Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why We No Longer Deserve Nice Things, #3

A few weeks ago, a young man named James Eagan Holmes entered a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and opened fire with a variety of weapons including an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, a Remington 870 shotgun and a 40-caliber Glock pistol.  All of these weapons, his equipment (reports state that he wore a ballistic helmet, vest and gas mask) and his ammunition were all purchased legally.

That includes a 100-round drum magazine for the AR-15.

I've stated before on this blog (back after the Virginia Tech shootings) that high-capacity magazines are good for only one thing, and that it to enable you to fire as many bullets as possible before reloading.  Leaving aside the stupidity of having an AR-15 for hunting purposes, if you need 100 shots to bring down a deer you may as well stop hunting altogether.

Now, high-capacity magazines and assault rifles were briefly banned in the United States, and a ban on such weapons was briefly discussed in the wake of the twelve deaths in Aurora (now thirteen; one of the survivors has miscarried).

Enter US Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin.  In a riposte to a proposed bill by Senators Lautenburg of New Jersey and Feinstein of California, he stated that banning or limiting high-capacity magazines would infringe on our Constitutional rights.

Most people have never had shots fired back at them in anger, apart from the military and law enforcement, so under stress a lot of people immediately adopt the Imperial Stormtrooper School of Marksmanship dictum of spray and pray, as illustrated thus:

All those shots, at that range, and all the man managed was to wound the two would-be robbers. NJ Governor Chris Christie went a step further, accusing Lautenburg of grandstanding and saying that it was too soon to discuss gun control.

Well, Governor, how about now?

And now we have Associate US Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Fat Tony" Scalia on Fox, holding forth on gun control.  What's very telling is that he suggests that hand-held rocket launchers may, in fact and in law, be considered protected under the Second Amendment - because, being hand-held, could fall under the idea of "bearing arms."
But how would the Court decide on that?  "Very carefully."

I don't want to see the first test case of that bit of strict constructionism gone horribly awry.  Fat Tony, Johnny Two-Face and Sammy the Weasel were major mistakes on the part of the Senate, and should never have been confirmed.

But they're there now, for life.  We're stuck with them (and never mind the hard right's calls for Johnny Two-Face to be impeached - it ain't gonna happen, kids).

There is a multiple-victim shooting in the United States roughly every week, somewhere in the country.

And don't give me that shit about "Well, cars kill more people than guns, so we should outlaw driving." 


A car's intended purpose is to get you from Point A to Point B, preferably with air conditioning and a good sound system.  A gun's intended purpose is to kill.  That's what it's made for, that's what it does, and many of them are good at it.

So we avoid a reasonable public discourse on gun control in this country.  Our politicians are afraid to say anything for fear of being terrorized by the NRA, and besides (says Governor Christie) it's not time yet.

But when the next cranky loser with a legal gun permit and a legal arsenal starts shooting up the next crowded theater or Luby's Restaurant or McDonald's or school, should we act all surprised?

And that's another reason we no longer deserve nice things.


Blogger dukuhead said...

i always thought it strange that after so many shootings, the US govt would still not ban its citizens from carrying firearms. I understand that the gun industry lobby is a very powerful group and the US Constitution however out-dated it may be, allows US citizens to carry firearms. But things are really getting out of hand. The right to safety is surely as important, if not more important, than the right to bear arms, yes?

2:17 AM EDT  

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