Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Now is NOT the Time to Go Gun Crazy!

 While it is fully understandable people exposed to the Theater massacre story would get anxious about their future safety, it is somewhat unseemly to behold the haste with which many embrace more guns as the solution. Indeed, I've even beheld commentators - in the Miami Herald forums- asserting that if they only had been in that theater with their .44 Magnum or Glock 9 or whatever, "There's no way that punk would have gotten away with it!"

Oh yeah? Dream on, sonny! You think simply by having a carry permit and packing a piece you would've stopped the guy? You likely would have added to the body count! Number one, you're talking about a DARK theater interior with the perp himself all in black plus wearing Kevlar and a mask and other body armor. Two, you're talking about people jumping over seats to get to safety and others swarming in all directions. Fact is, you'd have had no clear sight lines, and that's assuming the perp psycho even remained stationary! Letting loose a shot in such conditions would have certainly ramped up the odds of collateral damage from "friendly fire". But these are the sort of feverish fantasies of retribution the gun crazies trot out in the wake of such events.

They'd do better to chill out, grab a straight java, and seriously ponder the hidden folly behind their suggestions.

But that doesn't appear to be happening. According to a front page story ('Gun Sales Up Since tragedy') in today's Denver Post scared shitless citizens are going ape shit in their yen to pack heat. According to the story, "background checks in Colorado jumped more than 41 percent after Friday morning's shooting at an Aurora movie theater." 

In the words of one employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo quoted in the article:

"It's been insane!"

He added that when he arrived at work first thing Friday morning there were already 15-20 people "waiting outside the door", and averred that Monday was probably the 'busiest day all year'. (Most people in this country, btw, have no clue that there are actually 9,400 more gun outlets than there are McDonald's).

The employee added that he heard a common refrain from purchasers:

"I didn't think I needed a gun but now I do".

Really? And what are you going to do with it? Shoot a bad guy at the exact instant the bad guy pops up? Alas, despite NRA propaganda the stats don't bear this myth out. In more than 60% of cases it is the homeowner, gun owner or one of his family that gets shot in the heat of the moment. To even have a remote chance of being able to negate a surprise attack (which 90% of the time is how it'll unfold) you already need weapon in hand and the safety off. Time is of the essence.  Then, you need to reckon he will also be armed and plausibly with more firepower than you - and he may have an accomplice equally armed. So what're you gonna do?

The other fact is, most would -be gun owners are family men, husbands, dads and they know they have to keep the heat locked up or junior or missy may get to it, play act....and we know how those incidents unfold. But being locked up, you're already at a decided disadvantage when the bad guy bursts upon your world.  .You'd virtually have to sleep with the weapon under your pillow as I used to do when I lived in a not so hot area of New Orleans when it was murder capital of the world in the 60s.

Now, if you're out in public packing, many of the same limitations apply. If and when the lurking psycho strikes or other bad guy or sociopath,  it will almost always be in a packed, public place as when Jessica Ghawa (another Aurora victim) was almost caught in the Eaton Center shooting in Toronto on June 2nd. Jessica left about a minute before the firing broke out, and blogged about how she intended to live life to the fullest after that.

But ok, Mr. 'Gunman to the Rescue', say you were sitting where Jessica was when the bad guy arrived, what would you have done? Take out the heat and fire? Again, there was chaos already erupting and you'd have had to use precious time to find clear lines of firing. Any haphazard or reckless shots would have added to the body count.  But these are the sort of ill-conceived notions of retribution we find in hysterical or panicked minds, spooked by the theater shooting.

A far more rational solution, one advanced in today's Editorial in the Post, is to have our lily-livered law makers grow a pair for once and implement a full- scale ban on large capacity magazine clips, of the type Holmes used in his murderous rampage. This alone - applied throughout the nation, including to online sales - would have a chilling effect. Make the initial penalty a $10,000 fine for each violation, then follow it up with 2-3 years in the pokey for each  subsequent violation.

And don't tell me such a blanket ban "can't be enforced" because the powers-that be "can't know what's going on everywhere."  Right now, we have an established national security state, based at the NSA, that knows everything including which specific bugger you picked from your nose on which day. Moreover, they're adding to their intimidating spook power by constructing a 2 million square foot operation in Utah. Given that Holmes' act was certainly a terrorist act - never mind committed by a white male- the NSA could easily extend its broad reach to all national gun sales if it brought such transactions under its purview as potential terror contributors. Obviously, there's enormous impetus to do so, since there's little activity with the foreign terr'ists, so why not focus on the home grown, psychos in waiting, lone wolves and the like?

A political mandate to do this could easily be fashioned, as easily as calling down remote drone assassinations and strikes on suspected villagers in Pakistan or Afhghanistan. Or......expanding the provisions in the Patriot Act to allow "black bag" searches of likely terr'ists homes. In other words, political will of the same type that launches those remote drone hits or black bag searches is all that's needed. We already have the national security infrastructure in place, let's put 'em to work to earn their $60 b a year keep!

But don't anyone try to tell me that more gun sales and more people packing heat when they enter the cinemas will solve our problems. If anything, they will make them all much worse!


Anonymous said...

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The availability of the magazines for sale will also enable you to keep a track of the different items that are being displayed for special offers

Copernicus said...

Thanks for a most relevant and cogent comment. In fact, the extent of the magazines available for sale is so mind boggling (I was not aware of the extent), I have inserted the link into the main article. I do hope readers will see just how insane the current situation is!