Reading this blog might give some people the impression that I don’t like guns. I’ve never actually said that. I like guns plenty. I grew up playing with guns and shooting actual guns from BB guns to 12-gauge shotguns. Not a lot, mind you. But enough to know what guns can do.
I specifically recall my father taking out a ground hog from the upstairs perch of our three-story house in Seneca Falls, New York. It made me think my dad was a real hero. Of course he grew up shooting guns to gather game on his Upstate New York farm. He told stories of following ruffed grouse with his gun and how hard they were to hit.
Dealing with fears
One of my best friends is a very able and avid hunter. He’s backed off the last few years because his body has rebelled against those cold mornings in the South Dakota hills. Plus he got stared down by a mountain lion a few years back and then had to walk out carrying only his bow and arrow as defense. That’s enough to unnerve anyone.
It might have helped to deal with his fear if he had carried another weapon with him. Like a gun. But not always. If a mountain lion really wants to track you down and pounce on your back, they’ll likely find a way before you can turn and fire your weapon.
Of course the same goes in the city. If someone wants to shoot you, it almost doesn’t matter if you’re packing heat or not. You can conceal carry or throw that weapon on your hip for all to see. The rule of the urban jungle is that whoever fires first has the advantage.
Unless you miss. Then you’re screwed unless you have a rapid fire or automatic weapon. And thus the gun industry has responded by creating weapons that can fire multiple rounds. That cuts down your odds of receiving return fire.
So it’s no wonder the police are none too keen about the presence of automatic weapons on the street. How would you feel knowing that you might be outgunned even if you do fire your service revolver first?
There’s an hilarious yet somewhat revealing scene to this effect in the movie True Lies, in which the scantily dressed Jamie Lee Curtis character goes to fire a machine gun and drops it. As it falls down the steps it takes out a dozen or so terrorist types. So much for the theory that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yes, it’s a complete farce of a scene. The likelihood of something like that happening is a million to one.
Yet there are many arguments about guns that depend on a rather random belief that guns solve the problem of threats or violence. Once such contention is the idea that a room full of people carrying concealed weapons is going to deter a person with criminal intent and the will to kill. With the power of repeating weapons at hand, there is still a great advantage in the hands of the person who shoots first.
There’s the shock and fear factor, for one thing. And if the entire room erupts in gunfire, how will all those concealed carry wizards identify and focus on the original shooter? It really doesn’t make sense.
We can turn to another example from the movies to point out the absurdity of all such strategies. In the scene from Men In Black in which Will Smith as a New York City policemen is put through a firing range test with some of America’s best millitary marksmen, he holds his fire until the last minute and finally shoots a cutouf of a young girl right through the forehead with a single shot.
The rest of the trained military men blaze away before that moment, taking out everything in the room that moves. But Smith, when asked why he chose to shoot a young girl through the head rather than the monsters and aliens presented for earlier target practice, simply explains that she looked out of place.
Well, good for him. We all wish our armed citizens and officers had such wits about them. But that’s also illustrating the problem as well as the solution. Officers who think that people look “out of place” have been known to shoot down innocent citizens or become aggressive at the mere sight of someone who “looks different.” Add in racial profiling and everyone on the street can start to look like a monster.
That’s in part why a women like Sandra Bland gets dragged off and winds up dead. Officers sick of being threatened or disrespected have every right and authority to take control of a situation. But this strategy is stressed to its limit when deadly firearms are potentially involved.
There’s no telling when that might happen. There are plenty of guns to go around in America. There’s no shortage and no one in the Democratic Party has succeeded or even proposed much about taking guns away from everyday citizens. Oh sure, the NRA loves to trump up its base with those claims, but really, we’ve had eight years of the Obama administration and during that time gun rights have actually expanded with more Concealed Carry states joining the ranks of the gun happy populace.
I’ll accept that the law of the land has become quite liberal about owning guns. It has also become quite liberal about their use in mass shootings. In every instance in which multiple people have been killed in the last 10 years, it is the ability to liberally spray bullets without aim or conscience that puts the advantage on the side of the mentally disturbed and insane.
I have argued that it is this liberality that even turns people crazy with power. Certainly it does not happen with all gun owners. Not by a long, long stretch. By far most gun owners are law-abiding and perhaps just want to protect themselves. Only a few develop that messianic look in their eyes like George Zimmerman, and want to take the law into their own hands.
And there are militias too, those people that fancy their only chance at freedom in America is to take up weapons and stand up to the supposed tyranny of the government. That is a case of people running out of wits before they run out of imagination. They close this gap with as many weapons as they can gather, refusing to recognize the clear Second Amendment call for a “well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state.”
It works both ways, you see. No one really wants to take away anyone’s guns. I know I don’t. What we do want is a conservative return to recognition of what guns really mean, and why they exist. They were invented for killing. There’s no escaping that fact. Even law-abiding hunters must admit they are killing other living things.
Target and sport shooters stand apart somewhat from the killing fray. And yet, their sports would not exist were it not for the refined need to kill. At some level that is the Mother of All Gun Invention. The fact that you can shoot well is only an expression of the fact that if pressed, you could kill better than most.
Heroes and villains
Hence the popularity of the propagandistic movie American Sniper. With no apologies, huge numbers of Americans watched a film that celebrated a man that killed nearly a couple hundred people in war. They are strategic targets, but were killings nonetheless. That’s the nature of war.
Our problem is separating those instincts from society when people become snipers for their own anger, frustrations and delusions. Those are the people whose liberal use of weapons we must really watch. And whatever steps must be taken to keep guns out of the hands of those murderous snipers…must be done.
What to do
Enough with the excuses. Guns should be highly regulated and traceable not only to the current owner, but all previous owners. There should be liability when these processes are compromised or result in criminal actions. Guns should be digitally traceable at all times. With GPS technology and the ability to trace guns within feet of their position, all guns should be chipped with irrevocable and renewable chips. These weapons should be required to be brought in for regular inspections, and all failure to do so should be a criminal offense. You forget, you lose your right to own that gun.
Want to argue that all such chips could be disabled? Make that a federal crime with a year in prison as punishment. Again, no excuses.
Driving home the point
It’s just like cars. You can’t sell a car without a title, and guns need to be kept on record at all times. If you’re afraid the government is going to come and confiscate your deadly weapon, then you’re the one with something to hide. The only way to keep insane people from owning or abusing guns is to impose hard penalties for all such abuses, and to track guns aggressively so that ownership is a privilege and a conservative statement that the right type of government matters.
If we’re going to abide by the Second Amendment, let’s respect its source and its purpose. We pay for the right to drive our cars on tollways, and the government knows where we drive and when. The same style of regulation must be applied to guns, without exception.
Again, I’m not proposing taking anyone’s guns away. Instead, let’s encourage a conservative approach to gun ownership, one that demands responsibility rather than allows murderous intent to ruin the game for all.