We’ve got a problem with guns. We don’t agree what it is, but no matter who you are, you have to admit we do a lot of shooting in this country. Most of us don’t, but this is one of those areas where one person can have an outsized effect. And the fact is, other nations do not experience the violence that is routine here in the U. S. of A. You know, unless they’re in a war. So there’s something going on. Can’t keep pretending there isn’t.
People who oppose any gun regulation like to say that the problem of mass murder boils down to mental illness. But it’s not just mentally ill people doing this shit. All kinds of people are ready to put some hurt on random strangers. And the tut-tutting about the mentally ill is generally done by people who won’t even sign on for universal health care.
So we have a situation in which reasonable people, people I know and love, people who will never commit a crime, who merely want the ability to defend their house and home in the way they feel comfortable with, and maybe pop a deer every now and then, are so horrified by the utterly imaginary prospect that someone is going to try to take away their guns that they have drawn a line: and the line is All weapons, Always. They might not need a weapon capable of flattening a crowd of people, personally, but they will defend to the death someone else’s right to have it. Preferably someone else’s death.
Every time someone suggests assault weapons should be banned, someone else chimes in to suggest how ignorant that is. He will then helpfully explain that there is no such thing as an assault weapon, that it is a semantic construct unrelated to anything in the current commercially-available arsenal, and the simple addition of a diphthong-kit can easily render even a carved-dogwood cap rifle into a fully asthmatic splatterstick at a price of $18.99, available at any Walmart. He will further explain that any bullet is capable of dropping a silhouetted teenager in a dark hoodie and it doesn’t matter if it runs him clean through or shreds him spectacularly along the way, so regulating ammunition or the speed at which it can exit a firearm is of no value. Basically, you can kill someone with darn near anything, so these distinctions are without merit.
These people make a good point. That point being it is absolutely true that I do not know anything about guns. So I will state my dumb-ass beliefs as simply as I can.
I am not afraid of gun owners; I might even be less afraid of people than they are. I believe citizens who want firepower for hunting purposes or who feel they are safer when armed should have those arms. I believe the Second Amendment as written is a historical fossil. I believe a well regulated Militia does not mean the lawless Bundy gang or the Nazis at the Capitol, and doesn’t really apply to anything currently necessary to the security of a free State. I also do not believe for one blessed moment that living in a country saturated with guns makes us safer. That’s some wild-West horseshit right there. Now to the technical part: I think people should not be allowed to own bang-bangs that can rain bullets and mow people down in a couple of seconds. And, as an aside, I believe anyone who thinks he has a God-given right to shoot lead ammunition should be pinned down on the desert floor without water in condor territory.
It is remarkable to me how much folks on the fringes, right and left, autocrat and anarchist, resemble each other. They are disinclined to question their own dogma, they’re scared of shadowy government forces taking away their guns, and they have plans to personally hold off the U. S. Military from their basement bunkers.
And here I am, silly me, stranded in the middle with my fingers in my ears, afraid of global warming.
Is there a way to get these fringes to face off in one massive cage match? When they run out of bullets we can yard out the carcasses for the remaining vultures, and then maybe we can address some issues with actual existential consequences for us all.