The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Guys with Guns

“There are two kinds of people in the world those with guns and those that dig. You dig?”

Like most Americans, I’m tired. I’m tired of reacting to disasters stemming from pollution, violence, poverty, addiction, and hatred. And I’m positively exhausted by how easily we’ve divided these issues into political camps because inaction behooves those who can afford politicians.

When it comes to pollution, we debate which straws or how often we travel make us better people. Meanwhile, our nation’s biggest polluters continue to dump more waste in the oceans daily than any one American can in a lifetime. We’re literally grasping at straws because, due to a lack of corporate culpability, its the only aspect we can control in our environment.

We debate how to treat addicts–whether they deserve treatment or prison based on how they act when using or trying to buy drugs. Meanwhile, we’re just now starting to pay closer attention to the pharmaceutical companies that profit handsomely from making large quantities of the most powerful and addictive painkillers on Earth so easily available.

And, when it comes to guns, we argue about who matters more: “bad guys” who kill indiscriminately with guns or “good guys” who haven’t done anything wrong with their guns. Meanwhile, we don’t really hear much about the ugly guys with guns–those who put and help keep guns in the hands of good and bad guys alike and don’t seem to much care about the consequences.

So, who are the ugly guys with guns?

Manufacturers

Is the military-style AR-15 more powerful than a more conventional Springfield .30-06? I don’t know, because it doesn’t fucking matter. For better or worse, the AR-15 is the weapon of choice for spree killers.

In any other market, this distinction would make the AR-15 the equivalent of selling a Swastika Barbie. But, not in the gun industry, because manufacturers can hide behind the NRA and, through laws passed in Congress, never be held accountable for the uses of their products in spite of intentional design choices that inspire a specific reaction in certain consumers.

How do we hold the Sacklers responsible for flooding our neighborhoods with OxyContin if we don’t also hold Colt, Remington, and companies responsible for flooding our towns with the gun of choice for bad guys?

Arms Dealers

We think of arms dealers as mercenary types selling grenade launchers out of pickup trucks in Mogadishu, but we have them here, too: at every back alley and online sale and in every gun show.

So long as we tolerate unregulated sales of weapons to anyone anywhere, we provide a safe haven for any alleged “good guy” to buy a gun without proving their identity, intent, or background. If this sounds sketchy, then congratulations! You’re not an ugly guy with a bunch of guns to sell without losing any sleep.

Careless Gun Owners

If the now countless incidents of gun spree killings hasn’t conditioned gun owners to keep their weapons unloaded and safely locked away, even from loved ones, then it’s time to hold them more accountable, too. It’s the least we owe to the survivors of Parkland and other shootings who took their own lives later because they couldn’t live with the fact that the killer missed them.

Why aren’t we talking more about the people who failed to keep their weapons out of the hands of loved ones planning harm to others? Why do we treat the family and peers who push these young men to violence through abuse, neglect, and/or incompetence with kid gloves?

Self-described Good Guys with Guns

We’ve all pretty much figured out by now that anyone who calls themselves a “nice guy”–and especially if they argue the point and call you a whore if you disagree–is not really a nice guy.

It’s time to question the motives of anyone who describes themselves as a “good guy with a gun.” Especially when they enter a gun debate to facetiously use anti-discrimination language and sea lion anyone who disagrees with obtuse slogans like “an armed populace is a polite one.”

They’re the MRAs of guns, expecting us to take them at their word that #NotAllGunOwners who carry guns into public spaces have a hostile intent.

Fuck those guys. We’re all on edge now, wondering if this concert, sporting event, or market is the one where someone opens fire. Anyone introducing a gun without proper credentials (e.g., a badge) is committing the Second Amendment equivalent of shouting “fire” in a theater. And they fucking know it, so it is hostile.

Even if they intend no harm, how healthy is someone who thinks they’re a fucking hero just because they’re carrying? We should no more trust these assholes to protect us than we would let an MRA babysit our daughters.

Good Guys with Guns are the new Nice Guys. And their response after every shooting is ugly.

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