A Tale Of Two Guns

Two unassuming firearms start out their lives together, one right after the other on the assembly line. They are nearly identical, but they are very, very different. The first one, serial number Nug667, is a good gun, destined for a life of service and protection. The other one, serial number Nug666, is a bad gun. It is pure evil and desires only to cause pain to innocent lives. Their lives take very different paths until the night they come back together again.

It is a day like most others at the factory. Firearms coming together from the various pieces and parts until they take their final functional form. At the end of the line, they are test fired and boxed, awaiting shipment to a distributor, then retailer and their new owners. Nug667 performed admirably in all the tests, as did Nug666. But even the highly experienced assembly and test workers couldn’t figure out what was off about it, so it was readied for shipping.

Once at the gun shop, Nug667 is pulled aside for a new hire at the local police department. They chose it because the serial number would match the new recruit’s badge number, 667. It would be a good omen. The recruit takes his new service weapon and attends the police academy. He is taught marksmanship, use of force and maintenance with it. He excels in all the shooting courses and takes impeccable care of his new firearm. Upon graduation, officer 667 and Nug667 hit the streets together.

Like most officers’ firearms, they are rarely fired in the course of their work. This was the case of Nug667. While it was drawn on a number of felony stops and arrests, the offenders chose to surrender instead of shooting it out with the police. Still Nug667 saw plenty of use during required police training and officer 667’s own practice. As it was in the academy, it was well cared for, dutifully cleaned and parts replaced when needed.

Nug666 was different. Customers at the gun shop could tell something wasn’t right with it and all passed it over. It sat for months and months, far longer than any like it. When it was finally bought, the purchaser ‘looked’ normal, but had other intentions. All of the forms were filled out and the questions answered correctly. Identification presented was genuine and the background check on the purchaser came back clear. By outward appearance and demeanor, the purchaser did everything right. Nug666 was packaged up and delivered, nobody realizing it had committed its first crime. For this was a straw purchase, someone with a clean record buying a firearm for someone else. In this case, the “someone else” was a convicted felon who would not be able to legally buy or possess a firearm. Later that evening Nug666 was handed over to the felon in exchange for a quantity of drugs, the felon’s preferred method of commerce. With the exchange, Nug666 commits more crimes and becomes involved in the community’s drug trade.

Over the next several years, Nug666 accompanies its felon owner on many drug purchases and deliveries. It is carried into numerous burglaries and used to rob several stores, being aimed at defenseless clerks. Beyond the initial few rounds the felon took to the woods and fired into the trees, Nug666 wasn’t fired at all. Still, it amassed a huge list of crimes where it was used for intimidation. It looked much older since it was never cleaned and often times stored loose under car seats, in trucks and even for a while in a ditch when the felon thought he was going to be stopped.

Then late one night, a store in this city was robbed at gunpoint. The frightened clerk doesn’t move fast enough and is shot. Nug666 now adds murder to its long list of crimes. The felon jumps in his car and takes off. A short distance away Officer 667 pulls the car over and orders the felon out of the car, Nug667 pointing at the driver. The felon jumps out of the car and pulls Nug666 out of his waistband as he charges towards the officer. A single shot rings out.

Of course all of the above is nothing but a fable. Not because of the actions; these play out every day in cities and towns across our country. It is fiction because there is no such thing as a good or evil gun. Every firearm ever made is nothing more than a mechanical object. It has no soul, no will and no intent of its own. It is simply a tool to be used by a human. It can be used by an officer or law-abiding citizen to protect and preserve life, or it can be used by a criminal to take an innocent one.

Many in our society blame the gun, the inanimate object, for the crime, violence and death. They say if it weren’t for availability of guns, these things would go away. What they forget is evil intent will always find a way as it always has. In areas where guns are not allowed, criminals can always get and use them. And when they can’t, they use knives, hammers, bats, vehicles, bombs or their own fists and feet to commit those crimes, violence and death.

Guns are not the problem; criminals are the problem. Until we stop blaming an object and hold criminals fully accountable for their actions; crime, violence and death will never go away.

Bob

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