Where is "Amerigunistan"?
"Amerigunstan" is obviously not a country, but a growing number of Americans fear that this country is quickly turning into a destructive warzone - much like that South Asian - Central Asian country that our military has been conducting costly combat operations in for the last 20 years ... Afghanistan. By the way, two of our designers know this fact all to well - both being OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM veterans with multiple combat tours under their belt.
On 15 February 2018, we collectively gasped as a deranged gunman and ex-student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL gunned down 17 innocent students at the high school. This event inspired Herbie Hoo and countless others in the U.S. to just do something. Anything. It may not be significant, and it may never change a thing -- but we felt compelled to take action in some way.
No, we are not gifted and polished politicians with the innate ability to deliver smooth and impactful speeches on the House or Senate floor following tragic events like the one we saw in Florida. But we are human beings, concerned parents, and at the end of the day; proud Americans.
What doesn't make us proud is the senseless loss of life that appears to be occurring exponentially in this country.
So, our designers decided to start the "Amerigunistan" Campaign to increase awareness of gun violence in our country and the need to pass common sense gun purchase and vetting laws. We don't believe the answer to this social problem is to ban guns. However, we do believe in making the existing gun laws - significantly smarter and more effective. We also believe in protecting our kids while they are getting an education. To us, it makes absolutely no sense to protect members of Congress, movie stars, and military installations with armed guards and fortified infrastructure, but leave the most innocent and vulnerable in our society without a fighting chance.
We find it incredibly interesting that politicians give eloquent speeches about gun control and the evils of "assault style" weapons ... under the protection of armed guards and security forces.
Gun control isn't the answer. Ask the cities of Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Philadelphia; the cities with the most stringent gun control laws and homicide rates in the country.
We DO need to:
- close the existing gaps and loop holes that exist in our current background check systems, (yes, there are many)
- tighten the screws on federal requirements for the military, states, local, and tribal entities to submit criminal history data to the FBI databases,
- common sense mental defective reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Mental defectives need our care, attention, and the best professional help we can provide them ... but they certainly don't need a weapon; any more than a baby needs access to the medicine cabinet.
- and serious threat assessments and effective measures for our nations school. "We don't have money for threat assessments," is no longer an acceptable excuse. Our schools are vulnerable and under attack ... stop spending federal funds on "non-sense" cultural studies and valueless cultural art projects. There ... now you have the funding you need.
If that means soliciting the help of teachers and educators that are former military or law enforcement to thwart the threat of active shooters in our country; so be it. Those that are adamantly opposed to potentially arming teachers in the classroom are still living in the world of make-believe.
These are the same folks who have no issue walking past a gauntlet of armed police officers and TSA inspectors, surrendering their carry-on possessions for scrutiny, and finally getting zapped in an X-ray machine -- all to ensure that your flight to Minneapolis to see grandma is uneventful.
The solution is simple (sort of...O.K., not really): let the states decide on what direction its schools will take in terms of arming teachers or administrators as an additional layer of security. One size will certainly not fit all. For those that choose to arm educators, make it voluntary and recruit your ex-military or law enforcement, or those with existing concealed carry permits.
Many Americans refuse to acknowledge the fact that this nation has shifted. As great of a nation that this place is ... we are no longer the country we were 20, 30, 40 years ago. Scenes of our children dodging 5.56 mm rounds in the school cafeteria never crossed our minds before the Columbine High School tragedy. Today, an incident like that is (unfortunately) commonplace. Sad.
We also believe that citizens who cannot protect themselves from threats and rely solely on law enforcement or the military for their protection, cannot truly categorize themselves a "free" people.
Not a popular notion, but this is what we believe. Instead, we feel that "access" to guns in America is the true problem.
In order to operate a motor vehicle on American's interstates, highways, and roadways, we have specific age requirements, we must possess baseline sensory and motor skill abilities, we must pass a written and practical driver's test, we must provide our servicing DMV with an extraordinary amount of personal information, we give the state a photograph to be placed on our license and in their database, and repeatedly register our vehicles on an annual basis. All this to maintain safe roadways in this country. But when it comes to guns, yes ... we have general gun registration laws and a pedestrian federal background check system, but we don't exercise the same degree of vetting and due diligence when we allow people to drive on our streets and roadways.
That piece must change.
The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms, but that doesn't mean everyone "should" bear arms. As much as we love and care for our 1.3 million legally blind, fellow Americans that currently reside in our country. Common sense tells us that they should not be operating vehicles on our roadways ... for their own safety, and others. Likewise, guns in the hands of the wrong operator can be equally catastrophic. It's operator access that needs to be "controlled."
We must ensure that the wrong operators do not have access to gun in America ... this is not a Second Amendment argument, it is common sense.
The term "Amerigunistan" is more than a (clever) hybrid reference for two diametrically opposed nations, it is an organic, grassroots cry from our concerned citizens for federal and state politicians to take meaningful action to stop the senseless violence that plagues one of the wealthiest and innovative nations on the planet. We are essentially a nation that has the capability and capacity to send satellites and other vehicles into orbit, but also must worry everyday about sending our kids to elementary school three blocks away -- much like decimated, war-torn countries elsewhere on the globe. Because of this, Herbie Hoo will donate 20% of the proceeds from the sales of our "Amerigunistan" apparel to established and verified organizations that directly support families of gun violence in America. Please share our campaign on social media and help maintain the momentum.
- Herb Hoo Staff