Fresh out of college, visiting my friend Mike, I told him how my radio died just as I drove into his driveway. I know you’re thinking car-radio, right? But no, I’m writing about a boombox. My brand, new car stereo was on the fritz. The prior Saturday, a different friend, one possessing the electronic know-how I still lack today, helped me install it. It was sleek and beautiful; it rocked; it cranked; possibly, it forever damaged my hearing. A few hours after the install, I learned that we made a mistake. Some sort of electrical cross-connection left me with a choice. I could either use the stereo or use my headlights. Not both, not at the same time.
On my drive to Mike’s, I opted for lights. I brought along the boombox to fill the silence—my soon-to-die boombox. “Let’s shoot it.” Mike lived in a rural setting on the Chesapeake Bay. Target shooting with his twelve-gauge shotgun was a regular activity. I never visited Mike before. I’d never shot a gun. We set the radio on a rock on the beach. I took careful aim and pulled the trigger. I blasted the boombox right into the water, the left speaker gutted, wires and plastic hanging askew. “Nice shot Jeff.”
The end of my gun-career.
Every time the United States finds itself shocked by yet another mass shooting, I write a blog post. I’ve done so Here, Here, Here and Here. I’m vehemently antigun. To me, gun control means no guns. Period. None for hunting. None for target shooting. None for criminals and none for cops. A gun-free society. I’m the exact sort of liberal that second amendment advocates hate. So, don’t take it lightly when I say: The Democrats should give up on gun control.
The Democrats just tanked the 2020 election. Yes, it looks like Biden will prevail in the initial vote count, but then we face months of recounts, law suits, intimidation, violent protests, and a further degradation of democracy as we know it. The Republicans held onto the Senate and they even picked up a few seats in the House. All of this while fielding and supporting a racist, misogynistic, indecent and immature blowhard who sees himself as his only true constituent. Surely more than half of our country must find his behavior abhorrent.
Listening to NPR over the past couple of days, I’ve heard various people justify why Trump gets their vote. Mostly it boils down to abortion and the second amendment. These two line-in-the-sand issues steer so many voters away from the Democratic party that a complete absence of moral character becomes the lesser evil.
The right to choose an abortion is off the table. Choice is a basic human right. Plus, if abortion became illegal, women would literally be in back alleys with coat hangers. It’s an issue the Democrats can’t and shouldn’t give up. It’s our line in the sand. That leaves guns.
The nation is facing some of its biggest challenges in history. Covid-19 is running rampant, uncontrolled, and it will continue to do so until an effective vaccine is created—that’s not necessarily a when but possibly an if. Racism is on the rise, and thanks to President Trump, acknowledging racism is now considered unpatriotic. Millions are newly unemployed, business bankruptcies are rising, and evictions are gathering steam. And these are just some of today’s problems. Tomorrow, we need to deal with climate change.
Today, the United States officially dropped out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. This has been in the works since Trump got elected, and today—the day after election day, the election Trump lost—it finally happened. The climate crisis, the one we’re already entering, will be the largest mass murder in the history of the planet. We’re already well into the sixth extinction, on par with cataclysms like the comet that killed the dinosaurs.
Every country needs to do its part to eliminate carbon and methane emissions. The United States should be leading this effort, developing the technology to create clean energy, to move the world away from fossil fuels, not fighting to expand fracking, coal mining and oil exploration.
Comparatively, guns are noise. There are already 350,000,000 guns in the United States. Any opportunity to restrict gun ownership disappeared decades ago. There are millions of people who care deeply about the environment, but will always vote first to keep their guns. It’s time for the Democratic party to stop trying to take them away. In fifty years, it won’t matter if there are three hundred million or six hundred million guns in circulation. Climate catastrophes will be a primary cause of death. Let’s prioritize the problem that really matters, now.