Friday, October 2, 2015

Will The Incidents Of Mass Gun Violence Never End?

President Obama spoke on the tragedy yesterday in Roseburg, Oregon:

Clearly he was exasperated at having to make this speech one... more... time, one of hundreds of incidents in America this year alone, incidents which simply do not happen in great quantities in any other free and democratic society in the world... including some in which law-abiding citizens' access to guns is, in practice, no more restricted than it is in the US. We have guns; they have guns— we have rampages, episodes of mass killings using guns which American criminals seem always able to get their hands on; they do not.  (Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee criticized Obama for making this obligatory speech, which Fuckabee called political. Then again, the Guv is known for shooting... shooting off his mouth, that is.)

How many hundreds of episodes of mass homicide by firearm must we endure every year before Americans awaken to the fact that ready availability of guns, moment to moment, legally or illegally but in any case not "well-regulated," is a primary cause of these events?

Yes, I know the drill: an armed society is a polite society; if a household always has guns at hand, it can always protect itself; etc. etc. ad nauseam. The problem with all such statements is that the statistics do not bear them out: the person likeliest to be shot with a personal handgun is the gun's owner or his/her family member, and America is the only free and democratic nation that experiences hundreds of incidents of gun-inflicted mass violence every year.

And yes, I know there is a national organization that makes its bucks by scaring people into implementing the 2nd Amendment in a manner that almost guarantees repeated, frequent, terrifying incidents of mass gun violence. The problem with that org is that... do I really need to explain this one? Let me know if President Obama takes away your guns— if he actually does, maybe I'll modify my position, but I'm not holding my breath.

Chris Harper Mercer's source of guns?
At gun shows, shot happens, you know...

A personal aside: in 1990, my mother died of Alzheimer's disease. The last year before she had to be institutionalized, Mom, being a country girl by birth, started begging Dad to buy a shotgun, ostensibly because Mom was hearing prowlers around their mobile home, itself quite a way out in the country.

Now there's improved safety for you: one aged and diagnosed demented member of a household hears people who aren't there, and demands a shotgun to protect herself from those nonexistent people. Oh, yeah; having a loaded gun handy was really going to heighten the safety of everyone living in or visiting that household. Uh-huh. Right.

Dad actually handled the situation very well: given that Mom's requests for a gun were ceaseless as long as she had no gun she could see and, theoretically, put her hands on, Dad bought the gun, and a small amount of ammunition, placed the unloaded gun in plain sight in a closet at home, and hid the ammo where only he could get to it. I wasn't present for the event, but I think Dad test-fired the gun once, again in plain sight so Mom could take comfort in the fact that the gun worked. The ammo? well, that disappeared until I found it when I cleaned out the mobile home after both of them had passed away.

Upon Dad's death, I gave the gun to his next-door neighbor, who already had three hunting rifles in his house. Three guns; four guns— it was IMO unlikely he'd do more damage with four than with three.

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