After another mass shooting in the United States last week, the issue of gun violence is hot on the minds of the American people. Despite this, Republicans are still sticking to the motto, “guns don’t’ kill people, people kill people.”
In less than two months, three incidents of mass shootings have gripped the nation, and catapulted the issue of gun violence and gun rights into the mainstream political conversation. The latest shooting took place Thursday as John Houser walked into the Grand Theatre in Louisiana and fired off his .40-caliber handgun during a screening of the new film, “Trainwreck.” The funerals of the victims are scheduled to be held on July 27 and serve as a reminder of the nation’s problem with gun. During an interview on July 26 on CNN, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry commented on the shooting, saying that if more moviegoers where armed with a gun, the shooting might not have happened.
“I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity,” Perry said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” This narrative is echoed across the Republican party, throughout the right wing media, and in the minds of most conservative voters. It’s also eerily similar to the tone taken by the character Archie Bunker from the hit 1970s TV show, “All in the Family.”
Archie, played by actor Carol O’Conner, was a middle class citizen from Queens, NY, who was the stereotypical white conservative, filled with racial ignorance. In the episode “Archie and the Editorial,” the elder conservative who would frequent “Kelsey’s bar” to rant about his grievances, demanded equal time against a TV station manager who broadcasted an anti-gun speech. Ever the prototype for the modern day Tea Party movement, Archie was granted his time on the station’s local channel where he explained what the country needed to do to handle gun violence.
In his rebuttal titled “Guns for Everybody,” Archie gave a detailed explanation on how to stop “stick ups” and “skyjackings.” “All you gotta do is arm all your passengers,” Archie told the audience. “They just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip, and then pick them up again at the end. Case closed.” Archie prefaced this by claiming their was a “conspiracy” by the government to take away guns from Americans, in some sort of “communist” plot.
The studio audience and millions around the country laughed their hearts out, as they did each and every week that Archie graced their screen. Winning multiple Emmy awards, creator Norman Lear tapped into what was going on in the households of many; the show was a hit. In the closing moments of the show, Archie and his family celebrate down at Kelsey’s bar, where a viewer congratulates the new local TV “star” on his great views on guns. Moments later, Archie’s admirer followed up by pulling out a gun, robbing the bar, before buying Archie a beer and fleeing on foot. A humorous take on the sad reality of the country over forty years later.