Doing things differently since 1984
I felt like a laugh today, so I figured I’d head to the news and see what U.S. congress was up to….
If you do the same, you’ll see the big breaking news — there’s a gun control debate going on!! Yes, that’s right, Congress is trying to put off considering the possibility of making it possible for another part of Congress to pass one or more measures that would take us half an inch forward on the mile-long hike toward BANNING ALL GUNS FOREVER!!! Geez, no wonder there are so many memes comparing Obama to one of world history’s unbeloved dictators!!
…OK, I get it. Our current digital age makes it commonplace for a small thing to drum up such an overbearing reaction. People’s self-limitations brought on by carefully selected media outlets and social circles make inklings grow into half-truths and half-truths into probable-truths and probable-truths into prophecy. I get all of that. I’m sure I fall into it too; we all do. But seriously…. this?:
That’s not happening right now. Nobody’s talking about banning guns. Nobody’s talking about taking away guns currently owned. And by the way, if we ever ended up with an actual dictator in power, with control of the whole US army, no amount of guns will save you. They have big bombs.
But anyway, while we’re at it, maybe this is a good opportunity to talk about how good of an idea some real measure of gun control would be. I feel I’m qualified to talk about this, because at different stages in my life I’ve been on both sides of the fence about it. Let’s break it down:
1. The Younger ABTwixt — Too much gun control will leave criminals with the guns and law-abiding citizens defenseless!
For a while I felt that this was a really logical argument — to be honest, I think it’s still logical. (As it turns out — and it took me a while to learn this — just because something is logically sound doesn’t make it true.) I think it’s the best argument the gun-control opposition has going for them. I completely bought into this argument for my whole life until I left the country.
What happened when I left the country? I went to the UK, a country that has banned nearly all guns since the 1990’s, and had many other gun control measures before that. And do you know what I felt there? I felt safe. Compared to my downtown-university life before that, I could detect a nearly tangible increase in my personal safety, knowing I wasn’t going to encounter any weapon that I couldn’t run from.
So what about the criminals? A few people “in the know” told me that criminals in the UK still had a way of getting guns, but you know what? Most wouldn’t dare use them in public. The smart criminals know better; the dumb ones get caught. A lot of people in the UK get beat up; a lot get stabbed; a few people even die from the above heinous acts; but there is nothing that compares with the terror that at any moment you can be killed by a single, long-range shot. Sure, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people”, but people kill people with guns much more effectively. I realized then that in the name of Self-Defense, the US was conducting an arms race against itself, at the cost of many thousands of lives.
2. The Older (but not “old”!) ABTwixt — Guns are ridiculously easy to get a hold of
OK, so I will readily admit that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the US to pull off an all-out weapons ban like the UK did. This country is too big, too porous, and too insubordinate to expect that to actually work. I’m not going to bother pushing for that here. But when you consider that it can be easier to buy a gun than a drink, you’ve got to start wondering why.
Then this latest “big news” hit, about Congress’s half-baked effort to give guns a little slap on the wrist. The outpouring of ignorance across the nation was extraordinary. It became apparent that any — and I mean any — attempt to regulate guns in any way was considered equal-enough to banning them entirely. In the words of Inigo Montoya… “I do not think it means what you think it means.” It is actually possible — and, in my opinion, necessary — to regulate guns, gun purchases, and gun ownership without getting rid of them entirely.
And so, once again, I am left wondering if my country will ever gain a bit of common sense and consider the possibility of the existence of a grey area, one that falls ingeniously between “all” and “nothing”.