Ryan C. Jerz

What are we supposed to do?

It really seems hopeless. As Americans, we'll basically have to deal with mass murder (that makes headlines, at least) every week or so and occasionally we'll probably have to deal with a dozen or more kids getting killed at school by some guy with multiple semi-automatic weapons. That's what we have to be prepared to deal with in America.

Our lawmakers are inept, feckless, and cowards. Even when the people democratically decide to put limits on the purchase of guns, elected politicians can choose not to enforce it because their interpretation is that it would be hard to do. The leaders we trust to make decisions that will benefit the overall society are not leading, and they can't be trusted to do the right thing, even when explicitly told what that thing is.

So, what can we do. Well, I have one idea. In the great American tradition of allowing every major impactful public decision to fall on the shoulders of the individual (see: pandemic response, health care), my idea entails individuals refusing to be around, hang out with, even have calm discussions with, people who defend guns. Imagine a scenario where you want to have a get together. Your best couple of friends are coming by. But every time your one friend comes with her spouse, the guy makes sure to make his pro-gun view heard. He explains how the Constitution works, or wears a Sig hat, or just has a fucking Punisher sticker on his car. Whatever. He is clearly an gun asshole. Don't invite them. Don't. What do you lose by that?

Maybe you miss your friend, but that, honestly, will pass. Maybe you tell your friend why they were not invited (I recommend this if you really don't want to deal with it forever). It would probably be months before you even realized you hadn't seen that same friend under any other circumstance. By that time, you likely could see that it doesn't matter. Will you really miss that person and everything they bring with them, or is it satisfying to see that someone with abhorrent views is having a slightly harder time enjoying life because of those views?

I'm not saying this is easy. I am saying that it is actually something you can do. If you live in a world that is essentially hopeless, as ours is right now, the least you can do is make your immediate circle seem better. Will it be better? Not as long as we continue to debate this as if there is a moral argument on the side of guns. There simply isn't one anymore, and anyone who argues there is has no place in my life. Don't engage the people with immoral views -- marginalize them. Help yourself out. Start making life for these people just a bit worse.