There’s been a lot of gun talk recently since the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher and the recent Florida murder of Jordan Davis by a Michael Dunn, who claimed to be defending himself from nefarious teens with loud music. In fact, maybe it’s me, but it seems that senseless deaths and massacres were the big gun stories this year. And now, of course, Fox has to go and offer their take on this very touchy issue. A lot of people on Facebook are also running to the protection of these defenseless firearms.
Let’s start with the conservative right-wing noise machine, though. It’s black people’s fault. I’m not even joking about this. Just take a look here. Also, check out the flippant way Gutfield here just dismisses kids being killed by guns as just gang members killing each other off.
Gun violence is an “urban problem,” just some kids in gangs shooting each other. Sorry, but that’s crap. Statistically, rural areas, especially in the south, have higher instances of gun violence than urban areas. Of course, whenever someone at Fox says “urban,” you know what they really mean. It’s the same position they had regarding welfare. The one where they said welfare was hurting the black community.
The conservative circle-jerk, though, got ugly when Fox suggested that female victims of violence should just make better decisions. The advice was not, you know, for men to stop being violent. Or for us to find the root cause of all this violence in our country. Nope. Blame the victim.
This dribble from Fox would be offensive and rage-inducing enough, but I also saw something floating around Facebook over the last few days. Feast your eyes:
Wow. Yeah. Uhm, baseball bats?
Sorry, but no cigar.
Here are the realstats according to those organizations. You may notice that blunt objects account for a VERY small part of this and firearms account for more than two thirds of the total. The graph on Facebook uses some weird Martian math we humans haven’t perfected yet, but the bottom line is that guns help crimes. You want to talk about the Second Amendment and its role in helping citizens defend themselves? Wonderful, but don’t tell me bats kill more people than guns. Don’t tell me people go on mass batting sprees. Don’t tell me children get killed by not knowing how to use a bat.
First of all, a gun is a weapon, not a tool. A car is designed to move people and good from one point to another. Its status as a “killer” on that list is because people don’t properly use them. It’s intended purpose is transport. The same thing goes for a knife. Drug abuse and falls hurt the person too stupid to know what he or she is doing. Drugs, I might add, are also used for religious ceremonies in certain cultures. And many of the things on that list are ACCIDENTS. How many gun deaths are from accidents? How many are intentional? That’s another huge difference.
When properly used, a gun kills something. When improperly used, a gun kills something. It’s a weapon. See the difference?
If we’re going to have the gun discussion, we need to all be on the same page of reality. Stop talking about guns as though they were some holy artifact of American pride. A gun is not a tool. It is a weapon. Firearms have been involved in more deaths than any other weapon and our country has the highest homicide rates in the modern world. Areas with the most lax gun laws have higher homicide rates. Most NRA members support tougher gun laws, registration, and background checks, but the idiots at the top (including Ted Nugent) say “No” because if we can track guns and make sure criminals have a harder time getting to them, then apparently scary Obama and the communists will invade America.
Yes, there is such a thing as a responsible gun owner, but a responsible gun owner should also be aware of the damage that a firearm can do. The bulk of the NRA knows this and wants tougher gun laws. Believe it or not, I’m pro-Second Amendment, but I’d like to make it harder for sickos to buy a thousand rounds of ammo before they shoot up a school. I’d like to know convicted criminals can’t get their hands on a Beretta. I want to know that if someone owns a gun, he or she is well-trained and continues to be well-trained. You have to at least be able to read a sign to drive a car, but apparently, asking for mental stability when purchasing an item that is strictly a weapon is a sign of fascism.
A gun isn’t a blanket. Stop clinging to it like a five-year old.
Why do we need guns? Because others have guns! Makes sense, right?
July 25, 2012
The shootings in Aurora, Colorado have once again brought up the debate about gun control, and once again, the Right is shrieking that it’s being persecuted all because someone used the laws they passed and killed a dozen people.
Let’s get a few things out of the way first.
I am pro-second Amendment. I believe it’s a good idea to be able to own guns. I understand hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage and can exist without animosity or hate towards others. However, I also have the capacity for critical thinking.
