“Responsible Gun Ownership” Is A Myth

Let me burp up a cliche first: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I believe you, 99.99% of gun owners (I’m trying to be super generous here): you want to own and handle your firearm responsibly. The last thing on earth you want is an accident or a tragedy happening because of you and your gun.

But, you see, the problem is — you HAVE that gun in your possession. Your right to have it isn’t being questioned here (though, frankly, the Militia needs to step up and do its damned job regulating (as per the second amendment) who gets to “keep & bear” (not own — it does not say “own”) arms. We’re starting from the proposition that (as per the current mis-reading of the second amendment’s pretty simple, straightforward words) hell, you can have as many guns as ya like!

The basic fact about any gun is that it has been designed to send a piece of hot metal flying through the air at great speed into a living target so as to kill it. That’s why it’s such a great war tool – and hunting tool. It sends pieces of hot metal into living targets so as to kill them, see?

They are literal death machines. I’m not passing judgment when I write that. I’m simply staring a fact. This is a machine designed to cause internal damage to living things. You can fire a gun at a tree as much as you like. It wasn’t designed to do that. Hell, you want that tree dead? Get a saw. It’s more appropriate.

You want a human being dead? They tend to move around. Guns work better on them than saws.

When you purchase or take possession of a gun, you are assuming ownership of a death machine. Own that fact, gun owners. Don’t get emotional about it. Just own it. FFS — if ya can’t be responsible enough to own “what you own”, you’re probably not responsible enough to have a death machine in your hands.

Anyone can be “responsible” when the death machine is not in their hands — when the death machine is locked up in a safe. Except, the death machine wasn’t designed to sit, locked up in a safe. It was designed to be taken out and fired.

Take the gun out of the safe and fire it — THEN let’s talk about whether or not you were responsible, responsible gun owner.

Hey, to repeat, I absolutely believe that 99.99% of the time, you ARE acting “responsibly” with your death machine — no one died. Good for you! You “dodged a bullet” that time.

Remember Nancy Lanza? Adam Lanza’s mom? Nancy Lanza, everyone thought — Nancy especially — that she was a “responsible gun owner”. And, by every definition that we use (“responsible gun ownership” being a created thing that we get to define ourselves), Nancy Lanza WAS a “responsible gun owner”.

Until she wasn’t. Prior to December 14, 2012, none of Nancy Lanza’s guns — and she owned lots of them; she collected them, prized them, treasured them — had ever killed anyone. As far as we know, they had never even hurt anyone. Until the morning of December 14, 2012, Nancy Lanza was “a responsible gun owner”.

And then her son Adam — who grew up in this “responsible gun owner’s” home — learning “responsible gun owner” culture and values — took several of his mom’s weapons, killed her as she slept and then went to the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School where he — irresponsibly — murdered 26 people, most of them children.

“Responsible gun owner” until “not”. Nancy Lanza probably STILL doesn’t know how irresponsible a gun owner she was in reality.

That’s the bigger problem for those of us who DON’T own a gun — and don’t tell ourselves how responsible we are — we don’t know when the “responsible” gun owners will suddenly stop “being responsible”. We don’t know when they’ll fail — and neither do they, ya see.

We already have to live with the fact that there are PLENTY of “irresponsible” gun owners out there already — people who don’t care if, when, how, AT WHOM their guns are fired. We know we can be at the wrong place and wrong time at ANY time when our fellow citizens own firearms and suddenly decide to open fire at us without warning. Because they’re angry. Or broke. Or psychotic.

That’s why I avoid walking in dark places where irresponsible gun owners might lurk. I can’t do much about them hunting ME though. We can all relate to how animals feel when, suddenly, your day gets ruined by a human with a gun who — for some reason you can’t fathom — won’t be happy until you are dead.

Can’t do much about what I can’t anticipate. It’s the gun violence that can and does flare from the “responsible” gun owners that hurts most. That never has to happen. Those guns should never hurt or kill anyone. If those guns had stayed in their gun safes…

See what I’m saying?

The moment a gun owner took the gun into their hands — THAT’S when things got dicey. Children should never die because they found a hand gun in mommy’s handbag. People at the mercy of their own darkness should not have access to guns when therapy, love and perspective are their darkness’s enemy. A moment of intense (almost always male) rage shouldn’t find resolution by pulling a literal trigger.

We will never — ever — get rid of guns in America. That’s wishful thinking. Magical thinking even. The best we can hope for is actual “responsible” gun ownership.

That can’t begin though until “responsible gun owners” admit that there’s no such thing. They’re “gun owners” plain and simple. Whatever happens after that?

Nobody really knows.

Why Do People Speak About The Second Amendment Differently Than Any Other?

Regardless of which side of the gun debate you stand on, when you talk about guns and the second amendment, you’re compelled to speak a strange variation on English. 

I’m not talking about the words in the amendment itself.  They’re actually quite clear.  In the context of a well-regulated militia being the arbiter, whoever the militia decides deserving will be permitted to “keep and bear” (not “own” – that perfectly good word did not get used here) the arms in question.  The implication is equally clear: if that well-regulated militia decides one of its members no longer deserves to keep and bear an arm – or if the well-regulated militia goes and changes its own regulations out of concern for public safety – then that’s within their Constitutional rights to do so.

No, I’m talking about how people talk about the gun debate itself.  It struck me this morning while listening to a responsible legislator take a responsible position on guns.  He pointed out that he was a gun owner who “believed in the second amendment”.  Never mind the responsible position he had already taken.  In his mind, he still had to prove his bona fides to be taken seriously.  Gun ownership – okay.  It puts you in “both camps”.  Can’t argue.

But the “I believe in the second amendment” is where it gets weird. 

I’m sure that same well-meaning legislator would insist he “believes” equally in all the other amendments, too.  But, if engaged in casual conversation about, say the eighth amendment (“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted”), I really, really doubt said well-meaning legislator would feel compelled to throw in “And, by the way, I’m a believer in the right to not have excessive bail throw at ya!”

See what I mean?  I’ll bet that’s never happened.  Not with the eighth, not with the sixth, not even with the Thirteenth Amendment – the one abolishing slavery.

Whatever anyone might say about any of the other amendments, no one says “I believe” in the amendment like it was some separate entity that had to be approached differently from every other amendment.  Which is exactly what the Second Amendment is.

Of all the amendments to “believe in”.  Of all the other freedoms to “believe in”.  Of everything enumerated in the whole Constitution to “believe in”.

Only thirty percent of Americans own guns. So – right away, we’re talking from a minority position. Now, I’m just asking a question here.  I don’t have an answer. Just suspicions that I hope you agree deserve suspicion.  How did a word we use to discuss religion become associated with a product designed to kill living things?

The object we’re talking about – guns – regardless of whether you like them or loathe them – are designed from the ground up to send a hot, metal projectile flying toward a live target with the intention of killing it. If the person pulling the trigger is any good with this weapon, that projectile will find its mark and finish the job it was designed to do.

Yes, yes, defense and all that.  Stone, cold reality says all those guns play a hell of a lot more offense than defense.  Despite what anyone “believes”, people can’t seem to resist using guns to do what they were made to do: kill.

Like I said – I’m just here to ask a question.  Isn’t “killing” a strange thing to “believe in”?