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Blaming the Instrument
by Jan Sand
2007-06-07 10:45:22
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If a door bangs you in the face as you try to enter a room you might have an impulse to bang it back. A bear or a chimpanzee might feel the same way, but humanity should, it seems to me, should be able to exercise a bit more considered restraint.

I have heard stories about past times where an offending book or animal was put through the ceremony of a formal legal trial and if found guilty was subject to the standard punishment of a thrashing or perhaps was destroyed. I am not sure if the stories are true, but, if they are, they represent unique instances in human society where an animal or thing is granted the human capability to wilfully commit a crime and, through the suffering of punishment, repent and behave properly.

In recent times people who are concerned about the regular occurrence of multiple killings by disgruntled students or angry employees seek to deter these horrible instances by tighter control of or elimination of the availability of firearms.

The gun protagonists, who, it seems to me, carry many odd ideas about why guns should be freely available in society respond to these concerns by insisting that guns don't kill people, people do. It is equivalent to saying that pianos don't make music, musicians do.

And, from their own peculiar point of view, they are perfectly correct.

The gun control people these days do not punish guns by whipping them or sending them to prison but essentially agree that it is the gun user who must be held responsible and put into the position of not being able to access firearms again.

What this boils down to is the evaluation of people in general. Gun owners are optimists who believe the average guy who buys a gun is responsible and skilled enough in the use of the instrument and socially well balanced enough to be trusted with an instrument that becomes lethal at the slightest twitch of a finger.

Accidents happen, of course, and a mere couple of tens of thousands of people are killed every year by guns but the automobile is generally accepted as a benign instrument safe for general distribution and that thing whacks forty thousand people every year in the United States alone. Well over ten times the three thousand people in one year in one incident by Al Qaeda. Yet the terrorists have inspired the expenditure of astronomically more government funds for the protection of the average citizen (beyond the American casualties incurred which have more than duplicated the original deaths) from terrorists than it has for making transportation reasonable and safe. But that's another story.

The gun control people are not so sanguine about the average Joe who might pack a couple of beers along with his ammo clip to entertain himself by deciding which of the two targets in his inebriated vision is the right one for a bull's eye or whether or not to knock off the neighbor's cat that has been yowling on the fence all night. Gun control people are distrustful. They recall all too often that panicked cops regularly, and it seems, with impunity, pump fusillades into guys who try to display their driver's licenses for ID, and these official enforcers, I have heard, undergo massive training with firearms.

The gun controllers, of course, are the same crowd as those lily livered liberals who want to restrict the spread of atomic weapons from those nations who obviously desire them only for self defense from the bullying countries that are bent on aggressive domination. After all is said and done it is not atomic bombs that kill people, it is power hungry politicians with a button.

Therefore, at end, it is a matter of whether or not you trust people to behave decently. If you do, all problems evaporate.

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LL2007-06-08 01:11:04
All you have to do is meet an ER nurse in a children's facility who shakes and cries all the time to figure out something is horribly wrong here.

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