Guns, Politics, and Friends

A friend, who is a gun advocate, shared on Facebook a photo from Uber-American. So I looked at Uber’s page. What I found was a lot of irrelevant and unworkable solutions, and a lot of Obama-bashing.

(abbreviated): Which sign will prevent another tragedy?:  No Guns Allowed or Staff Heavily Armed and Trained

Another friend ‘liked’ a picture suggesting that people like I are a “special kind of stupid” for thinking criminals will obey gun control laws.

You actually think criminals will obey gun control laws?  You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?

These are my friends.

No, I don’t think criminals will obey gun control laws. It would be especially stupid to think that I do, and I know my friend, despite liking the offensive comment, doesn’t really believe that.

What I do believe is that some of our mass murdering lunatics would have preferred fully automatic weapons but used assault rifles because they couldn’t get their hands on automatics. In most cases you can actually kill more people with a semiautomatic, but the thrill of pulling the trigger and spraying a room with bullets must be something that a suicidal lunatic who plays too many video games dreams about. And in some cases an automatic weapon is better so why not have a weapon that gives you a choice? The answer is banning certain weapons works. And don’t bullshit me with examples of illegal drugs or prohibition. People like their guns but not with the force of chemical addiction, and rifles are harder to manufacture and distribute in little packages.

Maybe you disagree with some of my reasoning. Hell, maybe I’m wrong. But let’s at least agree that calls for banning assault rifles aren’t based on expectations of murderers obeying the law.

“Special kind of stupid” applies to some of the nonsense on Uber-American’s Facebook page, especially the post about Obama’s tears being fake because he wiped the outside corner of his eyes instead of the inside. I’m not saying that Uber is stupid and not everything on his page is stupid. But a lot of it is. One popular stupid comment is

Why don’t we just replace teachers with former military and arm them.

One Answer: because there aren’t enough ex-military members who want to be, or are qualified to be teachers. Many are very qualified, and we already have an active troops-to-teachers program. The program makes sense because military personnel are among the few people who can look at what a teacher gets for his or her sacrifice and think it’s a good deal. But troops to teachers can’t replace all teachers and if we start requiring teachers to be handy with guns then we’re going to loose a lot of good nose-wipers and people who can explain how the Pythagorean theorem applies to lengths of arcs.

We can have intelligent conversations about gun control and gun rights, but we each have to be willing to acknowledge some of the points made by our opponents and stop knee-jerking with idiotic responses and thinking the other side is stupid because they didn’t think of our own idiotic zingers first.

The right-wingers who aren’t railing against existing automatic weapons bans and the left-wingers who generally support gun ownership can have intelligent conversations about the definition of “assault rifle” and what the founding fathers meant by “arms”. But too many of us think we’re only dealing with extremists and idiots on the other side because we’re not willing to tread in uncomfortable territory and hear what the other side is actually saying. Instead we just listen to our favorite pundits and slam artists calling our friends “special kind of stupid” because of things they never even said. And the result is tragic.

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2 Comments

  1. The right to bear arms was established so Americans could protect ourselves from tyrannical government, like England, back when the right was officially established. Today, arguably more than ever, Americans need the ability to protect ourselves from our government.
    Governments don’t fear disarmed citizens and that could be more dangerous to our freedom than the last two presidents combined. Governments also don’t fear citizens with 7-round pistols when they have 100-round semi-automatic rifles and extreme communication and organization. Honestly, it probably doesn’t even matter now, but at least we have some degree of protection.
    The late Gordon W. Prange, chief historian on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, recorded the following statement from Japanese naval Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto: “You cannot invade the mainland United States; There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
    To what degree of truth that quote bears only history truly knows, but it does bring about that key element of American’s right to bear arms. The DHS is stocking up on ammo that is illegal for use in warfare and has enough to put 4 hollowpoints in every man and woman in America. ‘That’s great’, I initially thought, “now America will be even more protected.” Why does the DHS needs so many rounds domestically? If they aren’t for use on the American people then they must see something coming that we don’t.
    School shootings are another story. Take a look at Columbine shooting – the guys carried no assault rifles. They carried pistols, shotguns, and one rifle, all of which were limited to 10 or less rounds. They managed to shoot 21 people. The guys had many magazines on them. Limiting the number of rounds in magazines won’t save lives; it only take a second to exchange a magazine.
    What about the Colorado theater shooter? He had enough explosives in his apartment to take out the whole complex. It was just more fun for him to shoot people.
    How about the Sandy Hook shooting? If most teachers were armed with a pistol and trained on how to use it there would be a lot more innocent people alive today.
    The same day as the Sandy Hook shooting 21 people were knifed in a foreign school.
    Another day recently a man went to kill a bunch of people in a public area like a mall or theater and someone who disobeyed the gun-free zone was carrying and simply upon seeing the challenging gun the man killed himself.
    Several points to take away:
    Shooters almost always target gun-free zones. Criminals couldn’t care less about background checks. It only takes a second to exchange a magazine. If you take away guns, people will find other means to do damage. If you arm teachers, guards, and eliminate gun-free zones for responsible citizens then you enable us to do what the 2nd amendment was designed to do in the first place: allow Americans to protect ourselves.