And the NRA and pro-gun lobby are dangerously wrong on a lot of points. And poor me, all I have is documented evidence instead of calls to fear and persecution.
The idea that some lone hero could stop these tragedies lies with our romantic notion of the lone gunslinger, the brave soul who steps up and solves the problem before it starts.
Consider this. Katie Pavlich was in a church when an armed assailant went in with the intent to kill. She put him down before he initiated a massacre. Sounds like a great argument for being able to own guns and take them anywhere, right? One problem, though. Pavlich was an armed security guard hired by the church. Yes, a gun stopped the massacre, but that’s because she and her team knew who was and wasn’t supposed to have a firearm inside. Plus, they were on watch. In the middle of a chaotic shooting, if more than one person is firing, how are bystanders going to know who to shoot at?
Also, remember that human reaction time is roughly a third of a second, but if everyone had a gun, this might offset that sort of delay, right?
A few years ago, an armed assailant got the jump on four police officers. Who were armed. And MAYBE managed to hit him once before he ran off. You can only react so fast. You’d have to be actively looking for trouble, but even then, having more guns on the scene is not a good thing.
During the Gabrielle Giffords shooting last year, multiple civilians had firearms on the scene. It didn’t stop the shooter, and one of the supposed heroes almost got shot himself. Joe Zamudio rushed someone else that had already disarmed the shooter… and nearly killed the wrong man. By Zamudio’s own admission, it was a stroke of pure luck that kept him from executing an innocent bystander. A lot of people made a big deal that Zamudio had a gun and he helped stop the shooter. True, he did, but he didn’t use his gun. The gun had no direct impact on his actions. In fact, the gun just made him more confident he would be safe and he wasn’t shot at. In the end, it wasn’t the firearms that helped stop the shooter. It was sheer guts and courage. The gun almost resulted in MORE death.
Let me put it another way. This is a loaded example, but follow me on this. When we developed nuclear weapons, we didn’t say that every country should have them. We still don’t think some countries should even THINK of developing them. We didn’t go out and give everyone the plans to make sure we could police each other. I don’t think ANYONE thinks giving North Korea or Iran is the best way to make sure we’re safe. A nuclear weapon is designed to kill. A gun is designed to kill. I don’t see a huge difference in why we want to limit one but not the other.
“Banning guns will just keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.”
First of all, I’m not saying we should ban guns. I’d just like to know that people with guns are not convicted felons. Take cars, for example. In order to drive, you have take a test, show you are capable of maneuvering a ton of steel of flammable fuel, and get insurance and registration in case anything should happen. Last year, we had 32,000 automotive fatalities in this country. Compare that to roughly the same number of gun-related deaths in the same time period. How much lower could that second number be if we actually forced people to receive proper training and get licensed?
When people died in car accidents, someone realized we could build a strap to help keep people from flying out the window. Then someone came up with the air bag. Then someone thought about including crumple zones and all manner of technology. Now, we can’t legally text and drive. With cars, we’ve made the machine safer and instituted penalties for reckless usage.
It’s not like we say we need more drivers on the road to corral bad drivers if they get out of hand. We don’t ask soccer moms in SUVs to push drink drivers to the side of the road. Why are we asking everyone else to be cowboys when it comes to guns?
“We need to trust our citizenry to get trained and be responsible. It’s up to the individual to make these choices.”
The right to own a gun is not the same as magically acquiring responsibility, much like turning 21 doesn’t automatically mean you know how to drink responsibly. It’s the reason we don’t allow things like drunk driving and go after drunk drivers HARD. We’ve shown time and time again that left to their own choices, people are outright stupid. I’m not advocating government control of our lives. I don’t think Big Brother should be monitoring our love lives, our search history, or whether or not we just mouth the pledge of allegiance. I don’t think the government should have a hand in every business…
But I also think we need monitoring and regulatory agencies to make sure companies don’t dump poisons into the air and water and pay fair wages while not abusing employees.
There’s a reason we enacted these laws, and yet when it comes to technology that allows one person to shoot one hundred people in a crowded theater, we don’t bat an eyelid. We just say, “Oh, the people who were shot should have brought guns too.”
