I wrote the following rant a couple days after the 12/14 shooting. I needed to vent, to give a voice to my thoughts. Rereading it a year later i find nothing has changed and it has helped me to think and wrap my head around why I feel the way I do. Thought that if my thoughts could help me maybe it could help someone else.
I've been lurking on Dkos for many years now, never felt moved to post on anything till now.
I've only edited out my name and a relatives name from my schpiel. Everything else is as I wrote it one year ago.
Thoughts on the last few days pertaining to gun violence and gun control.
Presented in no particular order or format
I didn’t get to sleep till around 4 last night because I was thinking about this stuff all night. I need to put pen to paper and get my thoughts out. I’m doing this for me, read it if you like, comment if you like.
Also, there’s some naughty language. (my young cousin's name), please don’t read this.
A gun is, boiled down, a way to kill. Some are better at killing than others. Some are specialized for hunting or target shooting. Some are designed for war and some have found a niche as home defense weapons. Civilians do not need the kind made for war.
The ability to kill with so little effort requires immense amounts of responsibility. The ability to kill quickly, easily, and at distance should not be so easily given. It should be earned. If people feel strongly enough about owning guns they should have no problem taking courses, trainings and getting licensed. And the more deadly the weapon the higher the bar should be. I’m led to understand that becoming an air marshal is one of the toughest jobs to get. Making incredibly sure that the person you are entrusting with a gun a mile up is a solid dude. What if we applied that thinking to everyday life? Why should people not have to prove that they can be trusted with this great and terrible ability to end life.
Possessing a gun, especially having one on your person would seem to make a conflict escalate more readily. They are emboldening. Are you more likely to argue and keep escalating an argument with someone when you know you’ve got an “ace up your sleeve?” Probably. Seems like false bravery to me. If you can’t make your point without knowing you can resort to deadly violence at any time you don’t have a strong enough point.
The strongest argument I’ve had made to me is that guns equalize things. They allow weaker or older people to operate with the same level of deadliness as a young fit person. My worry is that bar is too low and that while the people who may well and truly need these guns get them so to do the people who don’t and shouldn’t have access to them.
I would also hazard a guess that the weak, old, and truly endangered are not the ones buying up, massive quantities of guns in America.
The argument I keep hearing (often childishly pithy and smug) is that murderers are going to keep murdering, getting rid of guns isn’t going to stop that. One issue I have with that is the supposition that I or anyone else wants to get rid of guns. I have never heard of anyone advocating that we get rid of guns. It’s a strawman argument to suggest otherwise. Guns are here, they are around and they have uses. But the access to these guns needs to be regulated (BTW, it already is regulated, it’s the reason Bill gates cant buy a Patriot missile, where we draw the line of what is acceptable, that’s the key). Secondly the gun is what often allows so much killing to be done quickly. Yeah, a guy could kill a person with a knife or an axe or a non assault weapon, but chances are that that hypothetical guy would not be able to cause the same amount of death so quickly. Magazine sizes are a big part of this. Jared Laughner was stopped when he had to reload.
Another argument I hear (again often smugly simplistic) is that gun control laws only hurt law abiding gun owners because criminals aren’t going to follow the law. This is closely linked to the argument above.
Firstly, I reject the idea that a criminal is a black and white concept. The world is not Batman’s rouges gallery. I stole a mini lava lamp from a pharmacy when I was 6. I break the speed limit almost every time I drive, I drank underage. If that files me under this blanket term of criminal then I imagine everyone I have ever associated with is a criminal. The world is not black and white, Good and bad.
Establishing the right laws would make such items much harder to find and acquire, and the consequences for getting such things would dissuade some. Making these things harder to find and stopping their manufacture wouldn’t prevent murders. But it would mitigate them. There would be more openings for those around to stop the massacre. That is something worth working for.
What is the need for so many bullets? Are the deer starting to shoot back?
Pole vaulter analogy. I came up with a little analogy on that Friday. It ties in with the “Guns don’t kill people” argument. An Olympic pole vaulter sets a record. The world celebrates this because the vaulter has put a lot of effort and planning and work into his career. But that vaulter could never have set the record without the pole or with a shorter pole. Now the pole will do nothing on its own. It’s an inert piece of fiberglass. But we acknowledge that the vaulter could not have accomplished his feat without the help of that pole. Now switch gears. Someone shoots two dozen people, we condemn and attack the person, killed those people. But he would not have been able to kill so many people as easily if it weren’t for his assault rifle. The rifle will do nothing on its own. It’s an inert piece of metal and plastic. But the shooter would not have been able to kill so many people so easily without that weapon.
I think it was the Aurora shooting when I first had a “hey…yeah” moment with regards to the second amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It’s that first part, the underlined part, that briefly broke my brain. The second part seems pretty important to. If the goal is a secured state I’d say civilian assault weapons are a bit superfluous. The US Army has me pretty goddamned secure, comfortable and confident that we are not under threat of invasion.
Some magazine or group said something to the extent of “Newtown is the cost of our freedoms”. That’s pretty stupid considering the only cost most of us have to pay is that we feel sad for a bit. I am not willing to pay that cost. I am not willing to die so someone can have an unnecessary gun. I am not willing to have any children I may have someday die so someone can have a gun they do not need. The Families in Newtown paid the most, has anyone asked them if they feel it was worth it?
