I’m not interested in using this space (or any space in my life) to demonstrate to the world what a morally superior being I am. I could protest the sadistic carnage inflicted routinely upon pencils as we grind them down to nothing, one after another… and you wouldn’t have thought of that, and your very shock would satisfy me that my conscience is lightyears ahead of yours… but I’d also be wasting your time and mine.
So for all the garbage about ending gun violence by confiscating guns. In the first place, we ARE talking about the confiscation of all guns. Every proposed half-measure I’ve heard either reveals a hopeless ignorance of firearms or else conceals the advocate’s ultimate agenda. Personally, I see no need to own an assault rifle and have no affection for the things; but if the objective were to concentrate upon the most efficient means of committing mass murder, I’d much sooner go after handguns. They’re infinitely easier to hide and to handle in a crowd, and they would prove far more difficult to grab from the muzzle-end and point harmlessly into the ground as the assailant is neutralized. Likewise for all the idiotic chatter about magazines: with a minimum of practice, anyone can learn to switch out nine-shot clips filling the pockets of a hunting vest at lightning speed. And again, with handguns, you could pack half a dozen fully loaded weapons easily on your person and not have to worry about reloading until you had squeezed off fifty to eighty rounds.
So let’s admit that, if an effective ban were possible, it would have to include all firearms of any sort. What would happen as soon as the law was passed? The outlawing of guns would produce two immediate and inevitable results: law-abiding citizens would be unarmed, and the newly illegal weapons would become extremely desirable to criminals and extremely profitable for black-market dealers. A lot of the energy currently channeled into selling illicit drugs would shift to gun-running. Cops would come under tremendous pressure to sell off some of the fruit of their raids—and just one bad apple on a local police force could provide a conduit for dozens or hundreds of weapons to enter the underworld. Another kind of rotten apple in uniform would be ever so tempted to become a streetcorner tyrant, assured that the life-and-death power riding on his hip could elicit pretty much any favor he wanted from those on his beat. I’m not knocking the boys in blue… but they’re made of flesh and blood. A confiscation of firearms would turn us into Mexico overnight, with so much gang violence and police corruption that we would have to declare martial law and essentially wage a civil war.
But why might we not, instead, look like England or France, where private ownership of guns is largely confined to the rural farmer’s fowling piece and where shootings are almost unheard-of? Because European countries do not have wide-open two-thousand-mile borders; because European population centers are so cramped that a dozen pairs of eyes would certainly see you carrying a weapon from the boot of your Austin scrunched in along the sidewalk to your fifth-story flat; because European criminals have developed other deadly means of imposing their will; and because the European rank-and-file don’t possess the means to purchase much of anything off the black market (almost half of Germany’s Turkish “refugees” live exclusively off the guaranteed minimum income doled out by a lunatic government). And Europe also doesn’t have three million weapons already adrift in the private sector, by the way.
Hey, I have no affection for the AR-15, as I’ve said. Go ahead and confiscate them all: make my day. But your round-up will accomplish absolutely nothing in terms of reducing school shootings—will indeed probably initiate a series of better planned, more deadly events. I’m convinced that the only reason every punk psycho chooses an assault rifle for the prosecution of his rampage is because of their mystique… and with regard to the origin of this mystique, is anyone among the gun-grabbing crowd interested in discussing the role of Hollywood and the “entertainment” media? I thought not.
I was telling a colleague yesterday that I am hearing commentators discuss the Israeli method of securing schools—i.e., reducing and rigorously policing points of entry and egress—for the first time. Yet I checked my enthusiasm in mid-sentence. I’m glad that Israel has effectively eliminated schools as targets… but any time you create a specific design and follow a specific protocol, you expose yourself to being disastrously outwitted. A determined terrorist (as opposed to a dumb punk) will use your routine against you, for you have made yourself predictable. The best defense is actually an irreducible element of the unpredictable—of chaos. In our schools, I don’t see how this element can be anything other than the presence of an unknown number of faculty and staff carrying concealed handguns.
The critics of such proposals strike me as the most unhinged participants one hears in this cacophony of screams and accusations. The very thought of armed teachers somehow stains the mission of education beyond redemption, even if the guns are concealed. Here we draw uncomfortably close to my satirical protest on behalf of pencils. If you really believe that your child’s teacher may be tempted to go Wyatt Earp on a bad day, then why would you trust him in the chem lab with toxic chemicals? Why would you trust him behind the wheel of a bus? What if he decides to gun his truck through a mass of students compressed in the parking lot during a fire drill?
There was similarly insane resistance to pilots protecting their cockpit by carrying weapons after 9/11. You don’t trust your pilot? Then why are you in his plane? A couple of years back, a depressed young pilot nosed his passenger liner into the Swiss Alps, killing all on board. At least he didn’t have a gun!
My vote is that we not attempt to construct Utopia on the bodies of sacrificed children as if we were breaking eggs to make an omelette. The brave new world without homicidal weapons or homicidal thoughts can begin some time after I take down the butcher who’s waving a rifle at my child. As a matter of fact, it really might begin right now. Why don’t we start by outlawing the slaughter of unborn babies in their mother’s womb?