I suspect our problem is the word “gun”. It’s innocuous. And, it doesn’t really say what the thing it’s naming does. One can gun an engine, but that’s not shooting it. “Gun” has become generic and “gun control” too vague. I propose a fix. An honest one that starts with everyone acknowledging a few fundamentals up front. Guns are not toys. Their designers faced a challenge: make their armies more efficient at killing other armies. Mission accomplished! Gun designers design guns from the ground up to shoot metal projectiles through the air at living things. Causing death is the point of every last bit of a gun’s technology (either directly or indirectly). Death isn’t always the result. That doesn’t matter. Death is always a distinct possibility because all guns are literal death machines. Pure and simple.
A New Way To Kill
The invention of gunpowder was probably inevitable. The Chinese got there first – serendipitously. Ironically, Chinese alchemists were looking for the secret to immortality but found a shortcut to death instead. Death is the literal point of every gun’s exercise. If you send a piece of metal hurtling at someone? You can’t control what happens after you’ve fired your weapon. You might not have meant to kill your target, but killing them was always one of the possible outcomes.
By the 10th century, the Chinese were employing “fire-spurting lances” in battle. These “consisted of a bamboo rod or a metal rod to hold the gunpowder or the “huo yao”, which means ‘fire-chemical’.” Gunpowder changed warfare completely. It changed human life completely.
There’s No “Own” In The 2A
If it was up to me (if I was “benevolent dictator”), I’d enforce the Second Amendment as written. For the record, the word “own” appears nowhere within it. That’s not an accident. James Madison, the amendment’s author, was attempting to navigate between the states as individual political players and the federal government as a player. A MAGAT-Republican may view his militia as a violent social club good at getting drunk and marching around. Madison didn’t. He saw militias as what we now call “The National Guard”.
If I were to sign up with the Guard – and appear for training, I wouldn’t bring my guns with me. The Guard would give me a weapon – and take it back – as required by training. Then, when my service with the Guard ended, I’d pack up my things – guns not included – and head for home. The guns never belonged to me! That’s the Second Amendment! “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.
Neither “keep” nor “bear” equals “own”. Even Antonin Scalia understood you can’t legally connect “keep or bear” and “own”. Guess how many times the word “own” appears in Scalia’s infamous Heller decision. The answer? Zero times. The closest Scalia gets is when he uses the word “possess” in his summation. People can “possess” guns because the Second Amendment says so.
But, they still can’t OWN them.
The Myth Of all men being created equal”
I don’t, for two seconds, think America can solve its gun problem by throwing a switch. We’d have to solve our racism problem first – because it’s racism that’s driving our gun crisis. Racism has always driven it. America remains a great idea poorly executed. Our founders may have penned “All men are created equal” but they didn’t really mean it. They believed the “men” part. But the men “created equal” were white, Christian land owners. Everyone else wasn’t equal. Not to America’s founders.
Fortunately, these men baked change into the country’s architecture. James Madison (him again!) baked diversity into it. He’s the one who insisted we make “E Pluribus Unum” our motto and that we make those words our Great Seal. Out of many, one.
Fear of “the many” – that’s gun love’s secret sauce. It’s pure racism.
The Myth Of “Responsible Gun Ownership”
There’s no such thing as “Responsible Gun Ownership”. A better descriptor would be “Wishful Thinking”. Even the most genuinely responsible gun owner can’t say with one hundred percent certainty that an accident couldn’t happen with their gun. They can say it, but it’d be a lie. For starters, why’d they buy it? Fear of something or someone played a part. Mortal fear. The pool’s already toxic.
Consider death from a gun’s perspective. The gun’s job: kill. That means – quite literally – that every bullet fired that doesn’t kill? The gun failed. Your car will spend the majority of its life just sitting – in a lot or on the street. Just sitting. NOT driving – the thing its designers designed it to do. Despite knowing this, the car’s designers didn’t worry about it. They put all their design creativity into the car’s driving experience. Transportation – that is a car’s bottom line.
A gun sitting in a gun locker is safer than a gun sitting outside a gun locker – no argument. But it’s a false equivalence to say that a gun locker’s mere presence projects responsible gun ownership. That’s like saying having a nice garage means you’re a good driver. Ummmmm… okay… What happens when a gun’s inside a safe means nothing. All that matters starts the instant that gun exits its safe. That’s where Life can meet Death.
Gun Sanity v Gun Honesty
Nancy Lanza thought she was a responsible gun owner her whole life. She died thinking she was “responsible”. That’s ironic because her own son Adam Lanza murdered her with her own legally purchased weapon. And then, Adam headed to Sandy Point Elementary School and did the unspeakable.
Am I out to take away everyone’s guns? In my dreams, yeah. But, alas, I don’t live in my dreams. I live out here with you all. Still, I’m hopeful. I believe gun sanity must start with gun honesty. Hell, if it were up to me, I’d insist we cut to the end of the chase and re-brand “guns” as “death machines”. Want to tell us you’re a “responsible death machine owner”? I’m all ears. I probably won’t agree with you however.
Unless you hunt one hundred percent in order to eat, the truth is, you like shooting animals. You like murdering them in cold blood simply because you can. Please, do not call it “sport hunting”. It can’t be a “sport” if only one side knows it. Want to really make it a sport? Make the rules available in deer or lion or tiger. Make sure all animals are 1) clear on what this sport is and 2) genuinely interested in “competing” in it.
I’d want that “competing” to be as real and as compelling as possible.
No, guns are not toys. They are indeed death machines. Designed from the ground up to kill. How does one “own” such a thing “responsibly”? Putting aside that one can’t actually own them, guns never bring real safety with them. There’s data: bring a gun into your house, the chances for violent death just increased too.
Guns themselves aren’t the villains here. They’re just soul-less death machines. A gun’s keeper and bearer is.