Gary Horton | Harden Our Sanity, Not Our Whole World

Gary Horton

A few weeks back our district’s Fighter Pilot Congressman discussed America’s gun problem in general and school shootings, specifically. The conclusion our hammer saw was to buy more nails. “Harden our schools,” shall be our response to crazed individuals floating around oceans of ever more accessible firearms. 

We’ve heard of “hardened prisons.” We’ve got Super Maxes where no one gets in or gets out. They’re designed and built for “hardened criminals,” most of whom used guns in their crimes. We’re nuts you know: We build tons of prisons to house criminals who made sad use of our proliferation of tons of guns. We keep seeing more nails as solutions instead of the root problem that they are… 

Our dire situation of humans vs. gun wasn’t helped much this past week as the reactionary Supreme Court basically spewed out a “guns for all” approach to helping move America forward into the future. It’s a backwards-looking view. Can you imagine an America of 2050 or 2100, with everyone still walking around, packing heaters? We want America to move forward, yet our highest court wants to make us like a frontier land of 250 years ago. It’s back to the past for our future ahead… 

We’ll have AI-augmented minds, robotic-assisted everything, virtual vision, seeing around corners, “thought amplifiers” allowing us to “talk” to others without as much as typing or speaking a word – and still, in our backward-facing America of the Future, we’ll have guns, and lots of ’em. Hang ’em on your hips. Slip ’em over your shoulder. Carry them proudly, terrorizing those around you, who remain rightfully concerned about armed wackos walking into their 7-Elevens, legally carrying the very weapons they’ll use to rob the place – or slaughter everyone inside. How, in such a modern world, are we increasingly being stuck with near-ancient methodologies and a lingering misunderstanding of bad syntax from the past? 

We’ve got gun lust run amok. That’s who we are. And the Supreme Court just supercharged the whole bloody mess, making crime more prevalent and crime prevention more difficult. I’d think police all over the country would be furious on this one. My God, their jobs are scary enough.  

God forbid this nonsense and give us the wisdom to see this for the warped logic it is. 

So, let’s turn our schools into Super-Maxes. Arm the teachers. Spend fortunes on police in schools instead of school supplies – or more teachers. Bolt all the doors, per safety expert Ted Cruz. Only one door in, one door out – regardless of what the fire marshal may say… 

Guys like Cruz and our congressman and a majority of the Supremes all want us to dramatically change our lives, change our peaceful expectations for life in America, so that guns can themselves proliferate in peace. We’re expected to “harden up” against this intentional onslaught of guns and more violence – because, well, “guns!”  

If this sounds insane, it is. The cure for gun violence is made up to be… more guns.  

Man up, American, and get more guns! Guns on teachers. Guns on pastors. Pass the communion with one hand on the trigger. Does Jesus want all these guns?  

I can’t speak for Jesus, but most Americans are so outrageous as to want some reasonable, sane degree of gun control. It’s pretty simple and common sense, regardless of however today’s Supreme Court interprets the absolute, without a doubt, most poorly constructed sentence in history:  

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

Whatever the hell this really was intended to mean.  

It’s been interpreted a hundred different ways. But no matter how it’s interpreted, this much we know: Back then, it took about 21 seconds to reload your musket. Gunplay was so slow and inaccurate, entire armies could line up and fire at one another and actually live to fight another day. Try that trick against an assault rifle. Times have changed and I’m sorry, but our laws, or interpretation of the laws, must change to meet the moment if we’re to progress into our collective future.  

I wonder how our Framers would have constructed that bloody amendment’s syntax had they had the forward vision of the violence modern weapons inflict on our innocent kids and population. Perhaps they might have put more thought into proper grammar. 

Poor sentence structure has killed common sense. We don’t need teachers with guns, we need more English teachers! 

Look, we don’t need to listen to hammers who see only nails. Schools should be safe, for sure. But let’s cure the disease please, and not just band-aid the symptoms. We’ve let guns run our lives; allowed guns to dictate our policy, and not the other way around. 

Common sense doesn’t demand we “come take your guns.” Common sense requires that arms are indeed well regulated — and kept out of the hands of those most risky to the welfare of society. 

We don’t need more “hardening.” That just hardens our own humanity. And it’s like saying we need more Band-Aids rather than reducing cuts. We need more common sense. We need more “well-regulating,” as the Amendment itself says. 

But for now, we’re increasingly ruled by hammers, and the hammers want more nails. And by correlation, more human deadwood to hammer into…

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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