Last month, during an Arizona House debate on whether to ban bump stocks, which make semiautomatic rifles fire almost as fast as machine guns, Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) blamed abortions for the epidemic of school shootings: “We are in a culture of death where it’s OK if you have an unwanted pregnancy to just go ahead and kill that child.”
This is not the first time a link between abortion access and school shootings has been suggested. In his commencement speech at the University of Maryland in 2013, U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) proclaimed, “Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand. And we wonder why our culture sees school shootings so often.”
All morning, I’ve been trying to get inside the heads of these two legislators and follow the twisted reasoning behind their statements. Perhaps a Vulcan mind meld might work, though I suspect my brain could be permanently damaged. But, in the spirit of inquiry, I’ll take that risk.
It’s all part of the gun lobby’s plan. Townsend’s and Cramer’s arguments are nothing new. Remember former SNL performer Victoria Jackson blogging that the Sandy Hook massacre took place because of abortions? According to her peculiar line of “reasoning” — and I use that word loosely here — God would stop punishing us with these school shootings if we simply ended all abortions. But fear of divine wrath is just a clever subterfuge. This really has nothing to do with preventing school shootings or protecting the unborn. It’s all about the guns.
Now that President Trump has proposed arming teachers to protect innocent school children, I see a surge of new proposals from NRA-backed lawmakers to achieve their perfect dream world of truly universal gun rights across the land, where guns are everywhere: in our homes, schools, and churches, and on every person, with no exceptions. No one will ever be too young or too old to exercise their sacred Second Amendment right.
Of course, there is also the likelihood that, by arming every teacher and student with a gun, school killings will actually increase in the resulting chaos where everyone is firing at once. But at least more people will have guns. Once overly burdensome age limits are dropped, and every man, woman, and child is armed, it won’t be long before some imaginative legislator proposes what was once deemed unthinkable. To truly protect the unborn, guns must be not only on our persons, but in our persons as well. Female persons, that is.
Any pregnant woman will be required to undergo a procedure in which a gun (albeit a very tiny one) is implanted into her womb so that the fetus can defend itself. Getting women to agree to this should not a problem. After all, everyone knows a woman’s uterus is not hers to control. There may be some question about when the fetus is first able to wrap its little developing clusters of finger cells around a gun, but I’m sure ideologues, as always, will resolve this matter based on carefully controlled studies. As to how to protect the mother from bullet holes, well, who’s more important, the fetus or the woman?
Gun sales will surge, just as they did following President Obama’s election, as whole new markets and technologies emerge for these tiny weapons. “Don’t worry about your kids,” the new slogan will go, “when they’re born packing heat.”
Regular readers of my posts will undoubtedly realize that I am writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek. No legislator would actually propose arming fetuses with guns. I certainly thought the suggestion was beyond ridiculous, but it turns out I was wrong. In April 2013, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman posted this campaign slogan on Twitter: “If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.”
There goes the nice, absurd ending I had planned. I may have to get serious. I hate that!
Yes, Rep. Townsend, I agree with you on one thing. We are indeed in a “culture of death” in this country, though it has nothing to do with access to abortion. It is our gun culture. We value guns more highly than anything else, so much so that we are unwilling to enact sensible regulations to prevent our children from being gunned down in the classroom. So much so that we now scapegoat women’s reproductive decisions for the fact that guns, which are far easier to obtain than abortions, are responsible for the deaths of so many schoolchildren. In the words of a recent New York Times editorial by Charles Blow:
We have venerated the gun and valorized its usage. America is violent and the gun is a preferred instrument of that violence. America, in many ways, is the gun.
And that is the true absurdity.