we understood that smoking was unhealthy, we made it a lot harder to get cigarettes. Americans used to smoke a lot. And now you can enter in more places with a gun on your waist than with a cigarette in your mouth. You need to be at least 18 in most States to buy cigarettes. Which will kill you at 60. But there is no federal minimal age to buy an AR15 (from an unlicensed seller) which can kill you – or me – today. Children can smoke classmates but can’t buy cigarettes. Is it that hard to understand that guns are unhealthy too?

     To fight against second hand smoke, we didn’t deliver masks to every non smoker just because we wanted to preserve the freedom of the smokers. We forced smokers to stay away from us and our children. For guns, we would rather make bullet proof backpacks than protect them from the real danger. It’s not even a question to get the guns away. Just like I said earlier, would it hurt a gun nut to keep guns in a safe? They are scared of the government (or the illuminati) taking their guns, but don’t care about keeping them away from their children. Most countries authorizing gun sales have a long path to get them legally: background checks, need to have a safe, trainings, etc. It can take days to get the gun you bought. The District of Columbia is already implementing all of these stricter laws. Are our politicians more important than our children?

     Yemen has the same kind of laws we have in the US nationwide and I don’t think Americans want to be compared to a country they can’t even find on a map. It’s easier to get a gun from an unlicensed seller than it is to get a credit card. In some states, it is easier to start a rampage on children than to stop an unwanted pregnancy. How can you be for a small government to protect your freedom and for a big government to take that freedom away from women? The Supreme Court would rather let a business deny a cake for gays than force a gun seller to deny a gun to a dangerous person.

     We were able to reduce lung cancer deaths because we understood how bad it was, even though the cigarette companies fought hard against this. The NRA should be easier to defeat. Just like no one took the cigarettes away, no one will take the guns away. But it doesn’t mean we can’t make it harder to get guns or safer to have them.

     Anyway, Smoke ‘em if you get ‘em means “do what you want, if you have the means”. But I also read it as “if you get the guns, you can shoot them”. I thought this expression was a good analogy between what happened to the cigarette industry and what is not happening with the gun industry. 

     Congress has the means, and they are elected to do what we want. Not what the NRA or a minority of gun nuts want. But midterms are coming, and we have the means to elect the ones that do what we want. The right for our children to live freely should be more important than our will to freely bear arms. David Frum said in his Atlantic piece that the problem is the guns. But the real problem is us. The real problem is our incapacity to care about the fate of our children for more than 3 days of TV coverage.

     I have to go to a Liquor Store to get my alcohol, you should be legally forced to go to a Gun shop to buy guns. I have to show my ID when I buy alcohol, you should have to go through a universal background check when you want to get a gun. We should all be careful what our children get their hands on. You shouldn’t have the right to own a gun if you don’t have a safe. Nothing is controversial here. And easy to implement if it were not for a deadlock in Congress. And how can someone sue Starbucks for putting too much ice in its cold drinks when no one can sue a gun manufacturer for making guns with too much fire power?

     In the end, what do you think is the most important God given right? The one to live until you die of old age, or the right to bear arms? While you send thoughts and prayers, children die.

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