A couple of my Facebook friends shared a recent blog post by Matt Walsh about dog attacks, and the rest of this post probably won’t make sense unless you read that first, or at least skim it over. Or maybe it will–I guess that’s kind of the point. His thesis is that certain kinds of dogs have incredible lethality potential, and owning them seems foolish and reprehensible. Especially so if you have young kids.
The analogy was already forming as I read it, but one commenter who posited “a dog that can’t kill or maim somebody doesn’t hold a lot of value as a guard dog or a watch dog” cemented it for me. I realized that the arguments he’s making could be (and have been) used about something else over the years.
Please note that the following does not actually represent my particular views. This only serves to show the minimal substitution required to re-cast the same argument’s spotlight on a subject he’s probably less critical of. And so….
My wife and I have a certain policy when it comes to domestic products. It’s a bit of a bewildering and unexpected rule, but here it is: we will never have a tool that, when used as intended and designed, could potentially seriously injure or kill my kids, us, or even the neighbors.
I don’t what it is about us, but we’ve just got this bias against objects that could accidentally discharge in a momentary mental lapse and send one of us to the ICU.
If we’re thinking home security, our calculations will probably go something like this: The home security system, even with a fifteen-minute response time and annoying false alarms, won’t ever be directly responsible for killing myself or any of my children, while a gun might. Therefore, we will choose the home security system, or go with no additional security at all.
This is the sort of radical philosophy common among those of us in the “people are more important than guns” school of thought.
And it would seem that our school is quickly losing members.
Indeed, here we are in these days of self-destruction. We open fire on texters in the movie theater. We gun down black teenagers when it becomes apparent that confronting them about their right to walk down the street is biting off more than one can chew. We lament the phantom crisis of not enough good guys with guns to stop the bad guys with guns. It is, tragically, not hyperbole to say that we actively wage war with weapons of war and with war-like casualties without actually being at civil war with each other.
Exhibit A: this story.
Thousands of people around the nation are buying up AR-15s as fast as they can get their hands on them, even after one was used to fatally shoot twenty children and six adults. While few people have given a second thought about what might happen if their guns end up in the hands of murderers, as Adam Lanza had done in acquiring his weapons, over a quarter million people have bought an AR-15 each year since the aftermath.
In fairness to the gun, as many enthusiasts have pointed out, the AR-15 is not an automatic rifle, or assault rifle, as some have claimed.
Also, they just make us look so bad-ass to have around. Look:
According to some deranged souls, that photo is enough to blindly accept this one:
An entire kindergarten class was essentially wiped out. Children who may not even have the depth of knowledge or words or experience to even comprehend the meaning of death stared down the barrel of death before it perforated their chests and skulls.
In an utterly psychotic twist, gun enthusiasts rapidly pitched declassifying schools as “gun free zones” and promoting legislation requiring teachers to carry guns as workable solutions.
As if it isn’t bad enough that we live in a society that’s forced me to write the phrase “requiring teachers to carry guns,” it gets worse: the bloody massacre at Sandy Hook that also wounded three other people, and which had also been set off by the killing of Lanza’s grandmother, was not the first time the AR-15 was used in a massacre. In that calendar year. Apparently the AR-15 model of gun was used in a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater earlier that year.
If you want to keep track, that’s twenty-one dead children, eighteen dead adults, seventy-three wounded, and millions of maniacs who want to keep the AR-15 in circulation.
You also have 2nd Amendment promoters, like Russell Bellagrego, saying things like this:
“I carry, my friends carry, millions carry legally. Licensed and permitted firearms carriers are not criminals nor do they perpetrate crimes. We all, just do not wish to be victims and at least want a fighting chance to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and our property. NEVER EVER WILL WE ABROGATE OUR RIGHTS TO BEAR ARMS”
And this one, from Lou Reno responding to a U.S. Representative on Facebook:
“If staff were armed this wouldn’t happen. Quit grandstanding your agenda. How pathetic!”
Make no mistake, you don’t insinuate that a five-year-old deserves to be shot in the face because you “love the second amendment.” You say these things because you have a depraved indifference towards human life.
It’s one thing to love guns and people, and to put that love in its proper order and context. It’s another to love guns over people. The former is virtuous and admirable; the latter is evil and cowardly.
For my part, I have nothing personal against the AR-15. That said, if any of those were my children, I wouldn’t rest until a no one but a soldier has access to a weapon that can “clean” a room full of two dozen people in under a minute. This type of weapon needs to go, and it is unfathomable that we even need to have this conversation.
