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