With the one-year anniversary of the tragic murder of elementary school students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this Saturday, I decided to repost the following, which first appeared here and on the Daily Kos in February of 2013. I have chosen today to post this so the families of Newtown will have one less reference on the actual date, as they have requested. I also realized my proposal could end the acrid debate about the Affordable Care Act, and, indeed, the act itself. I have included my reasoning below.
Finally, my Immodest Proposal helped me to find my voice again in writing and launched this blog. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by, liked and followed my still, small voice. Please read on below the image of my painting, Memento Mori, for will we not all be remembered as mice in the grand scheme of life as we know it?
AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL
For Preventing the Poor Children of the People of the United States of America
From Being the Innocent Victims of Lunatics, Madmen, and Terrorists and
For Protecting All Citizens of This Great Nation of Ours
It is a melancholy object lesson to those who walk the highways and byways of the news, and explore the broad avenues, dark alleys and hidden recesses of the internet community these days, cluttered as they are with facts and suppositions, opinions and conjectures, insightful analysis and crackpot theories followed by arguments, counter-arguments, diatribes, homilies, sensible suggestions and utter lunacies related to gun violence and the recent wholesale slaughter of children and adults in Newtown, Aurora, Portland and far too many other cities and towns. Everywhere we look we are caught in the nightmarish violence we should only be forced to encounter in our television, movies and electronic games.
Though proponents and opponents of proposed legislation designed to make the acquisition of guns and ammunition better monitored claim their arguments are intelligent and well-reasoned, and that their opponents are fools, frauds, and mountebanks, I think all parties will agree that slaughter of innocent children, no matter their age, is a grievance this nation can suffer no more. Our national discussion plays out before a landscape of violence in our news, movies and games, where guns are the first resort and body counts are staggering. Still, we heatedly disagree about whether our news and entertainment influence people prone to violence, or even average citizens. Radio, television and computer pundits urge restrictions or spout revolution in a climate where fear of the other reigns supreme.
[WHAT COULD BE DONE? WHAT COULD I DO?]
I have always been numbered among the liberals, categorically opposed to guns. Listening to descriptions of the December 14th murder of 20 elementary-school children and six women, I felt overwhelmed. What could be done? What could I do? I turned my thoughts, my feelings upon the important questions related to gun violence, assault weapons, extended ammunition magazines, mental health, economics, tyranny, revolution, films, television, electronic games and the many other factors which people cite as contributing to our nation’s current climate of violence and fear. After careful consideration, I find I have had a change of heart, of reason.
Wanton gun violence is not unique to the United States of America, but we are different. A nation founded by violent revolution, many citizens believe it not only their right, according to the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to carry arms, but also their duty. Though we’ve proven we can come together as a group, as a nation in times of conflict and need, we pride ourselves in our independence and individuality. Undaunted, claiming Divine Right, Manifest Destiny or Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we march intrepidly forth, confident in our certainty, certain in our sanctity and fearless in our freedom. We know we are the greatest people in the greatest nation on earth. We own our guns because we choose to, because we have a right to, and we will defend them with our life, or yours.
[I HAVE THE SOLUTION]
The problem comes when crazy people, foreigners, terrorists and the disenfranchised poor, using our guns or their own, take out their frustrations on innocent children, women and men. I have the solution; a solution that goes very far beyond keeping us safe from random violence. It brings sanity to the discussion, while reducing the national deficit, curbing welfare rolls, increasing teaching standards and school discipline, increasing manufacturing levels and production, bringing prison populations to more reasonable levels, providing immediate employment for soldiers returning from war, reducing the percentage of un- and under-employed people throughout the country, saving the postal service and being generally beneficial for the entire nation.
It came to me as I listened to the outrage over NRA spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre’s remark that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. I tried to see past my inherent liberal prejudice and fairly weigh the strength, intent, and veracity of his statement and of those who urged we arm our teachers, or make our schools armed camps with soldiers toting assault weapons guarding every door. I realized these ideas were not callous or inflammatory, merely short-sighted. They simply did not go far enough to solve random attacks, let alone any of our nation’s other ills.
Therefore, I propose that every man, woman and child, starting at age five, be required to own and carry a machine pistol at the very minimum. We should begin training children when they turn four years of age so these children, on their fifth birthday, will be ready to join our other free citizens on an equal footing. Everyone will be required to invest in proper training in the discharge and maintenance of weapons and to be licensed and certified to this end. Training, licensing, certification fees and surcharges, as well as the cost of the training itself, plus surcharges, will rapidly begin to defray the national debt. If only 75% of our soon to be 315,000,000 citizens paid a $100.00 fee, that would be an initial influx of $2,360,000,000.00 into our national coffers. A pittance, but only one fee among dozens.
