Most of the time, if you act fearless enough and choose your battles wisely, the majority of schoolyard bullies can be faced down. But I learned as an out-of-the-closet gay teen in south Georgia in the early 1980s that some bullies are just too big to fight.
They’re too strong, too ruthless and insane, too well-connected with school administration or otherwise unfairly advantaged against those who would stand against them. It is then that one must resort to a tactic I like to call “Let’s you and him fight”.
If you alone are not strong enough to vanquish your opponent, you must find someone who is – and then find a way to set them against each other. Neither, probably, will ever be your friend. However, once they have occupied each other’s attentions, one is generally once again at liberty to roam the school halls unmolested while dressed like Siouxsie Sioux’s sparkly kid brother.
This tactic works beyond the cafeteria – and it’s how we as Americans should finally fight back against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the other pro-gun lobbies keeping our country armed to the teeth and unwilling to hear any sense regarding gun safety laws, even as gun violence in the US remains disproportionately high: we must find something big, ugly and ruthless enough to take on the NRA.
My friends, I must now utter a phrase that I would never have expected to say without having suffered an egregious head wound – something like “That was an Oscar-worthy performance from Steven Seagal,” or “I believe we’ve found another great French rock band”.
I believe the insurance industry may be our only hope.
Let everyone in this country keep their guns, but force them to insure those guns. It seems so obvious when you think about it. We insure our cars, our houses, our boats and bodies, even our plane tickets and rental cars. And some of those policies are legally mandated. We should absolutely require gun owners to pay against the indemnity they might incur when their gun does what it is statistically most likely to do – kills or injures them, or someone else.
Unlike all of the other things that we insure – cars, major electronics or art collections – guns only do one thing. They kill. They are lumps of metal that fire hot fragments of lead at lethal velocities in order to crack bone, explode soft tissues and end life.
Gun violence costs the US an estimated $229bn every year . Insurance companies, do you hear that? That’s a lot of dosh you could be profiting from. Break out your actuary tables, let’s get indemnity-ed up!
You see those guys over there, those NRA members? Each one of them is a walking, talking, gun-polishing wallet full of cash. How much do you suppose would be the maximum dollar amount of damage that could spew forth from the barrel of an AR-15 in one fiscal year?
This could be your next great revenue stream, insurance giants. You might even make enough money to let Americans have something like decent, affordable healthcare.
It’s time to make bull-headed gun owners pay for their treasured toys’ potential to kill. Think of the premiums that await you, the deductibles, the hours you can make gun owners wait on hold for incompetent service! It might make some second-guess their need to open-carry. Of course, they could always show up and shoot you (forcing you to pay yourself), but that’d hardly be a blip in the revenue stream.
So, get in that ring, insurance guys. In this corner, we have the grifting, cheating, predatory insurance industry! In the opposite corner, the bullying, neurotic, paranoid but very, very heavily armed gun lobby!
My money is on the bureaucrats. I believe the insurance companies with their legions of parsimonious bean-counters can accomplish in red tape what a million marching demonstrators with our signs and good intentions never could. Two scams enter – one scam leaves. And America? We win.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015
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