I have no anger for the gun itself. It’s a gun. It’s performing to spec – it has no malicious intentions. Guns are not capable of malice, but many are still capable of squeezing off fifty or sixty rounds a minute, which is why we shouldn’t be keeping them for sport.
Nobody is suggesting that the weapon be banned out of vengeance or retaliation. We are saying that a weapon is a menace and a danger if it can and will be used to kill three or four dozen humans in under sixty seconds without having to reload.
Sure, the gun is a powerful, semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle. It’s just doing what powerful, semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles are built to do.
I understand. I even sympathize.
But my sympathy won’t help the next kid when he’s getting his chest pulped by one of these beasts.
What will help is our collective understanding of this one truth:
AR-15s are dangerous.
Sorry, gun owners. No amount of impassioned advocacy can erase the fact that AR-15s are borderline military grade hardware capable of inflicting fatal damage on innocent people. I don’t think we should pass laws banning gun ownership. That said, I also don’t quite understand why we aren’t allowed to grow hemp on our farms, but we can turn our farms into shooting ranges on a whim.
Gun apologists will throw out irrelevant statistics about how cars kill more people. What they studiously avoid discussing are the figures on automotive homicides. Sure, your drunkard uncle might have gone to the slammer on an involuntary manslaughter DWI, but a couple has never been murdered with their own car in their own home. The Ford Pinto might have been a risky car – they certainly aren’t my favorite make and model – but you rarely hear about anyone actually being blown up by one in a fender bender.
Semi-automatic weapons get the bad reputation BECAUSE THEY KILL PEOPLE. I don’t know, call me a stickler but I think that’s a pretty good reason to develop a certain wariness around them.
According to this resource, semi-automatic weapons accounted for 90 percent of all ten mass shootings in 2012. If you check out the weapons used in mass shootings from Columbine to Sandy Hook, the list of guns will look like this:
semi-auto rifle; semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic pistol; Two semiautomatic pistols , semi-auto rifle, shotgun; semiautomatic pistol; weapons undetermined; unidentified semiautomatic pistol; unidentified handgun, knife; semiautomatic pistol , semiautomatic pistol , semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic rifle; semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic pistol; Two semiautomatic pistols; semiautomatic pistol; revolver pistol; semiautomatic pistol , semiautomatic pistol; unidentified revolver pistol, semi-automatic pistol , shotgun; semi automatic pistol, semiautomatic pistol ; revolver pistol , semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic rifle; semiautomatic pistol, semiautomatic pistol; shotgun , revolver pistol; semiautomatic pistol, pump-action shotgun , bolt-action rifle; shotgun , semiautomatic pistol; shotgun , semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic pistol; shotgun , semiautomatic rifle; semiautomatic rifle, shotgun , semiautomatic pistol; semiautomatic pistol , semiautomatic pistol; Hammer , semiautomatic pistol, semiautomatic pistol, Revolver pistol, semiautomatic pistol; pump-action shotgun, Hi-Point 995 Carbine, Pipe Bomb, semi-automatic handgun, sawed-off shotgun.
Out of all the hundreds of different pieces of sports equipment you could use for sport, or use as home security around your kids, your nieces and nephews, around your neighbors’ kids, why go with the one type that is used for virtually every rampage killing of any type throughout the history of the Americas?
I’ve heard it said that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Trust me, I agree.
But not every semi-automatic rifle fatality is the result of a homicidal or even suicidal owner. However, they are all the result of reckless owners. Owning a semi-automatic rifle is reckless on a basic and fundamental level. Owning a semi-automatic weapon when you have small children is simply beyond the bounds of reason and sanity.
I might not be Dr. Spock, but I do know a thing or two about kids. In particular, I know that you can never really know what they’re going to do. We can teach them, train them, drill them on proper handling and gun technique, but they still think they know it all and parents know nothing and that they’ve heard it a million times. Loaded guns still fire. They have no capacity for rational thought. Our ability to use them with safeties is limited. Our ability to use gunlocks and locked cases is stymied by our desire to have ready access to them during some sort of home invasion.
So when you decide to bring one of these amendment-guaranteed beauties home, you ought to keep this all in mind.
And maybe think about going with a type that can’t be used to mow down a room full of neighborhood children.
P.S. Before I get drilled for being a liberal commie out to get all yer guns, keep in mind that after the Sandy Hook shooting, when gun ban advocacy was reaching a fever pitch, I ran the analogy the other direction in linking to this masterfully done short story by George Saunders called “The Red Bow.”
P.P.S. My source list (I may have forgotten a couple):