Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guns and Jennifer Connelly

Those are the things that generate the most traffic around here. I have no illusions about my skills as a writer, thinker or commentator. It's T & A or the possibility of violence that will draw the crowds.

In fact, the post I wrote about a handgun ban a while ago still generates traffic and comments. I'm not sure what to make of that, since I don't think I'm all that far out with my stance. It's based on, as far as I can tell, reason, not emotion. I know there are factors I have not considered, but the purpose of a handgun is not something I approve of. Murder is not a good thing. It's one of the few Abrahamic principles I can get behind.

Guns are for killing things. Handguns are for killing people. They're one of those things, to borrow a phrase from Nicholas Cage in The Rock, that I wish we could uninvent. We can't, so limiting the availability is the best option. There are all kinds of weapons we already limit, and I don't see people clamouring for their right to own mustard or chlorine gas, vehicle mounted machine guns, or high explosives. These things are also designed for killing people, and we have decided as a society that killing people is generally wrong. So we don't let these things out into general circulation.

I'm not the only one to think this way, either. There are people who are pointing out that the wide availability of firearms does NOT make people safer. That dude who went nuts on the Greyhound bus only killed one guy. Possibly because God only told him to kill the one, but probably also because he had a knife, not a gun.

Alternet posted a relevant story today, as well:

The Gun Lobby Asks You to Please Lay Off the Mass Killings While It's
Trying to Influence Legislation

"The NRA is asking gunmen to refrain from mass shootings while key gun
bills are before legislators," says a newscaster in a recent editorial

Say that! On a month that began with the Alabama, Illinois church and
Germany shootings and ended with the Oakland police killings -- a Miami mass
killing, a Turlock, CA church shooting and the Mexico shootings not even making
the public radar -- lawmakers are not thinking of gun owners as an oppressed

I'm not suggesting for a minute that people not be allowed to defend themselves, though the commenters on the last post are suggesting that I am. However, we have a system in place that's designed to defend us on our behalf. We hire people to carry guns so that the rest of us don't have to. If you think that a widely armed populace is safer, then I think you might be missing a few things.

Some crimes are violent by nature, and a ban won't stop them all. But most crime is not violent. Most is property crime, and that sometimes becomes violent. If we were truly serious about stopping violent crime, we'd address poverty and the horriying wealth imbalance. We'd address the illness inherent in a consumer society, where people are measured not by the quality of their character, but by the quality of their shoes. We'd look at improving education, health care, and addressing mental illness (which is a very small factor in crime, though it makes the best movies). We'd stop making violent people heroes.

In the meantime, a reduction in the number of firearms is a good way (well, certainly better than no way) reduce the number of property crimes that turn violent.

1 comment:

vjack said...

I admit it, mention of Jennifer Connelly always gets my attention.