Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown

It is once again sadly necessary to bring up an issure that never seems to arise until some anonymous American citizen "goes postal" and shoots up a mall, a college campus, a high school, or, in the latest horrific case, an elementary school. And if something drastic isn't done about it very soon, the issue will simply go away again, unsolved as ever. Every day in America twenty-five people die in gun homicides and thirty-five die in gun suicides. This means that a Newtown-sized massacre happens every day in the USA.

I have touched on this subject here and there. Rather than reiterate what I wrote then, I will add that the reason why gun ownership is such a sacred cow to so many Americans is that it is closely bound up with property ownership, on which many of the principles of the Constitution are based. While everyone was so surprised that this massacre of the innocents took place in a small New England town in which everyone knows everyone else, it isn't the least bit surprising when one considers that Newtown, Connecticut is populated by well-to-do professionals and property owners. The home of Adam Lanza's mother is probably worth millions, so it's no coincidence that she was a "responsible" gun owner. Her motives were utterly proprietary.

But some of the common arguments used by gun proponents deserve to be singled out for closer scrutiny. The first one you always hear is "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." This glib adage ignores the terrible evidence: how did those bullets get into the bodies of those twenty children (there were between three and eleven bullets in every body)? Were they inserted manually? As a doctor apologetically informed the press on the day of the shooting, because of the type of weapon used by Adam Lanza, a Bushmaster (see photo) which uses 5.56mm rounds, "the energy is deposited in the tissue". The weapon is designed for combat, to deliver rounds on a target that absorbs all of the energy expended in its firing. Those bullets tore into those tiny bodies like a hot knife through butter.

And even if you follow the absurd logic further along, that Lanza would've killed his victims whether he had guns or not, it is preposterous. The day before the massacre, a man attacked some children in a primary school in China with a knife, "injuring" twenty-two of them. So if Lanza had attacked the teachers and children in Newtown with a knife rather than a Bushmaster rifle, there would've been far fewer fatalities or else Lanza would have to have been a great deal more skilled as well as incalculably more ruthless in his murderous spree to have managed to kill as many as he did.

Rather than the patently insane idea of arming teachers (really, Fox News and Comedy Central should merge), we should not capitulate to the madness. Why not arm priests and nuns, doctors and nurses? Hell, why not arm the kids themselves?

Another absurd statistic used against gun control is that a person is more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning than he is by being shot to death. Except that you are far more likely to be struck by lightning if you are an American, instead of a Canadian or an Australian or a Japanese. If you are afraid of being killed by lightning, it's probably a good idea to live where it hardly ever rains.

Would it be naughty of me to suggest that, whatever its "Constitutionality", gun ownership is obviously a fetish - a masculine sexualization of the weapon? Any armchair Freudian can see that. The number and size of the guns has a correlation to the degree of sexual inadequacy of the owner.

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