Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Cold Dead Fingers of the NRA

I should say, at the outset, I am not one of those who is convinced that banning the sales of assault rifles will prevent any of the many sorts of gun violence we have in this country, either the garden variety ghetto hand gun murders of drug dealers and patrons or the schoolyard/movie theater massacres. 

But as a confused white man, I am struck by the vehemence with which gun owners (some gun owners) meet any suggestion they may have to register/license their guns or be unable to buy new guns.

Take their sons from them with a draft, and send them around the world to bleed and die--no problem. Take away the Medicare they've paid for for years, well, we need to do something to balance the budget.  Drag their neighbor's son or daughter into the local police station and strip search them for having rolled through a stop sign--well, only criminals are ever arrested.  Tell them they cannot form a union, or break the union they have at work, well unions are for losers, who needs 'em? Pay their wives half of what their male co workers make? Well, women are lucky to get out of the house and have any job. Tell your wife and daughter they should not have contraception or abortion--well, that's just morality.

But as soon as you mention any sort of gun control: Explosion. It's as if you have struck the deepest blow against the integrity of the human being you can strike. 

In Arizona, a gun buy back program was set for a parking lot near where Congresswoman Giffords was shot, on the anniversary of her shooting and local NRA members launched a lawsuit to prevent it. The idea was to reduce the number of guns floating around--a fool's errand, I suspect, but a symbolic gesture--and the symbolism struck home in the NRA heart. The law says if you seize property, you have to put it up for public sale, so the guns would have to be marketed back to the public once the police acquired them, NRA members argued. 

It's the old, "You will take my gun away from me when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." 

What is it about gun owners that this object is so vehemently defended? Why is the response some form of verbal violence? You will start a revolution, you ever try that! There will be blood in the streets, you try that!  You come for my gun, you better dig two graves, first, buddy! I'm going down blazing! 

One gets the feeling you could take their newborn babes from their arms with less complaint than you'd get than if you try to take away their Glocks, Sig Sauers, AR-15's and AK-47's.

Drag my wife and daughters off to human traffickers; burn down my house; drive my pick up truck off a cliff, I can forgive you and I can live with that, but just don't even think about taking my gun or I will slit the throats of your entire family, blow up your home, set fire to your body and desecrate your family tombstones. 

Is this violent verbal response a marker for an underlying pathology?  Are the individuals who brandish the threat the very people who should never be allowed to lay hands on weapons of significant destruction?

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