From: Damien Morton (Morton@dennisinter.com)
Date: Wed Dec 13 2000 - 11:19:45 PST
Interesting that you see 'gun-owner' as a whole class of people worthy of
elevation to 'protected minority' status.
Perhaps the terms 'gun-user' or 'death-dealing-device-owner' would shed some
light on this connundrum.
Guns are primarily for killing, and every innovation in firearms throughout
their history has been to enhance their ability to do some killing. A
handgun is a specialised device for shooting other people. It has no other
purpose. You can use it as a door stop, and you make a show of hunting with
one, but its primary function will always be for shooting people. A rifle,
especially any kind of repeating rifle, from bolt action on up, is a device
for killing things, probably people. Period.
What distinguishes 'gun-owners' from other minorities is that other
minorities tend to be defined by a self-contained cultural, geographical,
religious, or philosophical background. I will conceed that 'gun-owners' are
defined by a philosophy of sorts, but it is the profound impact of their
philosphy on 'non-gun-owners' and 'non-gun-users' and
minorities and majorities that marks them out for special treatment.
Having owned and used guns myself, I will happily acknowlege the heady rush
and trepidation that accompanies handling a device that empowers you as much
as guns do. The same feeling accompanies handling a 300 year old japanese
sword that has been used to kill. Its definately intriguing and seductive. A
bit like a drug, really.
Often the argument comes up about the needs of hunters, and thats fine and
good. The way I see it, hunters should be limited to single shot weapons
(ideally muskets or bows), and should be required to store their weapons at
police stations when not in use. Im sure there would be howls of discontent
at such arrangements, but the ability to hunt would be preserved, while
managing the destructive imlements used. Neither M16s or AK47s or even
bolt-action rifles are required to maintain cultural woodsman roots.
Other times, the argument comes up about the need to be able to fight the
governement, militia and all that. Well, I look around me, at the world and
the times. I see two things. Firstly, most insurections manage to acquire
weapons if and when they need them, regardless of permissive gun laws or
not. Secondly, most insurrections fare pretty damned poorly against a well
armed and motivated millitary and political machine, and they tend to being
down all kinds of hell on their civilian populations. Not something I really
want a minority of 'gun-owners' bringing down around my ears.
So while I will conceed that 'gun-owners' do have a reasoned philosophy,
based around cultural woodsman roots, and various forms and uses of the
threat or application of lethal force using tecnologicaly advanced tools, It
is the price that that philosphy exacts on the larger society that I,
personally, am not willing to pay. It is why I am opposed to making
'gun-ownership' easy and/or prevalent.
Without bandying around any stats, I think we might be able to agree that
for every honorable 'gun-owner' there are probably several people we would
rather didnt have guns in our company. Be it criminals, unstable people, the
insane, intoxicated, desperate or whatever. I think we also might be able to
agree that a number of people get killed that wouldnt get killed if they
lived in a society with an intollerance of guns. Certainly the US has an
outrageous number of firearms deaths per year, compared to the rest of the
western world, and most of them could be termed 'unjust' and 'avoidable'.
The solution is a difficult, because firearms have an outrageously long
half-life compared to most other manufactured goods of such toxicity.
Basically a century long eradication program would be required, in which the
manufacture, repair, sale, transport etc etc of firearms and ammunition
would be, by default, outlawed for civilians. Buybacks, confiscations, and
so forth, followed by melt-downs, would used to reduce the population of
death dealing devices at an increased rate.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Stoddard [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2000 3:41 PM
> To: FoRK@xent.com
> Subject: Re: Cell phones of death!
> > Oooh! goody goody! another gun thread!
> > Bill Stoddard <email@example.com> wrote:
> > >
> > >That's a rather intolerant attitude.
> > I don't see why thinking that guns are insanely dangerous is an
> > intolerant attitude. It's not as if I'm about to fly off the handle
> > and flame you to a crisp for being a gun owner, bounce all
> your email,
> > and avoid being in the same room as you ever again? :-)
> > Tony.
> :-) Good! I rather enjoy being in the same room with you,
> regardless of what
> you believe about guns!
> Sorry if my note was overly harsh. I certainly didn't intend
> it to be a flame.
> This is an important issue for me and I am continually amazed
> at the amount of
> misinformation, character assassination, demonizing, etc.
> promulgated by much
> of the media, Chuck Schumer (NY Senator), Josh Sugarman,
> Sarah Brady, et. al.
> If anyone treated a protected/minority group with the same
> hatred as gunowners
> are faced with at the hands of these people, they would
> immediately be loudly
> and soundly criticized (as they should be). Somehow gunowners are not
> sufficiently worthy of empathy. The word 'hypocrisy' comes to
> mind and it
> pisses me off to no end :-) They have a right to their
> opinions, but when they
> lie about the issues and lie about and demonize me and people
> I know and love,
> they've stepped over the line of credability.
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