Gun Nuts

gun nutsIn the weeks since the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, we’ve learned about what it will mean for America, if the NRA gets its wishes and school teachers, students and visitors to schools can carry concealed guns.  We’ve learned how contemptuous of the rights of other citizens the gun nutters are.

On December 28, Tea Party Republican, Angela Cornett, a member of a School Board in Georgia, got into a dispute with a 17-year-old student over a parking space at the local Walmart.  Instead of flipping a coin, or having a reasoned discussion, Ms. Cornett simply gunned her engine and drove into the student, who was standing in the parking space.

We can be happy that Ms. Cornett only had a gas guzzler, instead of a gun.  No doubt she ran right into the Walmart to arm herself against any future encounters with students who don’t recognize her superior rights to whatever parking space she wants.

Just after the new year, a man in New Hampshire shot his neighbor’s dog.  The neighbors had had the dog for years.  The man knew the dog.  The dog came into his yard, and he shot it.  He didn’t try to shoo it back to the neighbor’s yard.  He didn’t ask the neighbors to control it.   He wanted to kill something.  So he shot the dog.

He now claims self defense.  In New Hampshire, a homeowner can “stand his ground” against a threat to his home.  The man says that the dog, that he had known for years, suddenly constituted a “threat” to him.

The man in New Hampshire isn’t some mentally ill looney.  He is a retired police officer.  When the gun nutters talk about needing more and better gun training, they don’t mention the man in New Hampshire.  He had police training and years of experience with police situations.  He had training in how to use guns, when to use guns, and how to control dangerous situations.  He had training in what the law allowed and what it prohibited.

With all that training and experience, he wanted to kill something and the dog was handy.  He knew what to say, post shooting, to get away with it.

We should feel lucky.  It could have been a rowdy teenager, or boisterous middle schooler who ‘invaded’ his turf, instead of a dog.

Vermont State Senator Fred Matlack has now introduced a bill to impose fines on any person (presumably including unborn fetuses) who doesn’t carry a gun in public.  Matlack is, of course, stridently opposed both to the free speech concepts of the First Amendment and to the concept of any organized government.  He says that it is wrong for people to be taxed to pay for police forces.  Rather, each person should be responsible for their own defense.

Under Matlack’s theory, men would be responsible for catching and dealing with other men who rape their wives and daughters.  Just as men would be responsible for protecting, or inflicting eye-for-eye damages on their other property.

Matlack has another proposal as well.  He doesn’t want the state wasting its money on police forces.  But he does want the state to spend money publicizing a database that provides the name and address of every person in the state who chooses not to be armed.  Matlack wants to invite criminals to come to Vermont to prey on unarmed residents.

Let’s think about Ms. Cornett playing her parking lot predator games in New Hampshire, while Matlack was there, doing some post-Christmas gift returns.  What Ms. Cornett did was clearly a crime.  She committed assault and battery on a child, using a deadly weapon (yes, a 4500 lb, Lexus can be a deadly weapon).  We know what she did because store security cameras recorded the event.

In the civilized world, the police got called.  They called paramedics.  The assaulting school board vice-chairwoman got arrested.  No one got seriously injured.

In Matlack’s fantasy NRA dream world, the hero would see the incident unfolding.  He’d realize that an evil, criminal perpetrator was committing a heinous crime, with no cops around.  He’d whip out at least one of his concealed weapons and blast away.  The Tea Party school board vice-chairman, now riddled with bullets, would lose control of her SUV, which would continue to roll over the girl and further until it was stopped by other cars.

While all this happens, consider that the New Hampshire dog shooter, or another adequately armed hero, sees Matlack unloading his gun(s) on an SUV driver, but doesn’t realize that the SUV driver is an evil perpetrator, in the midst of committing a crime.  All he sees is a man in the parking lot firing on a woman driving an SUV.  So with his police training and years of experience, he draws his own weapon(s) and “engages” Matlack.

Engage is such a nice word – it sounds so civilized, polite and official.  Criminals and terrorists shoot their victims.  Police officers and soldiers “engage” the enemies of society.  Matlack “engaged” the already married Ms. Cornett, and the dog shooter “engaged” Matlack, rather than shooting.   I wonder if the surviving family members would understand the difference, and how comforted they might feel when it was pointed out to them.

Now consider two variances on this hypothetical.  Imagine that the large SUV Ms. Cornett was driving was new to her, and that the girl she hit was her daughter, who had been holding the parking spot for her.  Imagine that bumping her daughter was a result of the SUV’s powerful engine causing a forward lurch when Ms. Cornett only wanted a smooth roll.  In his zeal, Matlack wouldn’t know this.  Ms. Cornett would end up just as dead and the dog shooter would be just as justified in “engaging” Matlack.

Or consider if the NRA had its way, and everyone in or around that parking lot was armed.  If only half of them, or even just a quarter, responded when Matlack started shooting, or when the dog shooter “engaged” Matlack, how many would die in that parking lot?  How many would suffer permanent, disabling injuries?  How many uninvolved passers-by would become “collateral damage”?

