After the horrific mass killing in Las Vegas, one question keeps bouncing around social media. Why didn’t anyone notice this man who possessed an arsenal in Nevada?
For a gun “collector,” 42 guns isn’t alarming. It’s #goals. In American gun culture, that number is not as uncommon as we’d like to believe.
I should know. I was married to a man who loved his gun collection, who came from a family of gun lovers. They could spend hours discussing the finer points of different makes and models, pouring over catalogs and doing online research. They were regulars at local gun shops and shows, pursued harder to find models through independent sellers. His family collected guns like kids collect Pokemon. Gotta catch ’em all.
(Flickr / Todd Van Hoosear)
The marriage didn’t last long, but by the time we split in our mid-20s, my husband already owned several different guns and rifles. The only obstacle to amassing more weapons was cash flow.
So, imagine this man in his 60s, whose name I can’t even bring myself to type, who was, by all accounts, a wealthy individual. His ability to buy weapons and the conversion kits to automate them was boundless.
Who was going to question him?
We know it’s not the conservative politicians who tell us, once again, that now is not the time to discuss gun control. They told us the same thing after children were slaughtered in Newtown and innocents killed in Orlando. The problem is there’s never a right time for them. It’s not a later discussion — it’s a never discussion.
Would the gun store owners step in and question the volume or type of purchases? Of course not. They followed the law of the land and made nice profits in the process.
How about this guy’s friends? The ones who arguably had the best access to figuring out his intentions. Nope. Chances are, he was surrounded by like-minded individuals who looked at his guns and, instead of seeing an arsenal, considered it a well-curated collection.
There is no worry in gun culture of their peers. The worry falls squarely on “the other.”
This fear of otherness is what drives spikes in gun sales and creates artificial ammunition shortages. Whenever gun owners feel their Second Amendment rights are threatened, there are rushes on product. There are direct correlations between skyrocketing weapons sales and elections. After Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential win, gun and ammo manufacturers experienced a surge in sales that continued unabated through 2010. American gun culture holds a strong belief that stockpiling weapons and ammo is an admirable endeavor.
15 Acres of Guns & Gear - National Rifle Association Sign, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
(Flickr / Adam Jones)
Do a quick Google search, and you’ll see that even in the thick of a pro-NRA Trump presidency, the whispers remain… They’re coming for our guns. Get them while you can.
This domestic terrorist in Nevada was not a lone shooter. They never are.
He had the support of gun culture blindness that surrounded him. A belief that a white man with 42 guns couldn’t possibly be capable of inflicting violence, only protecting himself from it.
He was buoyed by a lack of legal checks and balances that make it possible for any civilian to carry military grade weapons. As many as one can afford.
As we move forward, watch closely to see which politicians support a mass murderer’s right to bear arms. They are laying the groundwork for the next “largest mass shooting in American history.” Without intervention, we know there will be another.
One man may have pulled the trigger, but there was an army of enablers behind him who would rather fight for his right to gun ownership than your right to live.🔷
The Knotted Gun or Non-violence, United Nations, New York.
(Flickr / Steven Ballegeer)