March for Our Lives: For the US kids
I wrote this in anger and grief after the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012. To honor the kids and adults marching today, March 24, 2018, I’m re-posting this on Medium. May it contribute in some tiny way to stopping the ongoing horror of gun slaughter.
Banning the ownership of handguns and assault rifles outright, coupled with a buyback and destruction of these weapons as per Australia’s model.
As Mother Jones points out in A Guide to Mass Shootings in America, the weapons used to slay other humans are overwhelmingly weapons which have NO OTHER PURPOSE than to kill human beings.
What are they good for?
- Semi-automatic handguns’ purpose: killing people.
- Assault weapons’ purpose: killing people.
- Revolvers’ purpose: killing people.
They are not designed as paperweights, they don’t grow food, they aren’t cuddly, they are crap as hammers. They are designed to kill people.
Pretending that they aren’t designed to kill people is moronic and making that argument will brand you as an idiot. You know it, your grandmother knows it, so don’t go there.
The arguments against banning these weapons are ridiculous in 2012 (and still ridiculous in 2018):
- The argument that the right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment might or might not be accurate but is definitely morally bankrupt in light of the enormous number of successful nonviolent revolutions worldwide since Mahatma Gandhi showed the way. Real change doesn’t come at the barrel of a gun, as the USA should finally know after its recent misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan and as an excellent Quora answer points out in detail.
- The argument that they are useful for self-protection is specious. As a great Quora answer points out at length, a baseball bat is much more useful the vast majority of the time: Is it a good idea for a homeowner to carry a taser against a potential burglar? As another great Quora answer points out, they pretty much suck for self-defence: Is it better to own a gun for self-defense or is that more likely to cause problems? And as Mark Hughes eloquently points out most people suck with guns in crisis situations. Finally, all guns really do is make the possessor 4.5 times more likely to be shot per this Penn study: Protection or Peril? Gun Possession of Questionable Value in an Assault.
- The argument that it wouldn’t reduce mass shootings and gun deaths is destroyed by the enormous success of similar initiatives elsewhere in the world such as Australia’s: Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Australia. And for the sake of the people who believe the NRA’s propaganda on this point (and there are many in the comments sections of answers in Quora), here is a complete debunking by an Australian with extensive references showing how American pro-gun lobbyists are abusing the Australian reality through cherry-picking, using irrelevant data and outright lying. Faking waves: how the NRA and pro-gun Americans abuse Australian crime stats
- The argument that people would find other ways to kill people is destroyed by the example from China that was identical in every respect — disturbed individual grabs weapons at hand, goes to school, attacks every child and teacher he can — except that in China the guy could only get a knife, and killed exactly zero people and wounded 23 all of whom are expected to recover. Chinese man attacks 22 children, 1 adult with knife outside primary school. Note that counter-examples about occasional successful mass stabbings in China and Japan are both extremely rare compared to mass US shootings and have many fewer victims.
There are even less credible arguments:
- Arguments that people like shooting holes in paper with these weapons are specious. The only appropriate response to that argument is: SO FUCKING WHAT?
- The argument — made seriously by a Quoran as part of this discussion — that amending the Second Amendment or interpreting it sanely in a modern context will require dissolution of the Constitution and will necessarily make the USA cease to exist is such unrealistic hyperbole that it is only worth noting, not responding to.
- The argument that they are necessary in the event that anyone invades the USA is so out-of-touch with reality that it can’t be taken seriously. America hasn’t had a foreign army on its mainland since 1812 (and some Japanese on a couple of the Aleutian Islands in 1943) and it’s got the most massively overfunded military in the world. No one is going to invade, and this argument can be lumped with fears of the USA’s dissolution should an amendment be amended.
- The argument that there are too many weapons to dispose of is morally bankrupt and a bizarre statement coming from the country which put man on the moon, invented the atomic bomb and nuclear power, invented the Internet, built the Interstates, went to war with itself to successfully end slavery and has outlasted all of its ideological enemies. “It’s too hard” is code for “I don’t want to do it, so I’m going to throw another argument in the kitchen sink.” Get over yourself, you’re Americans, you can do anything you set your collective will to do.
All that continued access to handguns and assault rifles for the general populace does with any regularity is allow children and strangers to be killed en masse by the disturbed.
This sacred cow should be taken out, shot, carved up and thrown on the grill.
Note: My background includes being an infantry enlisted man and officer in the Canadian reserves. I was a marksmen with pistol, rifle and submachine gun. I was qualified on machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers. I used to teach people to shoot in the military. I’ve fired over 10,000 rounds in a single day. I grew up in the military and in remote parts of Canada. I’ve eaten deer, moose, beaver, duck and bear that were shot in the wild. I am not a ‘typical’ gun control guy, but I suspect the stereotypes are almost completely false in any event.