How many of the people who go on shooting sprees could have been classified as responsible gun owners right up until they pulled the trigger?
Assault weapons: I’m coming at this from a layman’s perspective. I feel an assault weapon is a gun, semi or full auto, that holds more than 10 rounds (even that seems a bit much, but hey, nice round number), has ergonomic features like grips, collapsible stocks, gear mounting points, to make it easier to handle in a “tactical situation”. I think there’s something to be said about internal magazines versus clips. But I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet. But generally when I say assault weapon in my rant, that’s what I mean.
Nothing exists in a vacuum, gun control alone is not going to solve jack shit. Gun control is at best a hemostat to stop the bleeding. Effective health (mental and otherwise)care and a decent education are the scalpel and IV that will help treat the disease of unnecessary violence (too much analogy?). Finding, discussing and solving the root causes of violence isn’t simple or easy. But when has anything big worth doing been easy? I sure as shit don’t have the answers. A reasonable conversation with people acting in good faith is what’s needed before any action will be successful.
Deterrent of home invasion- I hear often stated that the reason for keeping a gun in the home is to deter robbery. That if it is known that a gun is in a said house said house is less likely to be robbed. Im pretty sure the standard MO for robbery is to first make sure no one is home. That being said someone who is dead set on going into a home, occupied or not, going to be dissuaded only if the person is packing military hardware? If all they’ve got is a revolver is the guy going to go for it. How would he even know?
The Australia model- Apparently in Australia you have to get a license and registration for firearms, and to get those you must have a definite purpose for needing the gun. Imagine that.
“If only more people had been armed…” I call Bullshit. We heard this after Aurora too. Again im a layman but I imagine that the chaos and confusion in any firefight, darkened theater or otherwise, is going to make identifying and recognizing and then engaging an attacker nigh impossible even for someone with training and experience. Throw a bunch of un experienced people in there and who knows how things would turn out. My guess is it would result in a lot more blood.
An awful lot of religious talk going on around this thing, more so that usual. Praying wont do anything for the problem.
All of the stuff, none of the responsibility- Generalized statement ahead, Americans seems to want no one to tell them no. No one can tell them they can’t have something, and no one can tell them they’ll have to deal with the consequences. So I see people with tons of deadly power and too few getting trained and learning responsibility for their tools.
Red Dawn isn’t real.
I’m not a classroom teacher, but im pretty close, spent the last year in classrooms doing my own brand of education. Teachers get shit pay, no respect and are expected to act as councilors, disciplinarians, educators, babysitters, life coaches, and a myriad of other things to a couple dozen kids at a time. Teachers have a full enough plate, they don’t need to now have to be spending some of their precious time on firearms training and weapon storage worries. Also see the section on chaos and my opinions on having more guns at the scene.
“But but but Israel and Sweden” those two countries have been getting a lot of digital ink that last few days. Both Countries have mandatory military service (and all the training and learned responsibility that goes with it) and one is a war zone. Their level of Gun owner ship makes sense. America is the worlds only superpower, we spend more money on war than the next 12 (I think?) highest spending countries combined. We have the strongest army the planet has ever seen. And im not sure, but I think we haven’t had a foreign invasion since the Mexican American war. Our obsession does not make sense.
Resisting tyranny- As foolish as I think this is it is on my mind and im going to address it. The government has drones, submarines, battleships, nukes (knives, sharp sticks…) and tanks. Do you think that if the big bad government comes and tries to harm you it’ll make a difference if you’re packing a semi auto AR-15 with “tactical” improvements and 30 round clips versus a bolt action deer Rifle??? You’re fucked either way bro. That doesn’t mean give up, disarm and exist in a nihilistic funk for your whole life. It means that you’ve got to be able to fight for causes and rights without an assault weapon. And along the way feed yourself with some sweat delicious venison.
The term “evil” is a cop out, a way to wash our hands of our societal responsibility. The person does the act, but society helps to shape who that person is.
Background checks make so much sense, that we have such an open and protected loophole around that makes no sense. I would like to see mental health screenings, background checks (with special attention paid to domestic abusers) and licensing.
Concealed carry I’ve had it explained to me that the idea behind concealed carry is that someone is less likely to start shit if they don’t know if someone could be carrying a gun. So a person still wants to do something nuts but he’s only dissuaded by fear? That doesn’t seem to fix anything. And for that matter what if im now afraid that some guy is going to draw on my because I’m scary looking in the dark, or my music is too loud…
I’m not really against buildings and businesses setting their own carry limits, provided its well advertised and posted. If it’s an army navy store I wouldn’t care much. If it’s a bar im staying the hell away from that bar, and would advise everyone I care about to do the same. Seriously, guns in bars is not a good idea.
I’ll admit that handguns have an appeal to me. They seem sexy and cool and dangerous. I grew up on a diet of action films and Goldeneye. It would be naïve to think they had no effect on me. That being said I realize that I have no need for a semi automatic handgun. Any niche that such a pistol fills in the home or self defense criteria could just as easily be filled with a smaller capacity revolver. I get the draw though. I can kind of get the appeal and desire for these things.
Well I thinks that’s all I got for now. Think I got out all of the ideas, thoughts, brain farts, and various sundry neuron flashes. And hey I didn’t even drink (I may just be growing up a bit.)
Fuck you, I don’t cater to the impatient or the illiterate.