Gun Control

This originally posted 08-Nov-2015.

This morning (07-Jan2016) Whoopie Goldberg made news because she said we should ban automatic weapons that were banned in 1934.
In 1989 California banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Gun manufacturers modified their semi-automatic rifles so that they could still be sold in California. The main difference? A California AR-15 has a fixed magazine holding no more than 10 rounds.

The headlines which prompted this post have fallen out of the news cycle. The press is bored with the story and has moved on. Lately, it’s Billary & Sanders who have their attention and whether Billary was derelict in her duty as Secretary of State while our embassy in Benghazi, Libya was being attacked. The spin being espoused has a lot to do whether you believe in the orthodoxy of the Republican establishment or the puritanism of the Democrats.

Back to what this post was about—gun control. Several people were killed in the shooting in Wuerenlingen, northern Switzerland.I have a hard time with any phrase that is xxxxx control. Drug control, crime control, gun control, blah blah control. I distrust the success of any law attempting to impose control on us. Somewhere in me is an abiding suspicion that I and those like me are incorrigible. We outliers are the minority exception to the majority rule. Yes, some of us get caught and spend time in jail. Some get tired of the criminal justice system and quit behaving in ways that cause them to catch more cases and time. Some don’t. Some die unrepentant.

Propaganda that pitches the need for gun control as, “there was a person shot to death with a gun today. That’s one too many deaths by guns. We have to ban/control guns to stop this onslaught of gun violence and death“, just annoys me. It sets of a tough to resist impulse to scream and yell at the TV about the stupidity of that problem and solution statement. The blame is placed with the weapon used to commit the crime. The conclusion pitched is that if we remove the weapon we’ll stop the crime. And the sad truth is that humans intent on murder have been rather darkly ingenious when it comes to the means by which murder is committed. Without guns we’ll invent something else, suicide bombs anybody?

As I type this a woman drover her car into the crowd of the Oklahoma State homecoming parade. 4 people are dead and 50 are injured. This may not equate, but I’ll say it anyway. If removing guns from the hands of people who shouldn’t have them will reduce gun crime then can we also say that removing cars from the hands of those who shouldn’t have them reduce car crime? We don’t know yet the status of this woman’s driver’s license. I doubt she was worried about that as she decided to plow into a crowd of innocent people and kill 5 of them. Also, since this post was first drafted some crazy person found a sword and used it in Switzerland to kill two people and injure two others. The optics were earily similar to our mass shootings at public places which were a favorite story of the press for a while.

We are scarily talented when it comes to conceiving of ways to kill each other. A lack of guns isn’t the impediment to violence we wish it would be. Swords can be just as deadly in the wrong hands. We have the logical fallacy of taking the specific instance and trying to generalize from it. One more crazy person shot up another public place, this time a college in Oregon. And so the propaganda that we have to make sure this never happens again by ensuring that no more crazy people can get a gun. My itch to scream at the TV is getting much worse. Us, the outliers, are not dissuaded by laws saying we can’t do what we do. I don’t wish to see another shooting at another public place. I like the idea that we could do something so that this last shooting remains the last shooting. But I’m an outlier and I have friends. There are too many of us who won’t obey the law for me to be comfortable with another iteration of laws attempting to keep us from getting guns.

The problem isn’t the weapon, be it a gun or a sword, or as C.S. Lewis spoke of, a baseball bat. Gun control laws have not prevented the crimes we were promised they would prevent. Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵) won deadly duels against steel katana and trained solders using a red-oak practice sword. The problem is the collective heart of the country reflected in the leadership we have in office. Our collective heart is in a rather dark place and some of the ways this darkness is manifested is through these mass shootings. The solution is not a legal one but a spiritual one. We need a change of heart, a change toward compassion and leadership to help us with that.

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