Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arms and the Man, and the Boy

  "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival." 

That's an excerpt from a fund-raising letter by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, which received wide and wide-eyed attention last week.  The organization's response to the whispered phrase "gun control" is to scream "Guns compulsory!"  Anyway, they've never been accused of subtlety.

I'm confused.  On the one hand, the Government is huge, powerful, intrusive, and bent on controlling every aspect of our lives.  Paratroopers, Navy SEALs, UN helicopters and ATF agents are just over the horizon, awaiting Obama's order to haul us all off to FEMA camps for re-education and a punitive diet of organic broccoli and Dreams From My Father.  On the other hand, we are one bad storm away from hunkering down in our homes, fending off gangs of heavily armed "Latin American" zombie drug gangs.  Oh, and Hamas.

Well, which is it?  Tyranny or anarchy?  A two-minute flip through the dictionary tells us it can't be both.  Are we living in Airstrip One or some post-apocalyptic Weimar Republic?  Is Wayne ThePeter too dumb to see this giant contradiction?  Or is he hoping the recipients of his mail are too dumb?

Last week the world was stunned when Oskar Pistorius was arrested in South Africa for murdering his girlfriend.  Also last week, a four-year-old boy in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, got hold of his mother's  gun and killed himself.  His story was not reported nationally.  He was not a famous athlete or the son of a celebrity.  He was not part of a group of twenty.  He had not performed at the Inauguration.  He was just an ordinary little boy who is now a statistic.  There is a lot of crime in South Africa, and in Memphis.  In fact, just about anywhere there is poverty, there is crime.  Perhaps a loaded gun in the bedside table is not the answer to either problem.  Nobody is even talking about restricting access to handguns.  What would be the point?  So a child will not celebrate his fifth birthday, and a man the world admired has very likely thrown his life away.  "It's not paranoia to buy a gun.  It's survival."

For who?     



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