The State of the Union: Armed to the Teeth

By Bill Maher

There was an empty seat next to the First Lady at the State of the Union this week. It was there to honor Lemmy from Motorhead. No it wasn’t. The White House says it represents the victims of gun violence, "…because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory… To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this."

That’s nice, I guess, but I need to be reminded about gun violence like I need a hole in the head. Everyone’s heard everyone else’s arguments now, and an empty chair is as good a way to say “I give up talking to you about this” as anything else. If nothing else, it’ll confuse Clint Eastwood. We’re not taking away anyone’s guns and guns are a durable good, so the 300 million we’ve got aren’t going bad anytime soon. We’re also a democracy – more or less – and most people like the right to bear arms and, until that changes, all that’s going to happen is Will Ferrell and Julianne Moore are going to make somber-looking black and white PSAs and the guys with 19 guns at home go out and buy a 20th.

I’m sorry about the mass murders, but short of confiscation, there’s nothing we can do about the spree shooters except wear thicker clothes. And most gun deaths in America are suicides, and our suicide rate isn’t that bad. According to The Washington Post, it’s 10.1 per 100,000, which is better than France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Canada, all the countries NPR always lists when they talk about why we can’t have nice things. We’re a very big country with a pretty average suicide rate, and we just happen to do it by sucking a gun. I hate the NRA, and I hate homicidal maniacs and I don’t care who knows it, but if you think shooting sprees are a national health crisis, you have to stop reading Facebook and calm down.