No half-measures on gun violence

Saturday May 25, 2013

The words "gun control" are an oxymoron. In case wisps of your high school English have vanished, an oxymoron is a couple of paired words that have opposite meanings, like jumbo shrimp or pretty ugly. Guns have one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to inflict the most dreadful pain possible onto somebody. (Forget hunting. Nobody needs to hunt.) In the hands of some total nutcase, the result can be as vicious as taking revenge on some jealous lover or as mind-boggling as the mass shooting of children in elementary school.

Surely every parent, and most normal people, were appalled at the idea of people losing their little kids. Anguish, sorrow, sympathy -- collections of flowers, notes of condolence appeared everywhere. I felt as sorry as the next person until I read the story about the little 7-year-old girl in Newtown who had half of her jaw blown off before another bullet mercifully dispatched her. At that point I got sick.

Well-meaning people honestly believe that if only the mentally stable owned guns and people kept their weapons locked up where the kids couldn’t get at them that gun violence would somehow disappear. Or that training in handling guns would help. Or that if some sort of psychiatric measure were applied to prospective buyers the violence would go away. Since there is no way on earth to predict when certain kinds of brains will snap, if you really believe that psychiatrists can save us from people who go berserk, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

The surest way to get rid of gun violence is to get rid of guns. But, you say, you simply can’t get rid of all guns, and it is true, you can’t totally get rid of anything. But there are a lot of ways the mayhem can be reduced to the level of many countries that have successfully outlawed guns. We already know many of them. It would take a little time to scoop up all the guns that infest the country, but it is possible.

An easier and much faster way is to forbid the sale or production of ammo. Surely gun dealers must keep track of who they sell ammo to, and if not, they can start now. From this moment on, firing a gun can be made illegal, and the government could institute a buy-back for ammo instead of guns.

There is simply no way to equate the "satisfaction" gun owners get from their ownership with the agony of that child who went to heaven with a bleeding face and half a jaw.





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