davidbeem

Guns

In Polemics, Politics on April 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm

gunsThere are many dark myths hiding within the 2nd Amendment that desperately need airing out. For starters, a high-capacity clip and semi-automatic weapon are inadequate to win a war against the American military. You’ll need roughly two Russian Armies and a European Union to do that.

The average single mom needing a Bushmaster for self-defense lacks the training of Seal Team Six. Her lust for that kind of weapon is irrational and violates one of the NRA’s better ideas: Don’t leave firepower where the mentally ill might exercise an itchy trigger finger.

Also, cars are not guns. “Back in my day, we didn’t blame guns for tragedies any more than we did cars for car accidents.” There was no golden time in our nation’s history when cars drove murderously through our classrooms. There was no golden time when people knew, innately, that “taking away” our cars wouldn’t stop the mass murders.

Another myth: Gun laws don’t stop crime. Some argue that laws only punish law-abiding citizens because criminals don’t obey the law. What a defeatist argument. If you believe that, then you believe laws serve no useful purpose. Am I being hyperbolic? Look at the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from requiring gun dealers to take inventory of their sales, and left at least more than 62,000 guns unaccounted for since 2008.  It was written by the NRA because gun dealers keeping a sales inventory “serves no useful purpose.”

Roll up your sleeves and look at the facts:

Since 1968, more Americans have died at home from gun violence than all combined U.S. wars.

In the United States, there’ve been 387 school shootings since 1992. In the United States, children between the ages of 5 and 14 are thirteen times more likely to be murdered with guns than children of other industrialized countries.

Of the 20 killed at Sandy Hook, sixteen of them were 6 year olds.

In the hundred days since Newtown, 2000 more have been killed from gun related crime.

It’s impossible to escape the conclusion that gun advocates have become more protected under the law than everyone else, but this isn’t about the 2nd Amendment. This is about the untenable situation of splitting hairs over the amount of force the 2nd Amendment guarantees. Over a million American citizens have died over these split hairs. Not soldiers—citizens. Not hypothetical people who might need assault weapons in case of a looter’s shoot-out after a hurricane. No, these are real people dying every day, faster than we can count, and yet we split hairs still. We split hairs under the constant threat of gun violence. Violence that couldn’t happen without the help of the so-called responsible folks and their talking points. Talking points like, “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Good guys and bad guys. I can still tell one from the other. Can you? Take this Tennessee man who said he’d start killing people if gun control efforts went one inch further. Men like this “good guy with a gun” endanger all of us. When someone like him starts shooting, you’re at the mercy of the shooter’s judgment. Voices like his are emboldened by the echo chamber found in the NRA. When the mentally imbalanced find this kind of indirect and terrifying persuasive power, all our rights begin to unravel. The 2nd Amendment demands greater collective responsibility.

Collective responsibility, like the notion of flooding our schools with guns. Consider: 40-45% of American households already own firearms. In the period 2008-09, there were over a thousand accidental firearm deaths, and 145,000 nonfatal firearm injuries. In a city of 100,000, ten of your neighbors will die from firearms. Even the professionals make embarrassing errors. This cop shot himself in the foot during an in-school gun safety demonstration.

My child has a sweet heart. So does yours. Are you still on the fence with guns in schools?

Try this: Putting guns in schools invites escalation. It introduces dangerous complications in teacher-student interactions. It makes no fiscal sense and it’s offensively unprincipled: How can we justify a weapons and training program for teachers but not fund our children’s educations? This is not a responsible solution.

Many who consider themselves responsible gun owners are not. And I’m not just referring to the lowest common denominator. I’m talking about the “responsible” notion of promoting vigilantism by arming citizens to deal with gun violence. The notion that the police just can’t cut it—but don’t forget: We’re the brainiacs who defunded law enforcement.

A fact that every gun owner should know: Guns in your home cannot protect anyone without also endangering everyone. Non gun owners have rights too. Those high-capacity clips and semi-automatic weapons we’re arguing about pose constant danger every day of the year on the chance that it’s needed once in self-defense. That’s a rotten deal for the common good by any standard.

Arm the police. Fund them. Write laws that don’t neuter. Give the ATF the tools they need. Make it illegal not to keep a detailed registry of gun sales. Close the loopholes at gun shows. Limit high-capacity clips and semi-automatic weapons. Preserve life and our 2nd Amendment rights.

Wake up and open your eyes, patriots. We are, in fact, a terrorized nation. Not because radical Islamists conquered us, but because the NRA did.

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