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We don’t seem to hear too much from the National Rifle Association and its gun nut minions when US soldiers kill innocent civilians in far off lands, OR and this is important, even when soldiers kill each other right here at home. Somehow all this killing is about good guys with good guns. It simply isn’t Second Amendment Cool to criticize soldiers who use guns to kill people, and it surely isn’t Second Amendment Cool to suggest that soldiers trained to kill in war should not have easy access to guns when they come home.

Contrast this with the NRA blitzkrieg when some kid kills other kids. It’s all about the deranged kid and never about the obscene access that deranged kids have to the firearms they use to kill the non-deranged kids. You know the message – “Guns don’t kill kids, deranged kids kill kids.” Repeat that to yourself a few times. If it sounds good to you, then stop reading this piece, pour yourself a Bud Lite, and continue to vote Republican. If, on the other hand, you understand how demented this message is, read the rest of this piece, get angry, and vote for Bernie Sanders for President when you get the chance.

Seriously, with soldiers again killing soldiers right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, wouldn’t it be wonderful if soldiers and soldiers’ families joined kids and kids’ families to plead for a day when none of us could get access to the firearms some of us use to kill each other. Overseas military adventures are multiplying the number of wounded warriors, and deranged kids seem to be coming out of the virtual woodwork at an alarming rate. As a nation, we should place a heavy priority on healing wounded warriors and treating deranged kids, but none of this will matter much if the ones we can’t heal and can’t cure can go to their local Walmart and buy an assault rifle.

While well-intentioned people beat the drums for increased awareness of the escalating number of deranged people in our midst and the increased mental health resources necessary to diagnose and treat them, the silence about access to firearms is deafening. Gun shops multiply, guns shows thrive, and mercenary retailers stock assault weapons alongside food and toys – all of this without a demonstration, a picket line, or a boycott in sight. On the political front, from top to bottom, NRA imposed paralysis abounds. Our benighted politicians have gotten really good at the sympathy and prayers, the flags at half-staff, and the expressions of grief. Meanwhile, the inevitable investigations focused on the shooter always come to the same obvious conclusions – the shooter was deranged, security was lax.

But there is never uttered the most obvious conclusion of all – it is time to shut down the gun merchants and start aggressively reducing the nation’s privately-held arsenal. This is simply not Second Amendment Cool. Yet, anything short of at least an effort to do this is doomed to failure. The killing fields are coming home. They are in our neighborhoods, our schools, and our military facilities. They are nurtured by an insane internal arms race financed and promoted by a loud and paranoid minority that profits from the killing. That minority only seems to lose members when they kill each other with the guns they collect and flaunt.

As a final note, those of us who seek an end to this insane arms race should implore our President, who has no more campaigns to finance or offices to seek, to rise up and stand for something on this issue. I am tired of his prayers and weary of his sympathy. He need look no further than the array of armed guards who separate him from his constituents to understand what our nation has become – a nation that fears its own soldiers and its own kids. He can be a beacon of light toward a day when those following in his footsteps can meet their constituents free of the fear that a deranged kid or a deranged soldier with a Walmart gun is out there lurking. This is the least we should demand from our President and from each other. Success would redefine Second Amendment Cool.

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