Memes may make you feel good but they don’t make you right

As we are all too aware, the world stage has seen yet another unimaginable tragedy unfold in the last few days. Though, to be fair, what’s been happening in Syria for the last several years is far worse; from mass killings to bombing of entire cities, this region has become hell on earth.

Most of us initially reacted to the French terrorist attacks with shock and horror, but quickly showed solidarity with France. I say most of us, because sadly and sickeningly, some were quick to use the tragedy as an argument to bolster their own needs and fears; namely gun protection and border closings. This is vile, and shows a level of ignorance not seen since WWII. It makes me sick and embarrassed to be an American. Common sense is not prevailing right now, so I’d like to set a couple of records straight.

There is a meme going around that I won’t share, simply because I refuse to give it any airtime or allow the owner to think that those who use it agree with him. I saw it on Facebook and Twitter. Those who share and agree are simply using the attack as propaganda and should be ashamed. I question their humanity and sanity.

It shows a picture of Paris and says, “Paris has some of the world’s most restrictive gun laws”. “How’s that working out for you now?”

Let’s all step back for a moment and take a deep breath. Someone actually posted this just days after the attack, and did so for propaganda purposes only. The half-wits who are passing this around aren’t for a moment, wondering if this makes any fucking sense. It just feels good. As if gun rights or restrictions have any meaning when it comes to grenades, suicide bombers, or venues that even in the States would have been gun free zones. Looking at firearm related deaths, I found a Small Arms Survey listing of counties by firearm related deaths. Guess what? In 2011 9,146 people died in the United States due to firearms; this includes homicide, suicide and accidents. In France? Just 35. So, how’s that Second Amendment working out for you cowboy?

This myth that good guys always beat bad guys with guns is born from the belief in the “Hollywood effect”. In our movie culture the “good” guy always wins, as he is able to pull his gun out and directly hit the bad guy. This is a myth because as we have seen in the last two years, domestic terrorists who’ve shot up movie theaters, college campuses, and elementary schools, were not stopped by a good guy with a gun. Don’t confuse this with people who have stopped home invasions. We know this happens, but it is one thing to be in your own home and have the advantage, it is another to be in a public setting with chaos all around you. You don’t have to take my word for it. Take the recent Oregon College shooting. A campus by the way that allows firearms on its campus.

John Parker Jr., an Umpqua student and Air Force veteran, told multiple media outlets that he was armed and on campus at the time of the attack last week. Parker and other student veterans (perhaps also armed) thought about intervening. “Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” Parker told MSNBC. “We were quite a distance away from the actual building where it was happening, which could have opened us up to being potential targets ourselves.”

In short, it is a hard fact that the US, with all its guns has had thousands more deaths by firearms than France. And, even if France had less restrictive gun laws, chances are a good guy with gun wouldn’t have prevented loss of life. If you want to argue for your right to carry a gun, by all means do. Just use facts and some common sense when making your argument. Those who use the blood of the innocent to make themselves feel better should reevaluate their place in human society. Trust me when I say, the rest of us won’t miss you.

The second record I want to set straight has to do with the fear of Syrian refugees. Since the attack on Paris, we’ve seen governors (including my own) take a hard stand against allowing them into our country for fear of terrorism. Let’s break their argument down:

The terrorist who just hit France were Syrian refugees! No, no they were not. It is now known that the terrorists were French Nationals. Only one had been to Syria.

Obama just wants to let them in, without first vetting who they are! No, he is not. They are screened by several agencies. And guess what? These are not the first Syrian refugees to be allowed into our country. Yes we are increasing our numbers from 350 a year to 10,00 but keep in mind this number is low compared to other European countries who have taken in thousands. Have you heard of a Syrian refugee terrorizing Europe in the last five years? No, you have not.

There are Syrian refugees currently living in the U.S. and ironically, living in many of states whose governors now want to close our borders because they are afraid of terrorists sneaking in under the guise of refugees. In a show of absolute hypocrisy, Texas State Representative Tony Dale went so far to write in a letter “Imagine a scenario were a refugees is admitted to the United States, is provided federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?”

Seriously Dale, you are afraid a Syrian might buy a weapon to use in an attack, but you strongly oppose background checks for Americans who have been known to attack other Americans? I hate to break it to you sir, but in the majority of our recent mass shootings the assailants were white male Americans. Maybe we should be more concerned with our homegrown terrorist rather than those who are seeking sanctuary from war. The hard fact is, that so far, 2015 has seen 294 mass shootings, but not one by a Syrian refugee. And a good guy with a gun stopped not one. So much for that meme!


Thanks for listening. I really had to get that off my chest.

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

4 thoughts on “Memes may make you feel good but they don’t make you right”

  1. To paraphrase Orwell, the meme seems to be ‘My guns good, your guns bad’.

    From an overseas viewpoint the US citizen’s right to bear arms to protect them from the British army is, 200 years later, strangely inappropriate when Britain poses no threat at all, and never will. But memes are emotional and never susceptible to rational argument. I’m as disgusted and dismayed as you are, and as any rational thinker would be. It’s just horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just finished reading an eye opening book on our Constitution. It is clear from the wording both before and after the phrase “right to bear arms” as well as letters between the Founding Fathers, the Second Amendment was written out of fear of big government as well as outside threats. Once our armies were established the amendment should have been repealed or rewritten to reflect the times. Sadly, the modern NRA movement to have everyone armed and ready has done a lot of damage. Once again we are being told big government is out to get us. I say if you want to hide behind a 200 year old threat/amendment you should have to carry 200 year old muskets.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Strangely absent from the first meme was the ongoing violence in Beirut, where everyone is armed to the teeth; so much for the protective power of weapons. I expect that even with the terrorist attack, it will still be statistically safer to be in France than the U.S.

    That people on the terror suspect list can buy guns,and that Texans hypocritically worried that the Syrian refugees might buy guns, says something bad about how our national gun fetish has undermined our society.

    Liked by 1 person

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