This is a weird headline coming from me, I know — long-time readers of my screeds (Hi, Mom!) will know that one major sticking point I have with liberal acquaintances is my defense of the Bill of Rights; the whole thing, not just the ones I like. And above and beyond that, I enjoy shooting firearms. I like to put holes in paper targets. It makes loud noise, to which I have always been partial, and it’s a fun way to test your hand-eye coordination. But my enjoyment at passing the time knocking out a few rounds on the range simply doesn’t hold up to the downsides of the ready availability of firearms in this country. I should also add that I don’t believe the Second Amendment will ever be repealed, even though it should. And until that happens, I don’t think it’s incumbent on anyone to disarm. All of that said, let me address a few of the obvious points that are bound to come up:
1) “But … but, Dan!” you say. “If we take away guns, these psychos are still gonna do this stuff! Haven’t you heard about the incident in China that occurred the same week as the Connecticut shooting, in which some nutcase stabbed 23 people, including 22 children?”
Why, yes. I have heard about that incident. And it’s pretty damn awful, but you know what? No one died. Indeed, this was only the latest in a long string of berserk attacks in China, which is having its own problem with madmen going on rampages. There have been about a dozen such attacks in China since 2010, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 90 people wounded. Of course, that list of fatalities is less than just the one school shooting in Connecticut, and that’s the point. Taking guns out of the equation is not going to stop degenerate wackos from hurting people — but it is going to make such events less lethal.
2) “Oh, sure,” you say, “it might be less lethal when they’re using pitchforks and claw hammers, but if you take away these people’s guns, they’ll start using bombs! And then there’ll be massive casualties!”
Oh, of course, I reply sarcastically. Because you can go down to the local bomb store there on the corner and pick up a bundle of dynamite, just like you can get an AR-15 at your neighborhood gun shop now. Here’s a little bit of trivia you may not be aware of: Did you know that the Columbine shootings were actually a bombing? It’s true! Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold crafted two 20-pound propane bombs and left them in Columbine High School’s cafeteria. The plan was for the bombs to explode, and then the two would pick off anyone who ran out of the room. But that plan changed when the bombs failed to detonate. Harris and Klebold then walked through the school, murdering 12 students and injuring 21 with the equipment they had that could do the job — their guns. Toward the end of the shooting, they even tried to get the propane bombs to go off by shooting them. That didn’t work either. And then they killed themselves. Witness also the tale of the Weather Underground, a group of 1960s radicals whose only casualties from the bombs they crafted were themselves, when a bomb they were making went off prematurely and killed three of them. The point to these tales is that, because you cannot buy a bomb, you have to make your own. And bombmaking is actually a very technical skill. Not only that, but since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, it has become extremely difficult to legally purchase even the most simple of materials needed to craft a serious explosive. If we ban guns, we are not going to see a sudden spate of mad-bombers.
3) “Look, Dan,” you say, “this isn’t about guns. This is about mental health. Surely a flaming liberal such as yourself can recognize the fact that mental health care in this country has deteriorated to crisis levels.”
Oh, I agree, I say. We need to do more to identify people with mental health issues and get them the help they need. But doing all of that in no way precludes us from taking guns out of the equation. We can do both. And we should.
4) “But if you take away the guns of decent, God-fearing citizens,” you say, “then only criminals will have guns.”
First off, I say, check out Mother Jones‘ comprehensive guide to 62 spree shootings. In more than 75 percent of all cases, the shootings were carried out with legally purchased weapons. Second, unlike alcohol and drug prohibitions, firearm bans have been proven to work in country after country. Studies have shown that where there are more guns, there are more murders. Got that? More guns = more murders. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. And where guns have been banned, not only are murder rates lower, but there is not some massive black market in firearms, as just about anyone in any other first-world country will tell you.
5) “Look, it’s in the Constitution,” you bluster. “We have to have these guns as a final defense against government tyranny.”
Slow down there, Glenn Beck, I answer. If you think your AR-15 and a couple of Glocks are going to do anything to the United States military, you are a deluded idiot and this conversation isn’t even worth having. Gun ownership is not insurance against government tyranny. Voting is.
6) “Sweeney,” you add, “our Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amend-”
Screw you, I interrupt. Maybe you’re not familiar with the exact details of the Connecticut shooting. The Hartford Courant broke down the timeline of the shooting better than just about any other source I’ve seen, but let me include a couple salient details here, just so you’re aware. Adam Lanza literally shot his way into the school, blowing holes through a glass door. Then he went down a hallway to a first-grade classroom. He walked inside. There were 14 first graders in the room, along with substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau and a special ed teacher. Lanza killed the teachers. Given the position of the bodies, the police estimate that what happened next was, the 14 children ran to the far side of the room, all huddling together, terrified. Lanza raised his rifle and began to fire. And each of those 6- and 7-year-old children watched, horrified beyond words, as their little friends were cut down in front of them, each one knowing that they would be next. Those were the last moments of their lives for every child in that room.
So, screw you and your allegedly God-given right to own a gun. Your right to own a gun is not greater than those children’s right to turn 8 years old.