All guns, all materials required for their formation, construction and assembly must be created and acquired within the United States. This also applies to ammunition, shooting ranges, medical facilities, training complexes and printing of licenses, certificates and training manuals. Additionally, we could entirely scrap the Affordable Care Act. Any care determined to have been provided outside our shores would result in loss of citizenship. When you can receive the level and quality of care that you are capable of commanding, no one should have need to go elsewhere or cause to complain. This would benefit printers, steel workers, tool and die makers, labor crews, doctors, nurses, trauma centers, medical supply companies, and drug companies who produce their products on our shores. Whether man, machine or material, it must be native to our shores. All licenses, certificates and legal documents must be sent via ground mail. This will resurrect our postal service and see it again staffed by red-blooded Americans.
The United States of America has a long, proud history of gun and ammunition manufacture, so there is every reason to believe these manufacturers will meet the demand and no reason anyone should be unable to procure the automatic gun of their choice. The gun makers will ramp up their production, including retooling some facilities to produce child-sized machine pistols and other automatic weapons, along with research and development centers, creating more employment.
Currently our veterans return home unsure if they qualify for benefits. Their suicide rate is staggering. They have trouble finding work, and even reintegrating into their own families. My proposal provides ideal employment, benefits and reintegration for these returning heroes. Who is better suited to oversee the shooting ranges which will spring up across the country, or to run training facilities to help our people be qualified before going to a shooting range? If working in the firing ranges doesn’t suit, they will have first priority for hire on construction crews building new shooting ranges, hospitals, trauma centers and manufacturing facilities, thus helping them and boosting the construction, lumber, paper, brick, mortar, hardware and health care industries.
My proposal ends welfare as we know it. Those who take to the new system rapidly will secure their own needs through their quickness of wit and the speed of their trigger fingers. Those who show a lack of skill, ambition or desire will rapidly be eliminated. Women previously on welfare, who survive, will continue having children, surely our greatest resource for the future, since many guns will always be superior to one gun no matter its capacity. Do we really need anyone who can’t learn to handle a gun?
Student discipline will improve as will the teaching standards of our educators. Teachers must qualify as Expert shooters before being certified to return to their classes. Most will agree it will always be better to wound a child than kill one. However, educators will be allowed to wear body armor on school grounds. Children are more volatile than adults, with less hand-eye coordination and teachers take too long to train to waste them needlessly.
[MOST AGREE IT WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER TO WOUND A CHILD THAN KILL ONE.]
We will reduce prison populations. Those currently jailed on weapons charges or murder can be released when they prove they have proper training and proficiency to meet new standards and have acquired proper licenses and certificates. We can eliminate murder from our legal statutes and, if we legalize and tax so-called recreational drugs, we will benefit on several levels. Those locked up on drug charges can return to being productive citizens and the tax on these drugs will further reduce the national debt, while reducing the crime rate attributed to the acquisition of these products. Additionally, stoned-out druggies are slow and much easier to shoot if the need arises. As an extra benefit, many liberals will doubtless refuse to own firearms and quickly land in prison. Perhaps guarding them would be a fitting task for the foreigners displaced by the Americanization of the United States.
We will be able to reduce our police forces or eliminate them entirely. This will simply be a career change. These individuals should quickly find work in the same fields as returning soldiers. A growth economy and elimination of surplus population will cause major unemployment to vanish. By arming all of our citizens, we will keep our enemies and allies on alert, and give ourselves an amazing advantage if the world should again come to open conflict. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my proposal clear enough. Yet think of the business the morticians, funeral homes and grave diggers will enjoy. We might have whole universities devoted to teaching these skill sets
Finally, I have no personal interest in promoting this solution. My only motive is the good of my country, its citizens and future generations. I have no plans for investments or schemes by which I can make a single penny, though I am sure there will be those who do so. Nor am I so convinced of my own solution as to reject proposals of wise and learned men, though I myself have been unable to see another solution the majority will agree upon. This way, if someone disagrees, we simply eliminate them.
I believe, however, that the highest hurdle my proposal must surmount will be ideological. For if every man, woman and child is given the same access to guns and training, we may truly reach equality for the first time. Of course, this would be socialism, so please don’t mention it to those on the radical right.
B. Swift Jonathon