Small Fish in a Barrel

Another slaughter of innocents. This time, the most innocent of innocents. Our babies, our grandchildren, our naive, shy, precocious, giggling, excited-about-Santa, little people.

My mind froze, it pushed back. I want no details. The media will get them and report them, as if details will explain the horror. Most of us can fairly imagine the details, we don’t need verification. Wide-eyed tykes who had made hand turkeys last month; those turkeys still up on the frig at home then, “bang, bang, bang”, the little hand now still. Gleeful thoughts of visiting Santa at the Mall this week, list in hand, “bang, bang, bang”, one less supplicant on Kris Kringle’s broad knee. These small victims running toward their teacher– their trusted and protective adult– “bang, bang, bang”, who will protect them now? Parents whose grief is so profound that madness is a better description. First responders who weep openly as they survey the carnage. I haven’t read the details but I’m certain that I have it about right.

The anti-gun control spokesmen are already in full-throated cry to protect the Second Amendment while gun control advocates are following on with the well-meaning but, to date, mostly ineffectual solutions. (As a sideshow, pious nitwits like Mike Huckabee use the slaughter to promote their pinched dogma. Had Huckabee been born in Tehran he would  be a revered theocratic ayatollah by now.)

With over 300,000,000 guns in America and thousands of new ones produced daily, the deadly genie has been out of the bottle for quite some time and there is no coaxing it back in. Simply put, the problem is that we fail to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of angry, deranged, brain-addled hands. Sometimes these killers, virtually all males, get their firearms before they go nuts. More often, however, they get them while they are nuts.

Law abiding and sane gun owners like me have a responsibility to rise up against this situation and demand that people who would abuse the right to bear arms and thus make gun ownership a source of suspicion, be scoured from our ranks, less they bring us all down. The one-on-one gang banger shootings, wife-shoots-husband murders and random assassinations will not draw the curtain on gun ownership. But, the build-up of public pressure caused by the senseless slaughter of movie-goers, church goers, high school students and elementary school children very well could. The biggest threat to legitimate gun ownership in America lies within the gun-owning community itself.

I have never belonged to the NRA, nor will I ever. Its history shows that it morphed from being a recreational gun safety movement into being a cunningly effective and powerful lobbying force in Washington. Its purpose is to keep the gun industry humming and the dollars flowing. Protection of the Second Amendment is merely the smokescreen behind which the industry gathers. Any hint that some Senator or Congressmen may introduce legislation that speaks to the unspeakable horror of Friday, December 14, 2012, and the NRA will marshall its sizable treasure chest and send out its slick attorneys to insure that no such legislation ever gets to a vote, much less made into law.

I don’t know how many more mass shootings it will take before the NRA juggernaut grinds to a halt, but that time is coming and then the pendulum of common sense will swing wildly the other way. Is that what we responsible gun owners want? Well, we sure are helping the court of public opinion head that direction by being silent and letting the NRA set the agenda. The NRA wants to arm the teachers and allow “open-carry” laws nationwide. Well, that would certainly make everyone more polite but it would also quash the free expression of opinion in public discourse. We would replace freedom of speech with threat of violence for voicing dissenting opinions.

Seems to me that there is a place for a sane gun lobby that represents gun owners, not the manufacturers. Such an organization would truly represent the sportsmen, hunters and recreational shooters who mostly know that military-style semi-automatic rifles and ammunition, high capacity magazines and bullet-proof outerwear have no sensible purpose outside of a combat zone, a national guard armory or a police precinct.

I have no patience for the defenders who claim that they need military-grade gear “to defend their families”. Defend them from what? Home invasion hoards that would require a 50 to 100 round magazine to mow down the dozens of invaders pouring through every window and door? In what alternative universe does this type of home invasion occur? These people need to do some cursory research on home invasions in the U.S. If one is truly serious about home protection from the unlikely event of a home invasion by three or four gang bangers (just enough to get away in the car idling at the curb) then a noisy dog and shotgun, preferably a pump shotgun where the chambering of a shell makes a recognizable and ominous metallic ka-chunk, would be far better defense.

The “protect my freedom from tyranny” defense is only logical to those who believe that eventually they will be protecting the rest of us from our own military, as the country descends into totalitarianism. Two responses to that argument: (1) if those with faux assault rifles, military grade ammunition and protective body armor believe that they could withstand the full force of the American military and save the Republic in such an outlandish scenario, they are delusional and will likely remain so and (2) the rest of us need protection from the delusional, armed with this firepower.

While the neo-cons  bray about the need to slash budgets and reign in outrageous spending, they are very quiet when the fact arises that they have largely been responsible for defunding programs that could effectively identify and treat the mentally ill. Making such programs financially robust and then making damn sure that few, if any, of these ill people can easily obtain deadly weapons is a legitimate function of government and a good use of our tax dollars. First, it would identify and treat the mentally ill and second, it would improve (not guarantee) the public’s safety. We “starve the beast” at our own peril in this instance.

 

Observoid of the Day: Everyone believes that they act rationally, even those whose minds are stricken. Adam Lanza likely thought his behavior perfectly sensible.

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One Response to Small Fish in a Barrel

  1. Bill Grant says:

    Bruce,
    I can’t believe we’re pretty much together on this one. There have been a surprising number of thoughtful people from all sides that recognize the mental health component as the causative factor, with guns just happening to be the implement. But with a group that never lets a good crisis go to waste, who knows what will happen. Ever looked at some of the killing “games”, Mortal Combat, etc?
    I’m sure part of what you feel about the NRA could be true, but without their lobbying efforts, I’m sure we would be like Great Britain, Australia, and a number of other countries – effectively disarmed.
    I think a lot of the release and non-incarceration of the now walking loose wackos has been because of aggressive lawyers. Our HOA has to tolerate one of these in our common meeting building and rec center. He frequents the building, wanders around and takes coffee, does not speak, except to mutter “fuck, fuck, fuck” to the wall and sometimes into space, and generally just creeps people out.
    After complainants, we tried to bar from the facility, but were presented with the threat of an ADA lawsuit from a local attorney. Supposedly, he’s just a harmless schizophrenic. It is a fact that most of them are, but what if finds a weapon? Of course, we’re safe because we ban guns and knives in our facility. I voted against.
    I don’t have a problem with so called assault style guns and magazines. The assault weapons of 1776 were single shot muskets and pistols, with a few cannons. I don’t see any point in being limited to 200 year old technology.
    BTW, I am an NRA member. Even if all they are are doing is helping the arms makers, so what. If they weren’t, I would be seeing my shit melted down for whatever. The NRA monthly feature, “The armed Citizen” is one of the few places you will read actual accounts of people actually defending their homes and work places.
    As for multishot semi-auto, look at what happens after Katrina and Sandy. Looting, except for Japan, but that’s another culture. The cops take 10 minutes on a sunny day, but weeks during natural disasters. If you read the pop fiction book, “One Second After”, describing the aftermath of a magnetic pulse nuclear attack, you’ll get a picture of what occurs during anarchy.
    Also, Israel has had armed guards in all there schools for years – ever since Hamas targeted a few. I would not be as restrictive as they are.
    Cheers
    Bill

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