So this is Sarah Palin's idea of common sense: guns equal spoons. It would be easy to dismiss Palin as a right-wing fringe lunatic who has been relegated to frothing up her word salad on Fox Fake News until her contract runs out and the national embarrassment ends. But her infantile gun-spoon photo went viral on Facebook, with more than 65,000 people reposting it in just a few days as if to prove that those silly liberals may have book learning, but they fall short on common sense. "Guns don't kill people," they say. "People kill people. Spoons don't make you fat--that's just common sense. Next thing you know, liberals will want to ban cars or garden rakes because someone could use them to kill someone else. Those silly liberals."
Let me ask Sarah Palin and her reposting fans this question: Which item would you give to a ten-year-old child so that she could eat her chicken noodle soup, a spoon or a loaded handgun? Still think there's no difference? Still think your nonsense is any kind of common sense?
We may not always share the definition of common sense, but we do have common ground. The bottom line is that we all grieve for the victims of this tragedy, and all reasonable people want to keep guns away from people who use them irresponsibly. Without getting too far into the politics at this early stage, there is one thing we know for sure. The assault weapons ban that Republicans let expire would have either stopped Holmes (and Jared Loughner before him) from getting their weapons or at least made it much more difficult.
Common-sense laws about extremely dangerous weapons are the minimum we can do, but the far-right Republican Party and the gun lobby have made it impossible even to have a grown-up conversation about gun laws. As soon as anyone talks about gun laws, the NRA board rants about how Obama is coming for your guns and attacking the Second Amendment. (Guess what? Obama is the Commander in Chief of the strongest military force in the history of the planet. He's got access to plenty of firepower--he doesn't need anybody else's guns.)
Here's a fun experiment to try with a someone who thinks guns and spoons are pretty much the same thing. Ask the person to tell you what's in the Second Amendment. The likely response is that says Americans can have any gun they want. Then show them the actual text of the Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The Second Amendment is actually about the government being able to muster a civilian fighting force at a time in our history when guns were single-shot muskets, and our young nation had no standing army.
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