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Column: We need to talk

Posted: February 19, 2018 4:04 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.

One hates to think we could actually start the day saying something like, “ho hum; another mass shooting,” but sadly, it sometimes feels that way.

It always follows the same script: shock, horror and outrage followed by a lot of repetitious, broken-record ranting for or against gun control. I see the same arguments over and over again.

Guns don’t kill people, People kill people.  True that.

Guns are too accessible. Ayep.

We need laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands/we need to enforce laws we have to keep guns out of the wrong hands. But, of course.

The only thing that can stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Well, it’s a pretty theory, anyway.

The NRA is evil and must be destroyed. I don’t really disagree. I intensely dislike and distrust all lobbyists.

They’re creeps.

Thank God for the NRA.

 Again, I don’t really disagree. I intensely dislike and distrust frothing activists who want to circumvent, cherry pick, or otherwise trample on the constitution.

They’re creeps.

One could go on like that all day long.

I don’t pretend to have answers, but I do have a few observations.

First, gun control, in and of itself, is impossible, if for no other reason than the barn door has been open way too long. No one will ever be able to forcibly remove guns from their owners, at least not en masse, which is too often what such proposals seem to advocate. If the Second Amendment was repealed tomorrow and the “authorities” came to get everyone’s guns, I believe terrible bloodshed would follow. 

Asking people who own guns to voluntarily give them up is not necessarily a bad idea, but it is intrinsically illogical. If I bought it, I obviously wanted it or believed I needed it. As a person of superior morals and intellect, I need my guns, if only because I need to protect myself from “them.” So go get the guns from “them,” not me.

Or some such.

How about making it more difficult to acquire guns, particularly guns with large capacity magazines and semi-automatic capabilities? Who needs those? Why would you collect them, anyway?

Those questions are irrelevant. It’s not really any of your business as to why I need to collect guns any more than it’s any of my business why as to why you need to collect Beanie Babies, although I will concede that it is a bit more difficult to kill someone with a Beanie Baby.

On the other hand, availability and ease of acquisition are areas worthy of further exploration and inquiry. For example, I would not have a problem with requiring education and licensure as pre-requisites for gun ownership, constitutional issues notwithstanding.

Indeed, we need to iron out practicalities, but I don’t really know how to go about it. I mean, we already have background checks and waiting periods. It is already extremely difficult and onerous to own fully automatic weapons. And in the case of the recent tragedy in Florida, everybody, including the feds, already knew about the shooter -- and yet 17 funerals are underway.

Is extra security the answer? Maybe, although if I’m hell bent on shooting up a school, the first people I’m taking out are the ones who could conceivably stop me first, such as armed security personnel.

How about us Average Joe or Jane Q. Americans who responsibly exercise our constitutional right to bear arms? Surely, we could help out in a pinch?

Maybe, but I don’t have much faith in it, YouTube videos to the contrary notwithstanding. For one, how many regular folks out there really know how to deal with a rapidly unfolding active shooter situation? Unless you’ve been in combat or have otherwise extensively trained for such a scenario, my bet is you are more likely to wig, freeze, panic, or otherwise not do the right thing at the right time because you just don’t have that training and experience. You may be pretty good in a deer stand or on the range, but last time I checked, 8-point bucks and paper silhouettes don’t storm rock concerts, movie theaters or schools armed with Glocks and ARs. They don’t even shoot back.

Indeed, while I appreciate -- and share -- the pro-active “I’m not going to be a victim” attitude, I’m still not going to be betting on the average person’s ability -- mine included -- to take out the Fruit Loop Kid.

All that said, we’ve got to come up with something. A good start might be setting good examples of reasonable debate, thoughtful deliberation and most important, treating each other with basic respect.


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