The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gun Shy

Now, let me be the first to admit that I'm a little, shall we say, gun shy? Not completely;I had an uncle who taught me to shoot one when I was a boy, and enjoyed it. But this story and this story, and, finally, this: Well, time for Uncle John tae tell the tale, innit? OK, when my sister and I were eleven, and my grandmother had died, our parents and we spent a lot of time over at my grandfather's house. We were all, I'm pretty sure, emotionally numb, and, having loved our grandmother very much, nobody was thinking too clearly, so my sister and I were left alone while the adults went to the funeral home. We did what children left alone in a house they know but which has mysteries would do: explore. As my sister and I were snooping around (more realistically), she opened a drawer, finding within it a small, snub -nosed gun. Thinking it was a toy, she assumed a firing stance a la Kate Jackson, called out to me,"Charlie's Angels!"

Well, I thought it was a toy, too, and swatted her hand away from pointing at my chest. She pulled the trigger, and a loud noise, a smell of cordite, and a surprisingly small hole in the wall later, we realized that it wasn't a toy. Oh, and that I was still there. And intact. So I had that going for me.

So it goes.


The thing that I find so bewildering about the gun debate is the nature of the interests asserted as so paramount that they must, must outweigh even the most minimal regulation of weapons in the interest of reducing avoidable carnage (more here)--carnage that continues to mount in the nearly 100 days since Newtown, and can be summarized thus:
In 2010, gun-related injuries accounted for 6570 deaths of children and young people (1 to 24 years of age). That includes 7 deaths per day among people 1 to 19 years of age. Gun injuries cause twice as many deaths as cancer, 5 times as many as heart disease, and 15 times as many as infections
Against this, we have asserted interests that are legitimate but, in essence, trivial--the sportsman's and sportswoman's enjoyment of hunting, target shooting, and the like, or, quite frankly, inextricably intertwined with neo-confederate weirdness. Leaving the latter to the side, the tragedy is that the former--worthy of accommodation, not a bad thing in esse--has been raised by our society to a shibboleth. Even the regulations expressly deemed constitutional by Antonin Scalia's opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller are opposed as if they were the harbingers of tyranny.

Why? When I first read Gary Wills's story Our Moloch, I thought it was too strident. Now, as I look at the failure of even minimal reform and see the pro-gun forces striving to force every community to live in the shadow of the gun, I'm not so sure. Culture of death? Sadly, yes.


EdK said...

And in that same year what were the number of pool related deaths? Interesting that the age was 0-24. The lower you go with the high number the more will be the result of pool death. It is the number on cause of death for children ages 0-4.

Anglocat said...

Yes, I get it that people, even children, die from innocuous things. But guns, forgive me for pointing this out, are not innocuous. Their primary purpose is to kill people or animals.

Again, I'm not arguing for prohibition. What I don't understand is how people whose primary use for guns is amusement--which is cool, I'm for amusement--get all het up over any kind of efforts to prevent their toy of choice, which is concededly inherently dangerous, from harming others. I don't mean reasoned debate, I mean the visceral affront exhibited at the notion that guns should not be accepted everywhere, and that some people do not want to associate with the armed.

Look at the recent efforts to confront citizens of municipalities/states which have tighter gun laws with open carry "civil disobedience"; the whole point is to force them into accepting living in an armed camp despite the fact that they have, democratically, chosen not to.

Look at the anger at the notion of a national registry. Where is the harm in being able to trace who owns a gun used in a shooting? Is there a Second Amendment right to shoot anonymously?

I don't understand the whole desire to inflict the presence of guns on those who don't want them, and the insistence that their rights must dominate every inch of the civic square.