Really, is this what we’re coming to? Seven-year-olds with guns, ammo, and a flare gun. Wow. I didn’t think I’d see a day that I’d be afraid for my life in NYC. This has been my home for nearly twenty years, and not even that time I got mugged changed the fact that I always felt safe. Yes, that’s right: not even being mugged changed that I felt safe when I was out and about.
Now, I no longer feel safe. This was in Far Rockaway. One of the largest populations in FR is retirees and assisted-living residents. My grandmother lived in the Rockaways for eight years. That community, like any other, has its issues, but it’s fairly quiet. My mother might move there later on in her life. It’s quiet.
Apart from the obvious question of where the hell the parents were, one has to ask just what, exactly motivates someone who lives in a beachside community in Queens to own a handgun, a flare gun, ammo, and who knows what else. New York’s permit requirements are so stringent that even gun enthusiasts don’t bother getting a gun for themselves; they go to a range if they want to let off some heat. Yes, our gun restrictions are that severe, mostly because this is a city of 8 million people. The less killing instruments there are here, the more likely it is that all 8 million of us will live to see another day. Guns kill. And people who wield them wield them with the intention to kill. Let’s not go behind the whole, “Guns don’t kill people, people do” trope – one is never separate from another. Guns kill, and they kill much easier than anything else. You can dodge a car. You can fight off a knife. You can fight off a crowbar, a tire iron, even a sword. A 600mph bullet is not something you can escape.
And you know, maybe it’s because I’m European by origin, or maybe it’s because I am somewhat of a pacifist, but the one thing I don’t understand is why people say they need a gun. A gun is something designed exclusively to kill. Why in the ever-loving blue hell would anyone need a murder weapon? Think about it. This is especially true of assault rifles, which are designed for only one purpose: to kill as many human beings as possible in as short a time as possible.
Let’s get it straight: unless you’re a cop, a federal agent, a police officer, or shooting your dinner on a regular basis, you do not need a gun.
Unless you live in the wilderness, where animals pose a danger, where you have to hunt for and shoot your dinner, you do not need a gun. We’re in a civilized society where most food is available in a store. You can grow your own food. But unless you’re on a farm or shooting venison for dinner, you do not need a gun.
Unless you live in a war zone, where you’re subject to a real and present danger of invasion, you do not need a gun. Stranger danger is overrated, since a majority of crimes are committed by people the victim knows or is related to. Police exist for a reason, and just because you think they are not doing their job doesn’t mean they’re not. You are a civilian; you don’t need to know everything that the cops are doing because civilians have, repeatedly and more than once, screwed up police investigations.You do not need a gun. You don’t need to be a vigilante, because due to the screwed-up crim-justice laws, vigilantes get more flak for their actions than the criminals. You do not need to be a vigilante.
Having a gun in the house increases a risk of accidental shooting and suicide. If you have a gun and one of the people living with you is suffering from depression or any other psychological conditions, you are exponentially increasing the chances that they’d hurt themselves. Mentally ill individuals are much more likely to hurt themselves than others. A gun can go off accidentally if it’s picked up the wrong way or has a hair trigger. You do not need a hair trigger. You also do not need a gun. You certainly do not, under any circumstances, need to ever find yourself in the position that you’re going to blame yourself for someone ending up in the hospital or, worse, a morgue because they got their hands on your gun. You also, if you hold a permit for said gun, don’t ever need to know that your gun has been used to commit a criminal act. The shooter in Newtown, CT used his mother’s perfectly licensed and legal firearm to kill children. Think about that for a minute.
There is no good reason for anyone outside the Armed Forces to own an assault rifle. The sole purpose of an assault rifle is to kill human beings. This isn’t Rambo. This is reality. And a human being has a very basic right not to get riddled with bullets. There is absolutely no good reason for anyone outside the Armed Forces to have a semi-auto of any kind. These things are designed only to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. You’re not Al Capone with a Thompson. You do not need an assault rifle. You also do not need a gun.
