How to solve problems

For years, gun control in America has been a political non-starter, even as mass shootings keep happening with heart-breaking regularity. A large fraction of the general population looks askance at these massacres and asks why, why can’t something be done about this? Why does it seem impossible to impose more strict controls on firearms? How do we change this. Well, the answer is simple.

Bribe the rich.

The rich have a plan. The plan is to grow ever more rich. The rich make the rules that the rest of us have to live under. If you’re the one who makes the rules, you’re not likely to create a game in which it is possible to lose, but they’re not deliberately malicious — they’re just detached. The rich don’t care if their rules hurt other people, as long as they will be okay. They just don’t give a shit about collateral damage. (Of course this is not the only way to bring about positive change, but it’s certainly the quickest.)

The trick then is to somehow get the rich to write the rules in such a way that the rich sill get richer, but allows us to minimize the damage we ordinary folks have to endure as a result. Consider Obamacare. Yes, a lot of formerly uninsured people got coverage, but the only reason the law got passed in the first place is because it was destined to enrich the already bloated stakeholders of our nation’s insurance companies.

Or look at gay marriage. Opinions on the issue seem to have shifted massively in the course of a few years. Most of that is due to the cumulative, tireless efforts of activists over the course of a century, but there’s some indication that the acceptance displayed by corporate America helped reduce the stigma around LGBT issues, and accelerated progress. That acceptance is largely came about due to corporate America’s constant effort to identify and exploit more and more demographic groups. Fundamentally, business leaders realized, there was more money to be made via human decency (in this one area at least) than there was to be made by pandering to an ever-shrinking minority of intolerant phobics.

So, if you want more gun control, the quickest way to make that happen is to convince the rich that it’s in their best (financial) interest to implement it. Seriously. If they thought they could make a quick buck off it, they’d make happen so fast you’d end up with ideological whiplash.

It’s a simple strategy in principle, but very difficult in practice. For one thing, the rich don’t really suffer the effects of gun violence all that much. Well, yeah, rich people get do shot from time to time, but they are much less likely to than people with lower incomes. One of the benefits of being rich is that one is able to better protect oneself from violent crime. In terms of personal safety, it’s just not a pressing issue to them. They are generally less worried that they will be shot, because they do not spend very much time in places where gun crime is likely to occur.

But the lack of personal, gun-related jeopardy is less important than the fact that the American firearm industry is a $6 billion-a-year business. The people vacuuming up the lion’s share of that $6 billion are not about to relinquish one thin red cent of it without a fight, no matter how many non-rich people die, which is why they won’t allow stricter gun control to happen. What’s in it for them? You want them to sell fewer guns, and make less money? What, are you crazy?

That’s the tricky part. What possible policy could manage to A) reduce the number of guns being sold to violent, unstable idiots, and B) ensure that gun industry billionaires continue to rake in fat stacks of cash? I personally have no idea. But the individual who comes up with a workable solution will be lauded as a saint.

Someone should start a think tank for this kind of stuff. If you want something done, convince a rich person there’s a buck in it for them, and it’ll get taken care of before you can say “amoral bastard.”

How to solve problems

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