Tuesday, April 17, 2007

32 Dead and Counting


Isn’t it obvious? Isn’t it pathetic?

Though we know little of the shooter or his motivations, we know from profiles of other spree (that is, multiple homicides with unknown motivation) shooters that the perpetrator was probably mentally unsound. We also know that like Charles Whitman in Austin, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in Columbine, and John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo in DC, he had access to guns.

Now let’s put this together. What happens when someone without practical reasoning capability has access to guns? Well, he might only use them for self-preservation, hunting, or simply to hang around the house in some kind of shrine to the second amendment. But he also might use them in an impractical way, like say, shoot up a post-office, a McDonald’s, a café, or a school.

Somebody has to explain to me how someone’s right to recreationally or defensively own arms is worth the risk of a Virginia Tech type shooting. Somebody has to show me that it balances out--that the joy and power derived from owning a gun can equal or outweigh the economic, personal, national, and international implications of shooting sprees. . Because it’s completely obvious to me that it doesn’t.

What about self-defense? Please. If only select authorities had guns, there’d be less need for self-defense. And (here’s the kicker) there’d be no defensive killings. No random shots fired at the club. Biggie and Tupac would still be around.

What about hunting? I think hunting is an acceptable (and fun) example of guns’ positive use, so long as it’s practiced within the proper regulations, but there are already countless game laws: there are restrictions of what types of weapons are fair, what days of the year particular animals can be sought after, how many kills per person, and more. How much of a stretch would it be to completely outlaw hunting except on specially designated ares? That way, you could rent guns at the hunting club—or even have a gun of your own but keep it at the club—and have a real nice outing. Even a camping trip.

That way, people won’t take the guns home and use them to kill people! Come on, what the hell else are guns for?

Liberty!? “If you take away the right to own arms you trespass on personal liberty," someone might say. "What’s next? No right to kitchen knives?”

I laugh smugly and say, Yeah, buster, and then I’m taking your wife. Get real. Search the books. You tell me if anyone has commit mass murder with a serrated edge. Even if some psychotic ex-marine disenfranchised maniac tried such a massacre, it would be (a) harder to commit on such large scale because a knife’s range is a lot smaller than a gun’s; (b) easier to defend against because knife-wavers are much more easily disarmed than a sniper; and (c) inherently prohibitive because it takes a whole lot more effort kill 32 people with a knife, up close, than with a gun.

So go ahead, claim civil liberty. Call me a Communist. But if you show me a country with strict gun laws, I’ll show you a country free of the primitive and ridiculous fears that keep this country from ever placing among the great civilizations of history.