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 infectionsAgainst 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.