14 August 2006

Guns and More Guns

Yesterday I went to the Glendale Gun Show. I am not what anyone would call a "gun nut." I don't own any guns, although there was a time when I did. But, I don't have any tattoos either and sometimes I go to tattoo shows. Then again, I find some tattoos kind of sexy. There is nothing sexy about guns. People who think there is, well, they scare me.

There were some scary people at the Glendale Gun Show. But mostly there were a lot of misguided regular folk like my kindly neighbors. The kind of people who think that if they have a gun in their house, they are going to be safer. They think this in defiance of every single statistic that shows they are way more likely to shoot a fellow family member, or the meter reader, or the UPS guy than they are to actually blow away a bad guy trying to break in and do them any harm.

There is that famous slogan: "When guns are banned, only criminals will have guns." It sounds okay at first, but the fact is that criminals kill and wound a whole lot more innocent people with their guns than the other way around. And "innocent" people kill and wound a whole lot more other innocent people with their guns than they do criminals.

I'm sorry, but people without a very specific reason to, and the training to back it up - like, for instance, "a well regulated Militia", as stipulated in the Second Amendment to the Constitution - should not be allowed to own guns. In most "civilized" nations, they aren't. There would be a whole lot fewer dead spouses, children, parents, meter readers and UPS dudes if there were fewer guns in the hands of the public. Cops, just trying to do their job, would be safer. This is particularly true of handguns.

Okay, so in a rural area let people own rifles - not, however, assault rifles. They might need to take out a marauding bear or something, or even fell a buck to fill the freezer with venison. (There oughta be a law though that makes them eat what they kill.)

But pistols just plain make it too plain easy to kill the wrong person. They should be banned for possession by the general public. The ones that are already out there ought to be confiscated.

There was a target for sale at the gun show.

If I'm ever the hostage in this situation, I'm going to feel a whole lot better about it if there's a highly trained cop with a gun trained on the bad guy, than my sweet, well-intentioned, shaky-handed but well-armed neighbors.

As a matter of fact, I worry about where my neighbor's bullets are going to end up if they ever wake up in the middle of the night scared and decide to start shooting. Luckily my bedroom is at the opposite end of my house from theirs. I'm hoping the walls in between will prevent any mistakes.

Most gunshows also have a lot of other stuff for sale. Russian nesting dolls, for some inexplicable reason, seem to be popular; as are a great many little geegaws and doodads. My friend who went with me bought a telescoping, stainless steel dentist's mirror. The guy who sold it to him for two bucks cautioned him, with a wink, to not use it for the purpose of peeking up women's skirts.

There was a table selling an astounding array of right wing bumperstickers. Those people do seem to be afraid of an awful lot of different things. And for "Christians" they don't seem very charitable toward anyone who isn't white, straight, christian and American. It was horrifying to see how many of the bumperstickers longed for the "good old days" of the Confederacy. There were black people in attendance. Some of them were buying guns. Some of them were probably christians. Wonder what they made of that? I was pleased to see that, at least in the time I was there, no one seemed to be buying any of the bumperstickers.

There was some good stuff too. I bought several different types of jerky. I imagine the elk jerky was the product of a hunter with a gun. I don't suppose the beef jerky was. I also bought, I couldn't resist, "The Official Axis of Evil Currency Collection." It was a bargain at twelve bucks. (It came with a bonus Taliban-era Afghani and a current Iraqi Dinar, but they aren't so impressive looking.) Here it is:

So now the guns in Lebanon are supposedly silent. What's been accomplished?
1. The stablilizing, relatively peaceful, increasingly democratic country of Lebanon has been pulverized yet again and set back many years in its development.
2. The democratic, independent government of Lebanon has been severely weakened.
3. Hezbollah has been made to look heroic to people all over the Muslim world and has been strengthened politically in Lebanon.
4. Syria, which had mostly been booted out of Lebanon, has probably regained a great deal of influence.
5. Iran, through Hezbollah, has probably gained more influence in Lebanon and more allies throughout the Middle East.
6. A largely peace loving population that was increasingly showing signs of a willingness to live and let live with Israel has been radicalized. (Having your neighborhood flattened and your children killed will do that to you.)
7. Well over a thousand Lebanese - more than 90 percent of them non-combatants, the majority of them children - have been killed; and over a hundred Israelis.
8. The kidnapped Israeli soldiers haven't been returned. Even if they had, was all the carnage worth it?
9. Gaza has also been pulverized - although that doesn't seem to be getting much attention. That's strengthened the radicals in Hamas and undermined the moderates in the Palestinian authority.
10. Israel is less, not more, secure than it was before because it is now surrounded by people who are even more pissed off and determined to destroy it than they were before, and they're living in less stable places with governments that are less able to function diplomatically or control militant groups within their borders.

What is there to be said about Israel? Can anyone say: Their own worst enemy. (And, of course, the U.S. is happy to assist in Israel's self-destructive actions and policies.)


Heidi said...

Eric, I'm testing out your commenting, and I see nothing in Spanish. All looks very English to me.

P.S. I hate guns. But I like you.

David P. said...

Eric, this has been a Twilight Zone kind of night. If this actually appears on your comments page, I will post my actual comment later.

David P. said...

I agree with much of what you wrote. I do, however, think a U.S. citizen should have the right to posess a firearm. Such persons should have a gun coach teach them the proper way to shoot, learn all the safety requirements, and shoot at least a hundred rounds a week at a firing range to become and stay competent. The training should come before the license is awarded to the gunbuyer, as is the background check.

Most of the people who own handguns will never aim it at a fellow human, let alone fire at one. It's a reassurance. If one out of every thousand people who own a handgun use that handgun when their life is in peril, and avoid being brutally assaulted and/or killed, then the choice of owning and learning how to use a handgun was the correct choice for that person. Most of the negative statistics you mentioned are due to human negligence, idiocy, and pure bad intent. No law will ever do away with those things. I personally don't own a handgun and have never attended a gun show. I believe this country has an unhealthy interest in all things violent but a gun in the home of a competent, well- intentioned person doesn't add to the problem.

Isreal: my immediate reaction to your post is that for decades it seems Israel has been the Middle East's whipping boy. I know that's an amazingly over-simplified reaction but it was my reaction nonetheless. Growing up, it's my impression that scarcely a week went by without seeing some tragedy befall Israel on the nightly news. For such a tiny speck of land in that vast region, they have engendered much hate and resentment from many of their neighboring countries. Is it all righteous hate and resentment? Could it possibly be? Of course not. It's primarily religion based hatred. Take the land issues out of the equation, and the religious aspect remains.

In this current case perhaps Israel has not struck back with a measured response. But wouldn't their idea of a "measured response" be cloudy after decades of the crap Israel has been through? The loss of innocents is pitiable on either side, but the psychology of Israel's response is understandable. Sad, any way you look at it, but understandable.

David Fago said...

You are a complete idiot.

David Fago said...

I was doing some searches on the internet and I came across my post to your blog where I stated, "You are a complete idiot." I was curious why I wrote such a thing so I re-read your blog...and I again I come to the conclusion that....you are a complete idiot. It would be nice for you to back up some of these "innocent people people injuring other innocent people" statistics.

True many civilized societies did not allow law abiding citizens to own guns such as Germany from 1929-1945. Great example.

santia said...
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