Archive | November 2013

Uncle Josh on guns

Uncle Josh has a little, dangerous history with guns. In high school, I spent a lunch hour with two friends out in the wilderness shooting a .22. I almost took off somebody’s toe when I handed the gun to someone else because I┬ácarelessly┬áhad my finger on the trigger. As an adult, my best friend took me shooting on several occasions, where I inevitably did something stupid. I don’t trust myself with a gun, simply enough, and have decided that aside from the replica mini-crossbow my brother gave me, and a water pistol at various picnics, I have no need or desire to handle a gun again, because I’m absent-minded enough to hurt somebody by accident.

I understand the right to “bear arms” is in the Constitution. I also understand what firearms were in the 1790’s and as forward-thinking as the founding fathers may have been, they probably weren’t thinking 30 rounds a second or whatever mind-boggingly fast rate we can fire rounds these days. They probably also felt that the militia was necessary to defend the country from, say, Britain coming back to reclaim her property, and by some definitions, the militia is every citizen in the United States.

Here’s what I don’t understand: We have guns. We have hundreds of people dying by guns. Estimates of almost 1,300 people dead by guns in the country since Sandy Hook. Why are people like Wayne LaPierre insisting that more guns is the answer.

So far, no mass shooting in the US has been stopped by “good guy with a gun.” One recent shooting was actually stopped by two teachers who talked the student-gunman down. Neither were armed. There was a start to a mass shooting and the shooter was killed by an ex-army member in training to become a police officer. Not the training most people receive.

Then there is the anti-gun control false equivalence fallacy of “take away the cars, because they kill, too” argument. Here’s a difference. I drive every day. I get lots of practice driving my vehicle. I am a proficient driver because of this. Even when I drive with my mind really somewhere else, I am still safe on the road from muscle memory and an alert subconscious. If my attention wavers, I may cross a solid yellow line. More often than not, nobody will be hurt because nobody will be in my way, or will be attentive drivers who can avoid my stupidity. Also, there are hundreds of ways I can be stupid with a car.

There is only one way to be stupid with a gun, and that is to pull the trigger when you don’t mean to, and other people having guns isn’t going to counteract that moment of stupidity.

So if “more guns” is the only answer, then there has to be mandatory gun training and continuous practice. England forced her archers to practice continually, and forced every able-bodied man to be an archer. Result? An effective defense on call.

If more guns is the answer, we should do the same thing. Everyone gets a hand gun, and everyone must spend at least an hour a week checking, firing, and caring for the weapon. Locks should be required. We should be forced to prove competency in caring and using the weapon.

Sadly, Uncle Josh doesn’t like what this says about our country, if this is our attitude.