sfwriter: (treadmill)
[personal profile] sfwriter
True enough, they don't, all by themselves.  (Except occasionally when they go off unexpectedly, as I hear about from time to time, but we'll set that matter aside for the sake of argument.)

However, in the current American scene, saying "Guns don't kill people, people do" is about the same as saying "Mines in a minefield that people have no choice but to walk through don't kill people; stupid destructive feet landing on mines in a minefield do."

Also, I don't know if gunfans ("If they want to murder they'll do it, with or without guns") have noticed, but it's a lot harder to kill 15 people in 3 minutes with a spork than it is with a semiautomatic weapon.  You might take one or two down before the Spork Patrol gets you, but not likely 15.

It's a jaw-dropping testament to the imperviousness of a large swath of Americans to blatant facts, that they go on and on believing that guns are perfectly safe magical objects and that all the Americans currently being killed by guns has nothing to do with guns. An Uzi can be given to an 8-year-old girl to play with on a firing range without any problem (except for her accidentally killing her trainer) or a loaded handgun can be kept on top of the fridge or in a dresser drawer or in a purse or bra (all actual cases I've heard of, among many many others).  The fact that hundreds of children as well as adults get killed or seriously injured every week in such situations is "just the price we have to pay for freedom."  The freedom to lose your child to an easily avoidable accident apparently far outweighs the freedom not to be accidentally shot (or, like last week, deliberately shot by some freedom-lover who didn't appreciate you, the waitress, telling him not to smoke in a restaurant).

Because to these people a gun is a beloved loyal friend, like a big dog, and like a big dog can unleash its teeth in your defense when needed.  It's also a magic talisman that makes you invulnerable and a massively powerful superhero.  They really seem to believe that.  They also seem to believe that while they themselves are the essence of innocence, they are surrounded by a world full of slavering, ravenous enemies.  Having weapons means that the evil Government can never take you out, as it is constantly longing to do, though forced for the moment to crouch snarling in the dark, held at bay only by your vastly superior weaponry.

And in any situation where "a bad guy with a gun" is present, like a dark movie theater or a public school, the "good guy with a gun" will always be able to shoot faster, and will always, in a scene full of running, screaming people, react instantly and logically, know exactly who to shoot, and will never hit the wrong person.  The fact that actual experiments have proven this to be the meaningless fantasy it obviously is, is completely irrelevant. Those are just facts, man.

Because for some time now in America, life has become a comic book, or a blockbuster movie, or a videogame.  Bit by bit, huddled in our various bubbles, steeped in nonstop propaganda, we've lost all contact with reality.  The magical gun fetish is only one example.  We believe in magical demonic enemies in the Middle East who will gleefully destroy us for no reason at all -- certainly nothing to do with anything we've ever done to them. Or we believe that we can magically go on acidifying the oceans and poisoning the land indefinitely without consequences, even as the consequences are piling up in mounting heaps around us (the current Syrian refugee crisis being a fortuitous combination of both).  The concept of doublethink may have been invented by a Brit, but it could not be more quintessentially American. We are the biggest, toughest, roughest, by far the most heavily armed nation in world history, and simultaneously timorous, innocent little rodents who need to spend many more billions on armaments to feel a teeny tiny bit safe.

But of course, we never will feel safe, no matter how many guns we have, because we are timorous little rodents, and nothing's going to persuade us to come out of our hole to talk, face to face, with any of those voracious, magical, demonic cats out there.

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