None would, of course.  Any good Tea Party NRA member could remind you that documentaries from Rio Bravo to Django Unchained have established that the good guys always hit what they aim at (always only bad guys) and the bad guys rarely hit anything.  So there would be no collateral damage, and all the heavily (but concealed) armed passers-by would know precisely who deserved to get shot “engaged”.

The NRA might remind us of history.  That notorious commie (also a Jew) Wyatt Earp imposed bans on carrying guns in the towns where he was marshall.  How did that work out?  The gunfight at the OK corral.  If guns are restricted, only drunken outlaws will have guns.  How much better would it have been if all the townsmen of Tuscon could have joined in the shooting in and around the OK corral?

Think about a heavily armed Ms. Cornett roaming the corridors of a local school, hunting for disobedient children, or children who want to use a locker that she has her eye on.  Think about Mr. Matlack strolling around your local mall with his concealed weapons and his desire to do vigilante ‘justice’.  Think about the New Hampshire cop, just looking for an excuse to kill.

One thing the NRA and its acolytes don’t want people to do is to think about the consequences of their proposals.  But we need to think about the real world consequences of arming everyone and letting each person decide when and whom to shoot.

The NRA proposed putting armed guards in every school.  But as soon as President Obama said that there might be federal money for school districts that decided to try that, the NRA announced that it was going to use all of its resources to fight against implementation of its own proposal!

Tom Hall

Clearly, the NRA’s effort is not to protect actual students, but rather to keep feeding the flames of passion and fear.  The NRA isn’t about protecting people or constitutional rights, but rather about driving sales for an industry of sociopaths selling to a market of wannabe psychopaths, with absolutely no regard to the costs to real people, to the children and breadwinners gunned down and to the family members left to grieve and try to survive.

Tom Hall

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on January 17, 2013
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About Tom Hall

Tom Hall is a family lawyer in West Los Angeles. He is from Boston, and was raised in Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers) to think that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people in techniques for disciplined nonviolent demonstrating. After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make a comfortable life. The Bush administration shocked him back into social concerns. Now he’s working to see that the Obama administration lives up to its progressive promises. Tom can be reached at ProgBlog@aol.com

Comments

  1. Reverend Draco says:

    I wonder. . . when are you anti-gun bigots going to come up with something new? The same old fearmongering and lies aren’t going to cut it, this time. . .

  2. JoeWeinstein says:

    LaPierre’s NRA doesn’t even necessarily care about making the world safe for crazed gun-toters and gun-sellers. What it does care about is using every means to increase the number of utterly wanton and needless deaths – wildlife as well as human. Witness NRA’s fierce opposition to proposed EPA rules to require non-lead shot – widely available and not particularly expensive. The main purpose and effect of these rules would be to protect endangered California condors and other iconic predators from the biggest current threat to their survival, poisoning from lead shot in carrion.

  3. harry wood says:

    Thoughts on new gun laws, some OK, some BAD.
    Registering firearms, BAD. Current legal owners of
    weapons will not want to register their weapons with a government data
    base. They see that as the seed of a
    future confiscation of legal firearms, which happened in several countries and here
    in 1775. This will probably create the
    most new criminals as owners refuse to comply with this law they feel is not
    good, like some people refusing to pay taxes.

    No guns allowed to cross state lines, BAD. If
    someone is driving to uncle Fred’s home in Montana
    to hunt deer, they can not take guns (rifle/hand gun) with them in their
    auto. Will states have gun booths along
    major highways? Will some drivers take
    minor highways to avoid them? Will cars
    with guns have to stop at each truck weighing station they encounter to be
    inspected? This law would have a good
    chance of creating new criminals as law abiding citizens neglect to do this. Are cars searched without a warrant?

    So I go on vacation without any weapon to protect my family.

    The two
    features above have a high probability of creating criminals out of honest
    citizens who have lived years with guns without causing any problems. The volunteer registration rate of current
    gun owners registering their guns will be low, thus new criminals will be
    created.

    Requiring a
    state firearms permit to own a gun is OK.
    This is fine as long as such holders do not have to buy a gun or declare
    each and every weapon they own to the state.

    Requiring a
    gun safety class in order to acquire a firearms permit is OK. I assume one would be issued to all military,
    active or retired, upon request. They already know about guns as does anyone
    with a hunting license.

    Stiff
    penalties for using firearms while committing a crime is OK. It must be proven in court the person
    indented to commit the crime using a gun.
    If the crime is committed with the gun secured in the trunk of a car
    that does not meet this feature as it is possible the person did the crime is
    unaware a weapon was present.

    For years,
    I have wanted a new department in the CBO organization, OK. It would be the Department of Unintended Consequences
    (DUC). You can tell by the name what the
    department should do. It evaluates any
    new bill before Congress forwards it to the Present to sign it into law. It looks for things that the Congress may
    have over looked when it passed the bill so that Congress can correct it.
    Remember the bill that passed Congress with the assurance from the speaker that
    because of the fog, we have to pass the bill to discover all the good things
    that are in it.

    I am not
    sure how we might keep score, but if all the above ideas become law, we need to
    track how many lives were saved, how
    many were lost, along with the costs of the bill. I think we are about to throw money at a
    problem without real solutions and have forgotten the acts of McVeigh. We need to know if a law is functional.

    I only have a few over 200 in my contact list so this is a
    small survey

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