Tumblr Sloth Unleashed joins the leftoid outrage over the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords, linking to Bob Duggan at Big Think, who waxes lyrically deprecating over the “gun culture” and the “culture of violence”, and joins the chorus of accusations that “imagery” is to blame:
What does all this talk of images of guns have to do with today’s shooting? Did the assailant or assailants fall under the sway of this imagery? It’s too early to know for sure, but what is certain is the role that gun imagery played in the recent election Congresswoman Giffords won by an eyelash over her Tea Party challenger.
Bah. Weapon-related metaphors for goals or intent are not just common, they are everywhere on all sides of any issue, and that goes back ‘way before guns were even around. If Og the Cave Man wanted to hit something with a rock, that something was a “target”. The purpose of the shrieking, over-the-top hysteria, beyond immediate character assassination for political purposes, is of course to support more and stronger efforts to get rid of guns and the “culture of violence” — or so they claim. The reality is quite different.
Hey, leftoids: The problem is that when your aspirations are for things that aren’t possible, and you force them anyway, the result is almost guaranteed to be worse than the original problem.
Guns are simple. I live in a town of about 15,000 people, forty miles from the nearest metropolitan area, and I personally know at least ten people who have the machines necessary to build guns from slabs of metal. One of them is my part-time employer; another is a full-up computerized manufacturing facility that could turn them out by thousands after a week or so of setup time; two more are machine shops that could do it by dozens; several are private individuals who have machine tools for hobby purposes, or pick up extra cash for making prototypes or short runs of production for bigger companies. This is not unusual. The United States was for a long time a major manufacturing nation, and still does quite a lot of it. Lathes and milling machines ranging from old manuals still in working condition to second-line computer-driven ones are common everywhere. A machinist who knew what he was doing — there are a lot of them, many at loose ends nowadays — could set up to build guns by the hundred for about the price of a new car.
Ammunition is barely more complex. The necessary raw materials are available at hardware stores and garden centers in fifty-pound bags or can be delivered in ton lots. A machine to make it in quantity is, again, well within the capabilities of any competent machinist. Never forget that guns were very early technology. People were making repeating arms and the ammunition for them long before the Civil War, using machines a hobby woodworker would sneer at today — and those designs (and many of the guns) are still perfectly workable.
Not that it’s necessary. There are millions, possibly billions, of guns already made and in the hands of Americans, and further billions available from other countries. The bit about “American guns flooding into Mexico” isn’t just a lie, it’s a stupid lie. A Mexican wanting a gun can go to great lengths to circumvent American law to pay $500 for a gun — or contact a dealer from any of ten countries and pay $50 for it. In his place, which would you pick?
Getting rid of guns is about like getting rid of rats — you may succeed in a small area, but for the country as a whole it’s nowhere near possible, and for the world, fuhgeddaboudit.
This case inflames concern because it’s massively public and has political implications. Nine-year-old girls get graunched all the time, and it happens just as often if not more so in places where guns are (theoretically) strictly controlled as it does in places where they’re common and freely available.
The solution, if there is one, is education and acceptance. An automobile has fifty to a hundred times the power of any gun made. You cross the street, feeling yourself perfectly safe, despite having half a dozen 100KW bludgeons aimed at you, and drive with confidence when any of the other drivers could reduce you to bloody pulp with a twitch of the steering wheel. That’s because we have customs and protocols, both social and legal, that allow us to use powerful (and therefore deadly) machines in public without mass murder. We have to. The machines we use to make our lives easier and more rewarding all have substantial power and are therefore dangerous if misused, but doing without them would mean killing off 99% of the population and reducing the rest to living in holes in the ground. “Weapon” is a state of mind, not a technical category, and part of living in an industrial society is that every one of us constantly handles things that could be used as deadly weapons without serious thought.
Guns are a special case, you say, and that’s true. A gun’s only purpose is violence. There’s a hook in that, and it’s the reason guns are so desired by so many people as to generate trade in the billions. A gun is a tool for dealing with violence, but violence doesn’t need guns. A 100 lb. woman faced with a 200 lb. rapist is in much better case if she has a gun and knows how to use it; a householder wakened in the night by the sound of tire-tools breaking the door is safer if there’s a gun on the night-stand; a convenience store clerk with a gun under the counter is much less likely to be robbed, raped, or murdered, as demonstrated in Albany, Georgia just a few days ago. In an ideal world everybody in Rep. Giffords’s audience would have had a gun, and would be familiar and comfortable with it and restrained by custom and respect for law from using it inappropriately. In that atmosphere the assassin would have lasted only a few seconds — and he would have known that that was the case before starting, and would have been deterred thereby from the attempt.
Far-fetched, you say? Certainly it isn’t possible while people are waxing near-hysterical about “gun culture” and “violent imagery”, but consider — nearly 100% of our society is literate, a skill much more difficult to acquire than gun use, and automobile use is common without massive outrages being perpetrated by drivers. This points to at least the possibility of the population learning to use guns responsibly, where getting rid of them is so difficult as to deserve the sobriquet “impossible” and getting rid of violence in general is not going to happen as long as some people are bigger and stronger than others. We all have to learn to use dangerous machines responsibly in order to live in industrial society. A gun is a member of the set “dangerous machines”.
It is politicians that are the special case. A politician, by definition, is or wants to be part of the Government, and Government tells people what to do and enforces those decrees with arms. The policeman’s gun is not a fashion accessory! As a member of the Left, you not just ask but demand that the productive and fortunate yield up their possessions to benefit The Poor And Downtrodden. When the Enforcers visit people who resist those exactions they will do so with guns to back up the demand, and you are just as much a user of those guns as if you had your hand on the grip and your finger on the trigger. You are just too delicate and pusillanimous to do it in your own person, so you have to recruit and send people who are less picky to do it for you. And how do you expect to “get rid of guns”? You’re going to send people with guns to take the guns away!
It is you, not I as a responsible gun owner, who demands perpetuation of the “culture of violence” in order to gain your ends. I can get what I want without raising a finger, let alone a firearm, if you and your fellows will just leave me alone. You can’t get what you want without messing with me, with violence, including gun violence actual or threatened, to back it up — and more and more of us are coming to the conclusion that the point of your effort is to make it safer and easier for you and your goons to mess with us. You don’t want to get rid of guns, and you’re a liar for saying you do. What you want is to have all the guns in your own hands and those of the enforcer-goons you hire to do your dirty work.