Banning things

Banning things doesn’t work, unless it is the thing I hate.

There are movements right now to ban guns and to ban abortion.

Both movements say that banning their own thing won’t work, because people will get the thing anyway, but people who want to ban guns tend not to favor bans on abortions, and vice versa.

All to keep people safe, I suppose.

There’s always a problem when people try to come up with a binary solution to a complex problem.

It’s pretty difficult to come up with a reason to be pro gun violence. However, guns are not the problem.

No, really, they are not. I am old enough to remember when we used to bring our hunting rifles to school because we were going out for deer right after. I brought my own 22 to college, with the full permission of Campus Safety, because I enjoyed target shooting.

Is the problem handguns? Rather than guns as a whole? There’s a popular meme that we should make getting guns as difficult to get as abortions. THAT’LL slow down the violence, they say. The people writing those memes must not have pistol licenses.

Sadly, the laws vary from state to state, but if you are in NY and you want to do it legally, you are much more likely to get an abortion in a timely manner than a handgun. My pistol license required a background check, 4 written references, a long wait, and then the judge STILL had the final say.

Illegal guns are different. And that, of course, makes it extremely muddy. You can make things illegal all you want but if the thing you are against is already illegal there’s not much point. Sandy Hook was carried out with stolen weapons.

And that’s one of the interesting things about guns. They have their own little perceived reality. Anybody who steals his parents’ car and commits a crime is charged with the theft and with the crime itself. The papers go mad over the kid stealing the car.

But when a person steals a gun and commits a crime, the papers report whoever the gun was owned by and do backflips over how the gun was “legally obtained.”

Interestingly, no one reports prescription drugs sold on the street as legally obtained. It is understood that they were stolen from the person who legally obtained them.

And there’s no movement to make opium based drugs illegal for everyone. It is understood that although troubled or bad people sell and use heroin, there is a legal and helpful use for opiates, for morphine.

There’s no movement to make cars illegal, although it is well known that they cause many more deaths than guns of any kind. It’s understood that cars have useful purposes.

Gun violence has this weird anti-taboo, similar to what household decorations it is OK to vandalize.   Every year it is reported how many pumpkins teenagers smashed at Halloween. That is regrettable, but accepted. But no one in my small town has, in my memory, reported stolen Christmas lights. That is simply not done. Gun violence is similarly regrettable, but currently understood. It was not “understood” when I was younger.

Then again, what useful purpose does a gun serve? It’s easy to want to make something illegal that you feel has no purpose. Cars kill, yes, but provide transportation, so it is OK. Swimming pools help you relax, so they are OK, too. The only purpose of a gun is to send something through the air at great velocity. When you consider that a gun only has that one purpose, the number of gun deaths is pretty amazingly LOW.

There’s also the statistical problem that advocates of gun control tend to make you scared of that bad shooter who is going to get you, when actually the most likely gun death is a suicide. Since that doesn’t improve the situation (suicide is bad, too, but a separate problem), I won’t go on about that.

Shooting a gun, at a range as I have done, is a meditative activity. It requires concentration and skill. It is relaxing. I find it strange that there is no movement to ban children learning karate. “It is a skill! It is a discipline! My child will never actually HURT anyone.”

The thing we are not willing to face in the case of gun violence is that it is closely tied to male privilege. It is much more palatable to blame guns than to blame our hyper toxic masculinity. Mass shooters tend to be young white men. Privileged young white men. And who makes the laws in the United States?

If we really wanted to end gun violence, we would make it illegal for guns to be owned by young men. And we’d stop sugar-coating it when young men break laws to get them.

I cannot be as articulate as this author, so I give you this link:


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