Save me the predictable reasons as to why someone would claim they need a gun. Self-defense shootings are nearly always guaranteed to hit bystanders before they hit targets, and cops are not immune from this. Every time a cop will draw his or her weapon, they’re faced with the inevitable possibility of shooting a bystander. In the Empire State incident, where a man went inside and shot his ex-employer and a whole bunch of other people, the cops hit several civilians before they brought him down. That’s a reality of life. No gun owner apart from a sniper or someone in the Armed Forces is that good with a gun that they’d hit their target first time and every time, and even then they run a risk of hitting innocents.
Oh, and a fun fact from crim-j: 90% of crimes are committed by people the victim already knows. Stranger danger is 10%, maybe 15% of all crimes right now if you want to be generous and allow that acquaintances may not count, but it doesn’t change fact. You’re that much more likely to be robbed by the kid who mows your lawn – and who, by the by, may be well aware you have a gun and steal that out of the house too; how would it feel to have brought a gun into the population, hmmmm? – than you are by someone who’s just driving by your house in the night.
The Second Amendment clearly stipulates that gun rights are primarily for a well-organized militia. Where are the civilians? Exactly, they’re not. And again, the bulk of the screamers about the Second Amendment are people who aren’t actually subject to it, and they are – surprise surprise – comprised of white males who were used to getting their way without anyone questioning that hey, if you’re such a great guy, maybe you don’t need any of this shit. But they’re not secure in themselves and their hearth and home unless everyone who’s not like them or thinks like them is forced out.
Now, about the gun control issue as a whole: stop fucking screaming that everyone’s “taking away my gunz!” Again, not like you need one. But this new law will do a hell of a better job at screening people who want a gun. What that law needs to do is also provide a psych eval to people who already own guns. You’ve seen the news reports of guns flying off the shelves at Obama’s reelection. You’ve seen them now flying off the shelves when it was announced that gun control was on the table. I’d like those people to undergo a full psych eval, because they have no business owning guns, and they’re buying up enough ammo to equip our army overseas and at home. No one is taking away your guns. There will be more money towards ensuring that the wrong people won’t get guns. There will be more money to help people with mental illnesses, which is actually about a quarter of the population of the US, if you consider the DSM-IV guidelines for mental illnesses. There will not be anyone knocking on your door to take out your arsenal. Although I will always question the competence of anyone who owns assault rifles and enough ammunition to wipe out a small town. Even if the assault rifle they own is legal. FYI, the assault rifle ban? Was in place through 2005. Blame Shrubya for letting it expire.
How I feel about private ownership is irrelevant to the law on the table. But that law is a very, very good start. We can all do better with less Newtowns. I’ve been up to CT a few hours after it happened, and seeing the look on everyone’s faces up there was enough. More than enough, in fact.
And you know what? I cannot believe that this shit took Newtown to implement. It took kids getting killed for this country to wake up and realize that there is a gun problem. And the problem is not that there are guns, period. The problem is that people in this country are fucking obsessed with them.
European countries banned firearms for civilians and saw their crime rates plummet. The US is not such a great country that it’s not capable of learning by example. And let’s stop thumping our chests and chanting “USA” and take a hard look at how other nations around us do their thing. Thumbing our noses at Europe is deeply counterproductive. Some aspects of things, they fail at. Others, they thrive in. The US is behind in many, many aspects of successful governance: education, arts, culture. Why, then, can’t we learn from example in the aspect of guns?
The latest disgusting sting by the NRA was making an ad targeting Obama’s children. Classy. Real fucking classy. You don’t even bother reading your own president’s opinion from 1934 stating a strong support for permits, and you issue a credible threat against the President’s family? This is called treason, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s high time we call it that. The NRA has crossed the line into sedition with this, but by no means is it the first time that they spoke with their magazine clips before their brains. The NRA’s statement on the Newtown tragedy was that – to no surprise to anyone – more guns would have been an answer. Let me tell you something: the NRA is A-OK with what happened in Newtown. They’re A-OK with what happened in Aurora. They’re fine with it. Because to them, it’s all collateral damage and the cost of having their guns, and being able to profit from sales of guns. So really, why are they even in the picture of this country anymore if they’ve proven that the human beings comprising their leadership are devoid of essential common sense and compassion? George Bush Sr. resigned from the NRA, and I suspect for reasons very similar to those why I and the majority of the country is disgusted with them now.
No one needs a gun. No one. Not unless they’re in the Armed Forces, law enforcement, or shooting their dinner because there’s no stores that sell meat.