    Reply
  2. Good commentary, but a few things need to be explained.
    I was a soldier; I served for 21 years on active duty and retired a Chief Warrant Officer-2 after a career that was most often performed as a non-commissioned officer. I was also a competitive shooter and won medals, a trophy, and was awarded the Schutzenschnoor by the German army, first in bronze, and then later in silver. Not many Americans earned that.
    And then I became a teacher. I was teaching when this question began to be raised, whether to arm teachers in the classroom.
    I didn’t want any part of it. It’s an incredibly stupid idea.
    Teaching isn’t being an armed guard. It cannot possibly be. The mindset for the two activities are too different. After Columbine, I wondered what I would have done had I been there and been armed. The weapon, by the way, would have been a pistol. You can’t teach with a rifle or shotgun strapped to your back, and you can’t leave them in a classroom where they’re available to you because they would also be available to inquisitive students.
    A question I couldn’t answer: which student should I shoot?
    And keep in mind that level of expertise I have. Vanishingly few teachers have that qualification and the military mindset that allows targeting and killing a human being. Teachers develop empathy as a part of teaching. It’s as necessary as books and chalkboards if you’re to reach a class of some 30 juveniles. People who kill others cannot consider empathy. Do that and you’re the one who gets killed by someone who has no empathy for you.
    Accuracy and target selection: it’s incredibly difficult to actually target a human and kill him with a pistol. Consider this:
    ” NYC police shoot suspect: 73 rounds fired, 2 non-lethal hits, 1 dead bystander…
    The New York Times reports that police in Brooklyn responded to a report of a shooting last weekend and encountered an armed suspect who had just shot and killed a man.

    The suspect ignored orders to drop his gun, and eight police officers then discharged their weapons, firing a total of 73 rounds, and hitting the suspect, who survived, twice, in his hip and chest. Two of those officers fired 15 rounds each from their Glocks.

    A 56 year old woman nearby was fatally wounded by a 9mm bullet, and while the source of the fatal shot cannot be positively identified, police acknowledge it could have come from an officer’s gun.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/ny…ce-say.html?hp”

    And keep in mind that these were trained, qualified, police officers. Not quite the mindset of an infantryman or a sniper, but a lot closer to that than any teacher will have.

    I own guns. But I have no need for military grade arms. Neither do you.

    The idea that a bunch of overweight couch potatoes with a newly acquired Glock and an M16 or AK variant will take on the US Armed Forces is ludicrous. I once trained for riot suppression duty; our weapons were rifles with bayonets, and we didn’t expect to be issued ammunition. But it was there, somewhere, if the necessity arose. And there was backup from armored vehicles and aircraft had we come under attack. They train for that sort of thing; what works in Afghanistan will work on the streets of Podunk, too. Would the armed forces respond? Oh, yes. I haven’t forgotten Kent State. Regulars would be more likely be prepared to use deadly force than would Guardsmen. So don’t expect soldiers to decide that you’re a citizen and that rioting is your national right and to be respected.

    Civilians haven’t been equal to soldiers in arms for a century at least. The idea that the 2nd Amendment was there to prevent government from becoming despotic might have had meaning in 1776; that ended at the end of the Civil War.

    You might read Dakota Meyer’s book. And consider what happens to civilians who join in battle. If you’re in a combat zone, you’re wearing a friendly uniform or you’re a target.

    Add to that this fact: target recognition and selection isn’t easy. The FBI and Army Special Forces and Navy Seals train for this. They have special facilities with a mix of friendlies and enemies represented by life-size target photos. Civilians don’t do that. Police rarely train to that level. So consider what you’d have done had you found yourself in a semi-dark movie theater when an attacker begins shooting. If you see someone with a gun, is he the attacker, or another guy like you who had a pistol under his shirt? Is he a policeman wearing a uniform that wouldn’t be easily seen in a darkened theater?

    The whole idea of arming everyone and expecting this to make crazies and criminals less effective is simply ludicrous.

    Reply

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