Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guns and poses

I remember this argument from post-Columbine, and apparently it’s been restated following Virginia Tech: the problem isn’t too many guns in America, it’s too few. If there had been more guns on the Virginia Tech campus, the students would have been able to fight back. Problem solved.


Yes, rearing its ugly head again is that good friend to every American, the Right to Bear Arms. It says so. In the Constitution. Second Amendment. So there.

I can’t help thinking that
  • (Right ≠ duty) and (legal ≠ compulsory).
  • If we’re going to quote sacred scripture then I’ll plump for 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (summed up: even if what you’re doing is okay but it hurts other people, stop, because other people are more important).
  • It’s better to start from a base state where no one can hurt anyone with guns, and the worst thing the psychos can do is pour out their hurt and anguish into bad poetry. From that base start you can gradually work upwards and arm those who probably need a gun (e.g. the police from time) and responsible registered citizens who can convincingly demonstrate their ability to handle such a thing without resorting to mass murder (e.g. farmers, hunters, members of gun clubs)
The advantage of that last point is that in this kind of set-up the bad poetry becomes the option the psychos default to. Or to address a problem that seems more common in our country, the jumped-up punk gangster wannabes default to calling you a rude word that rhymes with brothertrucker. Either way, shooting other people over a mild grievance just isn’t on the radar. The problem with a society where even the budgie is allowed to purchase an assault rifle, a couple of pistols and 3000 rounds of ammunition in case the cat tries to get it, is that guns become the instinctive default option for dispute resolution rather than the last resort.

You might think it’s a very big step from bad language to killing someone, but that’s because you’re a rational, emotionally mature human being. In the minds of some people it’s a very thin line, so they should be given every encouragement to stay the right side of it and denied every opportunity to cross over.

Meanwhile, the episode of the Simpsons where Homer buys himself a gun remains the definitive statement of everything that needs stating. About gun use in the USA, and also about soccer.


  1. The whole 'pro-gun' argument assumes that everyone is rational and only want to use guns for defence. Not everyone is rational and there are better forms of defence...

    Giving everyone the right to wear a bullet proof vest is an amendment I can get on board with.

  2. Ah, but then the NRA's lawyers could argue for an amendment giving gun holders the right to shoot people in the head, because otherwise their constitutional right to cause lethal harm is compromised. You know it's what the Founding Fathers intended.


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