Yes, America wants more gun control and restrictions. The NRA is the one that wields a megaphone, but being loud and being right are not the same thing. This isn’t an appeal to the masses, either. If the question comes down to a vote, the majority wins and we get more gun control.
“Even if we change the laws, we can’t round up all the guns out there. It would be impossible.”
There are a lot of guns out there. There are people who have purchased extended magazines for pistols. There are people that bought assault weapons. There are collectors who have a dozen or more guns in their homes. They bought all these things legally.
Changing the law won’t mean they have to give them back if we word this right. The easiest thing would be to outlaw the sale of certain magazines and weapons after a certain date. Those bought before that date would still be legal, but perhaps restricted. Possibly transporting them or re-selling them would be an issue, but the point is to not keep making the same mistake just because we can’t undo the past.
This is like saying, “Well, we can’t pay back all these people for slavery, so why get rid of slavery?”
Small changes add up.
“Gun control is not the issue. We need to address drug regulation/ fear/ mental health/ etc.”
Banning certain types of firearms or making it difficult for someone to stock up on 6,000 rounds of ammo and enough guns to take on a Terminator may not stop the whackos, the lunatics, the crazies, and the criminals from finding them through less legal means… but it will certainly stop other, less-determined idiots.
Yes, we should address the root causes of this violence, but in the meantime, we can make it harder for one lunatic to wipe out a room full of people in ten seconds. It’s like saying we shouldn’t focus on AIDS treatments since we should be looking for a cure.
“The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. How dare we interfere with this fundamental right?”
I’m always dumbstruck by people who fall back on the argument that the Founders did this and the Constitution says this so it must be right. Why? What made the Founders these pillars of wisdom and common sense? They had some wonderful ideas, but they were a very diverse lot. Some wanted more state’s rights. Others thought the federal government should have final control over the states. Others thought only white men should vote.
Looking back at the fact that Americans in the 1770’s could own flintlocks and using that as the basis for allowing every citizen to buy assault weapons, extended magazines, or who knows what else misses the point. We’re all adults. We can ask if freedom of expression should protect people who yell “Fire” in a crowded theater.
That means we can also ask if we should allow everyday citizens to purchase weapons that can empty a thirty-plus round magazine in two seconds. I seriously doubt deer have equivalent firepower.
And, on another, note, people like the gentleman in this article that says he would feel naked without his ammo and guns scare me. They’re basically saying that they feel wrong about something, so it must be true. That’s not an argument. That’s an opinion. Give me facts, damn it!
Look, Obama is not coming for our guns. The United Nations is not going to ban firearms. Hunting will still be allowed. I and people like me want background checks. We want a red flag to go up whenever someone buys thousands of rounds of ammo. At the very least, we’d like to know the people who purchase and own a handgun are competent, well-trained individuals who can be punished for misusing their newfound power.
In the end, though, this debate comes down to fear. The NRA and extreme gun-nuts are afraid they won’t have their dick-extenders to hold on to while they watch Fox.
Food, camping supplies, and firearms with ammo. Sad thing? You can buy all of this at Wal-Mart in one trip.
May 29, 2012
The last few weeks, I’ve spent a little time researching disaster scenarios and post-apocalyptic plans from everything from FEMA to hard-core survivalists. I’ve seen places that buy emergency food stashes and companies that will turn that nice home of yours into an armored fortress with a secret underground level that will sustain you and your loved ones for months after the bombs drop.
Of course, it’s not all survivalist fringe cases. I’ve also been looking at documentaries on real-life disasters and looking up how people survive in a place without resources, everything from water to total anarchy resulting from a collapsed government or even a collapsed biosphere. I’ve been doing this for two reasons: the upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG I’m running and a story I’m thinking of expanding into a full-blown novel. Mary has also been outlining a story that takes place after a so-far-undisclosed catastrophe. All in all, it’s been very informative.
I’ve also grown to expect the complete collapse of society at any moment.
Our finances are in the toilet, we’re using 99% of the available growing space on Earth and can’t feed everyone, the environment is heading downhill, and interconnectivity has made us more vulnerable to a world-wide catastrophe than ever before. In a way, I understand the people who hoard food and bullets. There are courses for teens, parents, people in urban areas, etc. Some of the things these sites suggest make sense. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, for example, keep plenty of food and water and other supplies in case of a prolonged scenario.
