December 15, 2012

Acceptable Losses

Every mass shooting in the United States has predictable responses: the insistently religious claim it's because "God isn't allowed in schools" (or occasionally because rock and roll); the freakishly paranoid tremble and roar about how it's a government plot; and the gun fans will say that it's because more people weren't armed.

Then there's the other side: gun control advocates, promoting the idea of not making actually it easier to carry handguns around, or for more people to gain access to semi-automatic weapons for no reason other than they want them.  Naturally, these folks are opposed every time by the NRA.  In fact, anything proposed about guns outside of making them easier to get, modify, and use is staunchly opposed by the NRA; and if the track record is any indication, they've won.  In fact, they've won so decisively, I've taken the opportunity to draft their victory letter:

"Dear America:

We win.

The open ridicule that people who want to bring up gun control are subjected to is a clear indicator of our victory, and for that we thank you.  After all the shootings that have occurred since Columbine, way back in 1999, it has become easier to get semi-automatic assault rifles - something we have fought for.  Concealed-carry laws are now in place in all 50 states, meaning anyone can carry a handgun into nearly any building without anyone being the wiser - laws we have worked hard to have enacted.  The ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and there was no political will to reinstate it - something we have ensured with constant lobbying and our reputation as one of the strongest special interest groups in America.

Again, we thank you.  Because we know why these laws have been stopped, weakened, or reversed: you wanted it that way.

I've heard it said that we, the NRA, is 'okay with these deaths', and I want to make it emphatically clear: NO ONE is "okay" with murder.  We are NOT 'okay' with the slaughter of children or innocent people, and no one ever should be.  But there is a difference between being "okay" with senseless violence, and accepting them.  Yes, these are murder victims; but they are also acceptable losses.

Every freedom we have comes at a cost.  Automobile manufacturers are NOT 'okay' with over 30,000 deaths a year on American roads, but since that is the cost of having vehicles available to the general population, it is acceptable.  The alcohol industry is NOT "okay" with 35,000 people per year dying directly from misuse of their products, but with no public outcry about those deaths, they are acceptable.  Those numbers are simply accepted as part of the cost of the freedoms they are a result of.  The population of America has shrugged their collective shoulders, wept for the dead, and moved on.

Some people insist on calling guns 'tools', which is somewhat disingenuous: a gun is a tool like a crossbow is a hammer, or a sword is a drill.  Guns do two things: they kill things and they entertain us.  (Did you think I was going to say "protect people"?  They do protect people of course: by killing, or threatening to kill, other people.)  When guns are used properly in their primary job, they kill things.  When they are used incorrectly, they often still kill things, just accidentally.  Hunting rifles or shotguns, the only two weapon types that could conceivably be called "tools", are almost never brought up by gun control advocates, yet they are an excellent straw man for us to defend - it's SO much easier to get rational people on your side when you can put a reasonable, law abiding hunter in front of the camera instead of an army dropout who thinks camo is formal attire and Red Dawn is a predictive documentary.

Of course, some people will point out that when gun owners are asked about gun control, it seems the majority hugely support common sense laws: like requiring background checks, or preventing people charged with violent misdemeanors or federal offenses from getting guns.  But thanks to us, what we say is more important than what gun owners themselves say.  After all, it's not gun owners who have lobbyists in Capitol Hill, it's us - the NRA.  We just happen to use their money and the threat a 4-million strong membership can imply to someone running for (re)election.

And what WE say is that any legislation of any kind, whether it makes sense or not, is an assault on the rights of all gun owners and thus all Americans.  And the people believe us.  We don't know why, but they do.

And for that, we thank you."


posted by Thursday at 8:25 pm


Blogger Thursday said...

Damnit! Now I see Tom Tomorrow went and made the exact same point I've been trying to get to over the past 48 hours...

9:13 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

...And link to one of my favourite comments about gun control so far:

"This was in a combat zone. Yet I have spent the last two fucking days dealing with armchair commandos telling me they need unlimited firepower to be safe in… Connecticut."

9:54 pm  
Blogger Jake Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:37 am  

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