Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Life in a Hail of Bullets


“War between gun owners and police is more likely
than a U.S. war against Iran or North Korea”

How many more casualties must we have, and times to be told, that guns are bad things in a civilized society? Since last utterance on the topic in this space, a physician has been gunned down in Kansas–the latest sensational instance of the terror visited on American society.

That’s right, call it what it is: domestic terrorism, and there need be a war against it–albeit, ironically, one waged without guns. After all, we did so against “big tobacco,” something I never dreamed could come about, and be successful, in my lifetime. After all, I could remember free little four-packs of cigs sent to soldiers at war (which filtered down to us kids as well); movie stars, athletes and other celebs in cigarette ads; and TV hosts (Garry Moore) and entertainers (Dean Martin) smoking on camera, thus carrying the culture right into our living rooms and thereby, our lives. It was cool, it was hip, it was the thing to do–before the incriminating truth was found in companies’ files and archives and the Marlboro Man was but one in thousands to sue the makers for endangering or killing them.

Still, it took decades to drive big tobacco into a corner, and legislation continues to smack it into oblivion where it belongs. But who’d-a thunk it? It shows that when America puts its mind to such endeavor, good things can and will happen.

The difference here is that the gun lobby is, literally, frightening and intimidating (why risk making someone mad who’s holding a gun–or multiples of them?), and too many better-minded, more responsible gun owners never speak out against the NRA: it just wouldn’t be the “manly” thing to do.

Of course, the self-righteousness of their cause is rooted in its constitutionality. Well, the Constitution has been changed before and never is such needed more than now. The right to bear arms in earlier times was to repel British invasions of our agrarian society after the treason of our independence; even then, many a Colonial farmer wouldn’t fire a shot till a redcoat stepped on his property. Now we kill more of each other than we do any foreign enemy, or than they kill of us. Where’s the sense in that?

Our biggest move to control guns was decades ago, and beaten back in a skirmish that actually strengthened the NRA, whose rhetoric is always moralistic and couched in terms of human rights and threats to domestic safety. That means I have much to fear from them and they have nothing to fear from me–after all, I’m not waving a dangerous weapon in anyone’s face.

What too many gun lovers overlook is that, due to their intransigence, we are all unsafe. And do not think they are all law-abiding, as they often crow: no few are anti-authority in general and anti-government in particular, and view even police as a potential enemy. War between the two is more likely than war with Iran or North Korea. Violent crime from guns has caused many communities, especially small ones, to accept distribution of military assault weapons, as we’ve just learned. As one police chief noted: a nut with a deer rifle could cause a crisis of public harm in moments if his force of one or two officers had no adequate fire power of its own.

So now we live in a hail of bullets. After the first (and last) real move to rein in citizen weaponry, president Reagan softened the effort by making a big speech about domestic crime–and mentioned not a word about gun control. How can one be talked about and not the other? He was, of course, “hoist of his own petard”–the NRA lurking menacingly nearby, holding big bucks and big votes, and ready to win one for the Gipper–as long as he left unmentioned the real cause of crime! Since then, in local and state venues around the U.S., it is not uncommon for gun bills in legislatures to end up so watered down till they appear toothless and lose all support.
Let’s take inspiration from the war against tobacco. All the country needs in the matter of guns is a matter of will. And why harp on this at such length? Because “one and one and one can make a million.” Remember?

Next: what would a society without guns look like?

One Response to “Life in a Hail of Bullets”

  1. I enjoyed your comments about guns and NRA. It is almost dangerious to talk about this to most people. I think the hunters are confused and misled by people like our friend Rush. I had a client who became very angry with me prior to the presidential election. This client claimed that if Obama was elected a hunter could not even own a single shot rifle or shotgun. He also told me that he owned two machine guns. I decided to stop my discussion with him on learning that.

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