Yup, this about sums up my argument.
A couple of nights ago, I had an awesome dream. In my dream, I stayed up all night not sleeping and not dreaming because I was inventing a new, revolutionary, earth-shattering gun. I worked on it tirelessly throughout the night, and in the morning, I took my gun to the nearest gun store.
“Would you like to sell my gun?” I asked. “It’s going to change the world.”
“That’s a bold claim,” said the gun owner who looked like Burt Reynolds. “What’s so special about it?”
Smiling, I raise my awesome gun, aim it at the rack of guns on the wall, and fire. BANG! Out of the barrel, a rainbow beam shoots across the room. When it hits a shotgun, the shotgun transforms into a puppy. I shoot another rainbow at a pistol. BANG! Puppy. Rifle? BANG. Puppy. Burt Reynolds dream gun storeowner? BANG!…Nothing but rainbows.
“Holy hell!” Rainbow Burt Reynolds says. “That really might just change the world.”
And then we start a fund on kickstarter to start a gunpuppy pet store. We open our first store in California, rapidly expand nationally, then internationally. I’m like King Midas, except every gun I shoot turns into a puppy.
And the world is at peace…
Can we all agree that my puppygun is the best possible scenario in the gun control debate? Okay. Cool. Moving on.
Seeing as how puppyguns are only a figment of my imagination, I’ve been thinking about some realistic solutions to the problem of gun control. Because by and large, most of the potential solutions seem about as realistic and practical as my dreams. For further analysis, let’s look at some common stances.
1. The over-reacting liberal: Guns should be illegal to own.
While this idea isn’t nearly as fun as the puppygun, it follows the same basic idea. If no one has any guns, then no one can fire any guns. It makes sense…if we were beginning an international colony on the moon or discovered Stargate technology and began terraforming other planets. This world already has guns, and they’re not going to go away. Particularly in a country where the right to own a gun is central to the founding of that country. America is a nation of rebels. And rebels have guns. The 2nd amendment will never be changed. Move along.
2. The paranoid conservative: We need guns to protect against a tyrannical government/criminals/zombies?
Huh. Okay. Let’s assume a Red Dawn Scenario happens and everyone is Patrick Swayze. A foreign country invades your neighborhood and you’re bunkered in a Jack in the Box. You see a soldier on patrol coming down the street. He doesn’t see you because you’re behind a cash register and…BANG! Combo meal right between the eyes. Tango down. You pump your fists and then get incinerated in an explosion from a cannon shot from a tank.
When the founding fathers wrote the 2nd amendment, there were muskets, cannons and sailboats. The range of weaponry was fairly limited.
Nowadays, we have tanks, drones, helicopters, jets and nuclear missiles. If there were a cage match between an American suburb and a military unit, ANY military unit, it would be a complete bloodbath. It would be like Lebron James and the Miami Heat squaring off against a fifth grade AAU team. On 8 foot rims. And with Dwayne Wade in full douchebag, nut tapping mode.
And if it is our government being tyrannical, as I’ve heard some say Obama plans to do, who is actually going to do the taking over? Last time I checked, the American military has American soldiers, raised in normal American towns. There is no Sparta. There is no warrior state where soldiers are trained from birth to follow orders. What soldier is going to follow orders to attack American territory? Maybe a clone, following order 66. Barring that, I think we’re safe. If we’re not, and America is overthrown by America, then we’re all doomed. Because that means democracy has failed.
Criminals? Okay. Obviously, criminals are going to have guns because they’re, um, criminals. The common argument I hear is that if criminals have assault rifles, then everyone else should be allowed to have them as well. However, in an arms race between criminals and ordinary citizens, here is what happens. People want guns to protect themselves against criminals. People are people so naturally they want the best money can buy. Assault rifles skyrocket in production. Gun manufacturers profit. People get assault rifles. Criminals siphon assault rifles along the supply line and more assault rifles enter the black market.
Zombies? You have a point.
3. The WTF?: We should allow armed teachers in school.
The first time I read about this idea, I vomited a lot in my heart. This idea is the winner of the “Worst Possible Solutions to a Problem” Reality TV show that I just made up in my head. Just…on a fundamental level, guns do not belong in the educational system of a free society. On a practical one, there is so, so, so much potential for disaster. Where does the teacher or guard keep their sidearms? On their side? In a building full of teenagers? Yeah…that sounds like a good plan. And let’s say there is a crisis. What is the teacher supposed to do? What’s their tactical strategy? What’s their plan? Their training? And please don’t say they’ll get extra training in tactical situations so they’ll know what to do. Look, I’m trained in CPR and first aid on an annual basis for my job. I know what to do, and I also know that in the event of an emergency, I’m going to screw something up. That’s because I don’t have any real world experience in handling life-threatening emergencies. I’m not a paramedic. Likewise, a teacher is not a soldier. And a school is not a combat theater.
I hate this idea. I want to puppygun it in the face.
4. The blamer: It’s ______________ fault.
Take your pick. Violent video games. Lack of sensitivity to violence. Psychotropic medication. Culture. Mental illness. Lack of good parenting. Gun free zones. The economy, etc, etc.
Trying to blame any one thing is both a cop out and a distraction. I don’t buy the excuse that it’s violent video games or violence in society. Human beings are inherently violent and have always been so. We’re one little protein away from being a chimpanzee. And an adult chimpanzee is a murdering rapist who will tear your dick off at the earliest convenience. We are not much better. And as the planet fills up with more and more of us, violence is inevitable.
Life is not an algebra equation. While most mass shootings have several similarities, there is no formula to figure out. It’s simply not that simple. The only thing that fits in the blank up there is “Yes, all of the above. And more.” Human beings are complex. Why should we expect our behaviors to be simple and easy to understand?
5. Actual real things
All that said, what can we do to help prevent future Sandy Hooks? Obama’s plan is a start. The ban on assault weapons probably won’t happen and increased vigilance regarding school security and emergency planning is a must.
Mental health is the key. It’s no coincidence that a lot of these recent shooters are in their early twenties. This is usually the biggest danger zone for the mentally ill, particularly when you consider a lot of mental illnesses don’t fully kick in until the onset of adulthood. And wouldn’t you know it, just as a lot of these young adults start to experience mental illnesses they weren’t even aware they had, they exit the public school system where it’s the easiest to detect.
I roll my eyes every time I read about the perpetrator of these horrible things. Part of the roll is to avoid reading about them because I can’t stand when the media draws attention to the criminal and not those who suffer from their crimes. The other part is because there’s always the random interviewee stating something like, “He was just so quiet. He seemed like such a nice guy.”
Yeah, but did anyone notice that this nice guy was relentlessly bullied? Did anyone notice that he was socially awkward (Asperger’s), or that he sometimes soiled himself in school (molestation)? Did anyone know that he liked to hurt animals (sociopath) or that he didn’t seem to care about anyone or have any empathy (conduct disorder)?
My dream is that eventually the only guns out there are puppyguns or on tv screens. Eventually may be a long, long time away, but the start of that eventually has to better than the present reality of idiocy and political bipolarity between a bunch of children in ties who just want their ball and only their ball. It’s getting old.
Start with mental health. Start with better background checks on gun sales and close the ridiculous loopholes where people can sell guns at gun shows with little to no accountability. Start somewhere. Dreams can come later.