Monday 16 June 2014

Just because you can doesn't mean you should

Target. Chipotle. You have enough firepower to stop a charging bull elephant at a thousand yards. What exactly are you expecting? Will an argument erupt over the last remaining pair of men's black socks in size 8-13? Will somebody jump the line-up for the next available table for four by the window overlooking the garden? Even if you have the right to carry a gun, why do you feel compelled to do so?

In my piece "Guns: As American as Apple Pie" (Sep 12/2012), I discuss a news story where a gentleman accidentally discharges his licensed concealed handgun in a Wal-Mart while standing in the checkout to buy milk. Yes, milk. I raised the issue of imminent danger by asking if Wal-Mart is so dangerous, I am taking my life in my hands if I shop there. I received this comment:

Charlie said...
So, William, I suppose you don't fasten your seat belt until those few milliseconds when you know for sure you're going to be in an accident. Are you even interested in the reasons WHY people choose to carry a firearm? Or do you just get your kicks ridiculing them?

I'm sure Charlie thought he had me with the seat belt analogy. I responded:

I'm not sure that Charlie understood that the first line of his comment answered my question. Yes, America is so dangerous, I must be ready at anytime to return fire. I know there is a chance I can be in a traffic accident therefore I always wear my safety belt. Charlie is suggesting he carries a gun because his life could be in jeopardy at anytime. Fair enough. And Charlie is confirming that America is so dangerous I am risking my life every time I visit the country.

So much for home of the free.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Any takers? I didn't think so.

Open Carry Meets Stand Your Ground
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show pointed out this absurdity. Person A walks into Chipotle with his bazooka. Person B feels threatened and stands his ground. Now the Mexican Grill has been transformed into a Mexican standoff.

If one of the above yahoos had walked into Chipotle when I was there, I would have left immediately although it would be tempting to slap him silly. Everybody else is as terrorist or a deranged psycho, but Open Carry Texas wants me to believe that their members are normal, law-abiding citizens. Can you tell the difference?

Boing Boing - June 11/2014
How to Tell the Difference Between an Open-Carry Patriot and a Deranged Killer by Ruben Bolling
I apologise for any copyright infringement and will remove this immediately if so requested. It was just too good to pass up and makes an excellent point.

The Second Amendment
I've read over the text - all versions as people like to debate the significance of punctuation - and find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers intended the above two twenty-something twits to walk into a family restaurant armed to the teeth.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
-Wikipedia: Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

I have read several articles attempting to analyse the history of the second amendement.

Thomson Reuters: Legal Solutions Blog - Jan 2/2013
A right to arms? The real purpose of the Second Amendment by Jeremy Byellin

Cornell University Law School
Second Amendment

It is a confusing issue, but I return to my previous statement: I find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers intended a bunch of yahoos to walk around Target, Chipotle, or Wal-Mart as if it was the shootout at the O.K. Corral. As I wrote in my piece "Guns: As American as Apple Pie" (Sep 12/2012), is Wal-Mart so dangerous, I am taking my life in my hands when I visit the store?

Final Word
I look at the pictures of Open Carry walking around Target, Chipotle and Wal-Mart and can't help thinking that people have missed the really really big point. You think you are enjoying your freedoms but I would contend you are displaying a mindset indicative of a country in confusion. The United States has more guns per capita than any other country on the planet. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. You seem to be hitting the headlines more often than not about mass shootings or some random crazy going nuts. Is the United States that dangerous? Am I risking my life every time I visit the country? Are you risking your life every time you leave your home? If you can't buy milk at Wal-Mart without being worried about getting hurt or killed, just how free are you?


The Washington Post - May 31/2014
Weapons and mass shootings By Alberto Cuadra, Richard Johnson, Todd Lindeman, Ted Mellnik and Kennedy Elliott
Data collected by Mother Jones looking back at the weapons used in the last 30 years of mass shootings in the U.S. show that legal weapons are the norm.

my blog: Sandy Hook: What if it was your child? - Jan 17/2013
Who hasn't weighed in on this one? According to the newspaper articles, the op-ed pieces, and the countless blog postings, the two words Sandy Hook evoke all sorts of emotions. The death of an adult is tragic but the death of children, twenty of them in this case, evokes a lot of emotions. There's a visceral reaction: protect the children; get the bastards; and spare no expense.

Global News - May 26/2014
Fact-checking Michael Moore: Does Canada have more guns per capita than the US? by Deanna Grant
After the mass shooting at the University of California in Santa Barbara on May 23, filmmaker Michael Moore posted a message on Facebook repeating some of the points he made in his 2002 film Bowling For Columbine.

U.S. = 89 guns per 100 residents
Canada = 31 guns per 100 residents
U.S. = 11,000 homicides committed using firearms in 2011
Canada = 158 homicides in 2011

Wikipedia: Number of guns per capita by country
United States: 89 guns per 100 residents (2005); ranked #1 in the world

Small Arms Survey - Sep 2011 (PDF)
United States of America: 89 firearms per 100 residents; 270 million civilian firearms in total (estimated); ranked #1 in the world

Published on April 25, 2013 by maigcoalition
Cartoonists Demand Action
Come of the nation's best loved cartoonists are calling on Congress to not back down and take action to enact common sense gun laws that will prevent violence and save lives.

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by Vice
Shooting the Biggest Guns Money Can Buy | The Big Sandy Shoot
Thomas Morton gets a lesson in heavy artillery at the Big Sandy Shoot, where gun enthusiasts gather in Arizona's western desert to test their rifles, canons, and machine guns.

Wikipedia: Ruben Bolling
Ruben Bolling (born c. 1963 in New Jersey) is a pseudonym for Ken Fisher, a cartoonist, the author of Tom the Dancing Bug. His pieces demonstrate concern about the power of large corporations and satirize the way government has been corrupted by money. Particularly since 9/11, Bolling's work often concerns war. Many of his strips admit no political interpretation, instead featuring absurdist humor or parodying comic strip conventions. Bolling's lampoons of celebrity culture, such as in the parodic series of comic strips labeled "Funny, Funny, Celebs", can be scathing.


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