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.