In the past few weeks we have seen the sobering shooting of four imminently innocent young people by angry, inadequate losers who feel their ownership of a gun makes them bigger, better men. If you ring the wrong doorbell you get shot; if you start to get in the wrong car you get shot (not in the car, mind you, but in your own car after you apologize and hastily exit the car); if you pull in a driveway to turn around you get shot; if you chase a ball into the neighbor’s lawn you get shot.
These shootings are not justified. Nor are they lawful. They are not even rational, but they are predictable.
Each of these shootings were conducted by someone who has been radicalized by far-right drums beating out a constant beat of fear, anger, distrust and self-entitlement.
Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: No! You are not entitled to your anger. Period. Full stop. Grow up. Get over it.
First, your anger it is based on a lie. If you spend your time ingesting the thin, weak soup of Fox pseudo-news and get a steady diet of hate you are intellectually malnourished. The recent phenomenal court settlement that Fox must pay was because Fox deliberately spread lies. They chose to lie to keep viewers.
It seems these viewers don’t want news; they want to have their prejudices reinforced. This same pseudo-news outlet gives its rapt, slack-jawed viewers the impression that violent crime is the constant companion of every white American. None of this is borne out by facts.
The violent crime rate in the United States has dropped by 1.7% since 2020. The property crime rate has dropped by 4.5% in the same period. Your chances of being involved in a violent crime are less than 0.01%.
I am 76 years old. I have lived my early years and working life in inner cities. I have never been the victim of crime. I have never been threatened. I have never seen a crime in progress. Far from being extraordinary, this is how most people live their lives. Unless, of course, you live near a lily-livered coward who wants to use a gun to make up for the petty failures of his inconsequential life.
The other reason you are not entitled to your anger is that the law says your personal angst is not the ruling law of the land. You simply are not smart enough or self-disciplined enough to be the boss. You are far too intolerant of people who don’t look, talk and act just like you. This makes you a threat to your fellow citizens who have the right to live their lives in peace.
There are far too many angry, intolerant, marginally intelligent, armed zealots out there. They refuse to deal in logic.
Our government has the responsibility to protect its citizens by amending the rights of these people. A society that tolerates indiscriminate gun use dissolves into anarchy.
Too many Americans have been told that a gun is their right, whether they use it intelligently or not. That makes as much sense as saying a car is your right, whether you have a license or not. Whether you habitually drive drunk or not. Whether you use it to run down the kids who get on your lawn or not.
Anger is a natural response to frustration, but holding on to that anger, nurturing it and using it as a justification for intolerant behavior is not natural. It is anarchistic, evil, anti-American and unlawful.
It is becoming patently obvious that the wingnuts on the far right cannot govern themselves. They are mean-spirited people who seek out false justification for their evil deeds. They are not entitled to their anger, nor are they entitled to legal protection.
Some people might point out that I am angry right now. They are correct. But I am not pulling out a gun and shooting the people who are making me angry. Instead I am pointing out their falsehoods, their small-minded bigotry and how they have allowed themselves to be manipulated by the forces of evil.
Learn a little self-discipline and keep the faith.
Louise Butler is a retired educator and published author who lives in Edinburg. She writes for our Board of Contributors.