Arm The Deer

Copyright © by Len Holman, 12/21/12


  It’s happened again: another mass shooting to rival the one at Virginia Tech, one to horrify more than the one at Columbine or the Aurora movie house.  A man went into an elementary school in Connecticut and murdered 20 children and six adults, after killing his mother.  He then shot himself, and the shock and anger and recriminations began. 

  Predictably, there were several main ideas.  1) People kill people, not guns, so what can you do?  The subtext of this idea is that the government (in the person of that evil Obama) will use this as an excuse to disarm patriotic citizens as a prelude to an awful and thorough tyranny, in contradiction of the citizenry’s right under the 2nd Amendment.  As a symptom of this view, gun sales have spiked to an all-time high.  And 2) we need to get guns off the street.  The subtext of this proposition is that automatic weapons are unnecessary for anything short of fighting the jihadis as they storm the beaches of Orange County. 

  One argument I especially like is the one which says, basically, “more is better.”  If we armed everyone, then everyone would be safe.  Not just the bad guys would have weapons, but everyone would, thus preventing purse snatching, for example.  A miscreant might run past grandma and snag her Wal-Mart special, but she could reach into her bra, drag out that Glock, and blow the guy away before he has time to get out of sight.  But more importantly, OTHER would-be snatchers of purses will note this exchange and begin to wonder if other grannies out on the street are packing.  Here, we have the “More guns means less crime” scenario.  But why stop at grannies?  In crime-ridden neighborhoods, let the police arm each of the residents.  Guns would be rentals, to be periodically turned in, cleaned, oiled, and lent back out.  How many drive-bys would be prevented if the whole neighborhood opened up on a low-rider filled with gun-toting bangers?  And those teachers all across America?  Arm them and let them take care of business.  This would, according to proponents of this approach, be especially good if an intruder became a problem.  He would be faced with a fire fight of major proportions, as home economics teachers and English teachers and kindergarten teachers with Kalashnikovs came out of their rooms firing madly.  What a major deterrent THAT would be! 

  Arming victims might get out of hand, however.  What if animals, like bears and deer were trained to fire weapons.  What hunter would go into the woods for a trophy buck if he or she knew the danger of going against a deer with an RPG?  Lots of states, including Connecticut, have varying degrees of stringency in their gun laws—if they have any at all, but the reality is that we are a nation of guns, besotted with firearms, drunk on violence, and we make a LOT of excuses for ourselves, not the least of which is that it’s all in “our culture.”  Well, so were bearbaiting, public hangings (where parents brought their kids), slavery, and—one of my faves—tarring and feathering.  We’ve managed to rid ourselves of a lot of pernicious, cruel, and tortuous elements of “our culture” and the world hasn’t ended.  Perhaps we could do the same with guns. 

  We could start with baby steps, like a federal law (with teeth) which bans extra-capacity magazines, on-line sales of these, and monitoring of gun shows for them.  I know, I know, too much for some, but if gun-control advocates want to get ANYTHING done, public outrage and anger won’t be higher than it is now, so now is the time to, at least, TRY to get the assault rifles barred, or those large magazines.  I have doubts that much, if anything, will happen.  Guns are here to stay—at least until humans evolve into peace-loving beings and never war with each other again.  One easily predictable reaction to this shooting was the outcry by some legislators that this was a sign of the moral decay of America, as if the Constitution’s counting African-Americans as three-fifths of a person was morally defensible, or the slaughter of Native Americans for land and/or gold, or…well, it’s a preposterous claim.  It’s not morally ambiguous to use drones all across the globe and kill innocent people, including American citizens, but arming every American will fix our moral problems? 

  One commentator was more specific about this country’s slide into depravity, saying that the problem was that there wasn’t enough religion in the schools.  He didn’t say which religion her was referring to, but I gather it wasn’t Buddhism or Islam.  So we have the usual suspect, the usual positions taken, the burials, the speeches, the promised to “do something” and the haunting suspicion nothing much will happen.  The NRA is supposed to make a statement on Friday…maybe they will decry all their previous positions and pry their weapons stance from the cold, dead past.  Maybe. But I think we have more chance to arm deer.


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