Ranting on guns

People who claim they own guns for self-protection? They are 32 TIMES more likely to murder someone than to kill someone in self-defense (justifiable homicide).

Take away the guns. Say, instead, that a company makes a new shock vest (FinalHug® Tactical Defense Vest, from the makers of BlowFlash® InstaFlate Punji-Jammies) that electrocutes any attacker who touches the wearer’s torso. After a few years on the market, statistics come back – over ten thousand people killed by vests each year. Dead drunk people who forget they left them on and tried to scratch their own backs. Dead suicidal people who wore the vest in the tub. Dead children who found the vest in dad’s closet or under the bed and didn’t know how to use it. Then there’s the people who say they bought the vests to protect themselves (and even have a room full of them!) who just turn on the vest and hug people who piss them off. Like ex-wives. There’s the people who use them as a threat to commit crimes. At the end of the year, there are more than thirty charred  bodies and thirty devastated families for ever one time a vest was used for legitimate reasons. How long would that company be selling these vests?

I’m not saying to take everyone’s guns away. I just think that people are obsessing more over the word than the consequences to real, human lives. People focus so much on the words “arms” and “guns”, it’s like they’re some kind of divine name, never to be taken in vain. We care more about the phrasing of a specific line in a specific document instead of the fact that these are absolutely deadly weapons and they destroy lives, both for the people who are shot as well as the people doing the shooting. Guns can change the mental state of the person behind them in dangerous ways. I grew up around guns and have shot a few over the years. They are powerful and sexy and make you feel about a foot taller and made of 300 lbs. of greased muscle. But we don’t see how they’ve been Joe Camel’d over the decades. From cap guns to cartoon characters, from Lethal Weapon to Equilibrium, we have glorified and created a cult around firearms.

If you saw a country where, because of an ambiguously phrased bit of old law, people proudly carry around extremely venomous snakes tied to sticks, occasionally throwing them at one another, or leaving them out where a kid can find them, you wouldn’t understand why the hell anyone would want one in their house, let alone their neighborhood. You weren’t born in a culture where every boy’s toy has a snake on it or is some variation of a venomous stick-of-death. You didn’t grow up watching your heroes clean up the old West with nothing but his white cowboy hat and a cane just wriggling with black mambas. Your modern action heroes aren’t best known for jumping out of a burning building barefoot, on fire, and with a half-dozen cobras duct-taped to a rake.

Instead of preparing for a kind of frightening and bizarre future where you have to patrol your croc-filled moat with a Colt Python in one hand and a Desert Eagle in the other in case King Chad III comes down to claim droit du seigneur on your bride-to-be, I’d rather work towards a world where guns are an interesting piece of history, or, at the very least, just a vestigial part of our culture instead of the driving force behind the majority or our movies, music, TV, toys, and cartoons.

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