Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Last Thing We Need is Another Blog Post About Guns, So I'll Write One Just Out of Spite

It took something huge to get the national debate away from the unmitigated horror of the hijacking of health care by the Sinister Jack-Booted ThugsTM of Socialized Medicine Serving the Tyrannical GovernmentTM of the Kenyan-Born Reincarnation of Karl Marx, but - being resourceful Americans - we've found it - Gun Control (cue weird organ music).


The oddest thing to me about the whole issue of gun control is how the least mention of it has the power to shut down rational thought on every side of the debate*. Everybody's got an opinion, and nobody is interested in hearing yours if it's different from theirs.

Let's cash the reality check, shall we?

1. For better or worse, regardless of whatever the original intent of the Founders was, Americans have a Constitutionally-guaranteed, Supreme Court-confirmed right to "keep and bear arms." End of discussion.

2. There are more guns already in circulation in this country than there are illegal immigrants. If we can't identify, round up, and deport illegal immigrants (most of whom are unlikely to shoot back), the thought of The Tyrannical GovernmentTM confiscating hundreds of millions of personally-owned weapons from people spring-loaded to shoot back is ludicrous. If your argument is that you need more guns to protect you from having the guns you already own confiscated by Sinister Jack-Booted Government ThugsTM, you need less ammo and more mental health care**.

3. Guns are so much a part of the American character that the vocabulary of firearms permeates our language. We look for silver bullet solutions to hard problems, admire people who shoot straight in arguments***, aim high to achieve great things****, recognize an energetic person as a real pistol, watch a political punditry TV show called Firing Line, and stockpile ammunition to back up our positions on issues.

Reasonable people (assuming you can find any on the topic of gun control) will disagree on the best way to reduce gun violence, and those on both sides of the debate can marshall vast arsenals of questionable (and often contradictory or questionably-interpreted) data to counter any argument made by the other side. Here are two simple, common-sense+ things we could do today:

1. Impose a mandatory ten-year prison sentence for any crime committed using a firearm. If it's true that guns don't kill people, but people do, then locking up the people who use guns to do bad things seems a reasonable measure.

2. Require anyone wishing to purchase a gun pass a background check against a centralized criminal and mental-health database. Civil liberties proponents will no doubt object to The Tyrannical GovernmentTM maintaining such a database, but it seems to be a prudent way to identify people who shouldn't be allowed to own guns.

There are other things we can do, the Task Force chaired by Vice President Biden will probably call them out, and the NRA will reflexively object to almost all of them.

Because common sense and rationality have no part in this debate.

That's all.

If you missed my announcement in yesterday's post, just a reminder that I will now be regularly posting only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting tomorrow. It's not that I'm run out of things to blog about, but that I need to reconsider the use of my time, particularly now that my weekday bus schedule has changed and I need to get to the bus stop earlier than I have in the past++.

Have a good day. Join me in this space on Tuesday for more thoughts.


* Well, less "debate," really, than "hysterical shouting match."

** Yeah, good luck with that.

*** Not so much recently.

**** Not applicable to Congress or either political party.

+ Common sense is not a requirement to enter this debate, but I'll try to slip it in, anyhow.

++ The service is now less convenient, but more expensive. Ain't that just the way it goes nowadays?


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Great thinking on this issue, which has resisted resolution. I never thought of it before, we do use a lot of expressions involving guns.

Do Jack Boots also come in ladies' sizes? It seems to me that, since the Federal Government is at least nominally committed to equality of opportunity, they should provide proper equipment so that thuggettes could avail themselves of this job category.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

If sense were really common more people would have it, no?

Banana Oil said...

Common sense is as scarce as comfortable bras. These are good ideas regarding guns.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Giving stiff prison sentences for gun-related crimes is a seriously good idea.

Mike said...

Time to put a Federal personal property tax on guns just like the local tax on cars. No more national debt.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Gun control legislation is more likely to be nationally acceptable if it is limited to assault weapons. There's the strongest consensus against them.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I think guns should be handled the way cars are. You have to register them every year. Pay for a license to have them and pass 2 tests before you are able to buy well as the background check.

I still want to know why civilians are allowed to have an makes no sense.