While America grapples with yet another horrific mass shooting, the specter of the gun culture that perpetuates the violence reared its ugly head over the national discourse when it was revealed that the sheriff investigating yesterday’s brutal massacre, John Hanlin, has a long history of fighting gun control measures and viciously attacking any attempts to even propose responsible gun control legislation. It also appears that Hanlin is a Sandy Hook “truther”- a deranged paranoiac who believes that somehow the cold-blooded murder of twenty-seven children and teachers was some kind of liberal conspiracy arranged by the government to take away their guns.
He posted a video to his Facebook wall entitled “Sandy Hook- Fully Exposed” while writing “this makes me wonder who we can trust anymore…watch, listen, and keep an open mind.” Following that shooting, he penned a letter to Vice President Joe Biden blasting the White House for proposing that we take steps to rein in the absurd level of firearm proliferation in our country. “Gun control is NOT the answer to heinous crimes like school shootings.” He then went on to declare that he will refuse to obey or enforce any gun control laws issued by the administration. “The second purpose of this letter is to make notification that any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any constitutional regulations or orders by federal offices within the borders of Douglas County, Oregon.”
Now that he is forced to face the bloody consequences of his irrational beliefs, he is still unrepentant and sticks by his stance. It is precisely this kind of attitude which perpetuates the cycle of violence in America and that allows for the mass distribution of deadly weapons among a clearly irresponsible civilian populace. It is the manifestation of an atrocious form of blasphemy, the worship of violence and the fetishism of the Reaper’s tools, the life-takers that are so beloved that we have contrived specific laws to carry them with us at all times, holstered close to their hearts. It is astonishing that the National Rifle Association and their lobbying arm has become the most powerful political group in America. Until we sit down and reflect on just what the obsession with the Second Amendment really entails, then our nation will never be able to move on and shed this awful plague that kills our children and destroys our communities.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.