I understand all that. It’s a scary world.
What I still don’t understand is the mentality that this sort of preparation must be done 24/7. I’ve come across more than a few sites and books that all made the claim that we need to disaster-proof every aspect of our lives. We should hoard water and food and guns and bullets RIGHT NOW. Everything we do must be geared towards survival.
I’ll admit that knowing what to do in a disaster and being prepared are one thing, but I’m not about to spend my life getting ready for something that may never happen. I would rather have preparations to survive and live than prepare for something that may never happen. Glenn Beck made a living out of telling people they had to prepare for the impending holocaust that liberalism would bring. In uncertain times, people can easily pitch relief, information, or affirmation.
My take on all this? Have a plan, have supplies, know what to do, and then go out and live.
With that said, I’m going to leave you with a little music for the end of the world. Enjoy.
Who needs a gun when you can summon a demon from the Abyss to crush your enemies?
November 30, 2011
It’s no secret that I like me some fantasy. I started out and still love science fiction, though, and you’ll find most fans have a nice overlap in their tastes like this. Sword and sorcery is awesome, especially if I can make it part of an Saturday RPG session. However, one thing that’s always bothered me is the lack of guns in fantasy.
Please note that I am not advocating gun use or gun control or anything like that. I’ve always just wondered why fantasy in general, even in stories set within a medieval time period where gunpowder could exist, shy away from firearms. Science fiction isn’t shy about including “magic” like the Force, so why is fantasy afraid of technology?
Historically, firearms have existed in one way or another for hundreds of years. Everything from single-shot hand-cannons to rocket-powered arrows made a bang on the battlefield, even if they weren’t primary weapons. Most of us probably know early firearms as the slow-loading muskets and flintlocks from old Revolutionary War movies and Three Musketeers. For most fantasy stories, a bow or a crossbow will do.
There’s something elegant about an archer with a bow, so I can see why a black powdered-fueled firearm seems clunky and overtly modern. Even a crossbow looks too much like a gun. Some writers and players want that feel of agelessness that bows and a gun-free world evoke. Imagine the elves in Lord of the Rings wielding muskets or shotguns instead of bows and arrows. It might look awesome, but it would also be noisy and time-consuming to shoot and reload.
There are valid reasons for not using firearms in fantasy, though. Some people believe they led to the death of the knight and all those wonderful medieval combat clichés we’ve all come to know and love (they didn’t, but contributed). Say goodbye to shining armor and clanging swords. Who needs those when you can shoot a .70 caliber ball of lead at your enemy from fifty yards away? There goes the one-on-one duel. Likewise, firearms are more closely tied in with modern times. Even though gunpowder and gunpowder-based weapons have been around since the 14th century, we still mostly associate them modern war. Of course, all this is moot if, in your fantasy world, magic has advanced to the point where wands and spellcasters can rain eldritch homicide on their enemies. Firearms maybe accessible… but why use them?
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Plenty of fantasy uses firearms. Urban fantasy justifies it by usually being set in a modern world. The Harry Dresden series, for example, has the titular wizard carry a gun to deal with threats magic can’t handle or if he tires himself out. Likewise, Final Fantasy hasn’t shied away from guns, either. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has the main character be a gunslinger who would be right at home in an old Western (except for the whole End of the World and different realities thing).
It just depends on flavor. For example, in my own Dungeons and Dragons game, I’ve always been interested in introducing firearms, but making them one-shot weapons that have to be reloaded more slowly than a bow and arrow. I don’t want to get rid of the sword, shield, and bow and arrow, but I want to show a world in transition. Eventually, I’d like to actually have something like the Old West… but not yet.
Besides, it’s FANTASY. If you want to have samurai swords and revolvers next to each other, why not? If in your world, dwarves use shotguns heavy enough to double as warhammers, what’s going to stop you? Me? I’m thinking of actually writing up rules for firearms in 4E in maybe selling that pdf at some point. Don’t hold your breath, though…
In the meantime, let’s enjoy a trailer for a movie that takes this kind of genre-bending to heart, shall we?