Author: Mike Maples

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I support gun control 100%. I know, I know... fuck me, right? Call me batshit crazy, but for some reason (not supported by American politicians in the least) I still believe in the American political process and do not think that the government is out to kill me, give me cancer, experiment on me, poison my groundwater, monitor me masturbating on the toilet via satellite, listen to my phone conversations consisting of calls to the non-emergency line at the Orlando Police Department to have them send an officer out to tell the Venezuelans next door to turn down that fucking garbage Reggaeton at 1:30am on a Tuesday (that took a dark turn), or subliminally control my mind.

Even if that is all true, just calm down and wait until Skynet handles it.

When I see the very people whom the conspiracy theorists rally against (American oligarchs, big business, the N-fucking-RA, etc.) successfully manipulate the US Senate to swat down gun control legislation despite the overwhelming number of bodies piling up in the US, I comically shit myself and wander out into the night to find a hobo to blow because the future is fucked anyway.

I have never said or thought that legislation would’ve prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy. Crazy will always do crazy. However, those who argue that this is proof that we don't need gun control sort of emphasizing the points I'll make later in this post. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer, was denied the ability to purchase a rifle, so the current system “worked” as it was written (a friendly commenter who does not agree with gun control pointed this out to me). 

By this line of thinking, there must be an agreement by default that the law is thereby insufficient since he still managed to go on a child-killing gun rampage. Lanza’s mother had no documented history of attacks (in the form of police reports) such as domestic issues or home invasions that warranted the need to protect herself with a weapon (I know that you are screaming “Deterrence! Preparation! She didn’t want to wait for something bad to happen to purchase a weapon!” Do you mean something bad like her son murdering her and 20 innocent children? Something like that?). 

What she did have was a son with a documented mental disturbance and a closet full of guns and ammo for “recreational use.” Unfortunately, this parallels a story in which one of the best US Navy SEAL snipers in history was killed while trying to help a disturbed Marine cope with his PTSD and ended up being shot and killed, along with another man. 

Simply owning a gun leads to more deaths in the form of innocent people than it does criminals. It does not act as a deterrent in the least unless you are shooting beer bottles on your front porch with your assault rifle for the neighbors to see. Being expertly trained with weapons like a goddamn Navy SEAL is still not enough to protect one from crazy.

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that maybe we may need to rethink exposing people with histories, especially documented histories, of mental fragility to loaded firearms. Perhaps also limit their access to them at home, not just for purchases. Also, perhaps the NRA should have some more rigid entrance standards since Lanza and his mom were both NRA certified; fuck, at least make one of the questions, "Are you crazier than a football bat and/or do you want to kill a lot of people?" Instead, you apparently just get peppered with reading materials on how to properly shoot a "target" and have a nice (crazy) day!

If Lanza’s mother didn’t have the guns or if the SEAL didn’t take the Marine to the range, would this have saved lives? Certainly some. Lanza would have had a much more difficult time getting his hands on weapons and I personally believe that the killing spree he would have eventually gone on anyway (yes, I believe he would have killed eventually) would have taken much more planning to execute, during which time an observant anyone could have noticed some warning signs (since his family seemed to miss a room crazier than Kevin Spacey's apartment in Se7en). 

Same goes to the Marine; if you took him out for a game of unarmed basketball or literally any other activity that did not involve guns, then his crime of opportunity may not have happened at all or at the very least would have reduced the likelihood of claiming one of the most skilled and courageous men ever known to armed combat. 

This is a chicken-versus-egg argument, I understand, but it is simply for emphasis. Americans have created a paranoid gun culture carved out by fear that causes us to be anxious about everything and everyone and will only feel safe if we have the ability to kill someone we perceive as a threat.

There is no need to defend our home with 30 round clips, semi-automatic weapons, or the like. Escalation is not the answer. The criminals have guns, we get bigger ones. What next? They get grenades, we get missiles? They get a tank, we get a stealth bomber? Didn't you people hear what Commissioner Gordon said about escalation in Batman Begins

People can adequately defend themselves with a shotgun or traditional handgun. They need, no, have, to be properly trained. When was the last time someone broke into your house and you successfully warded off an attack with a semi-automatic weapon with a banana clip? How about anyone you know? How about anyone they know? 

Do you know what does happen more often than that? Psychopaths with guns spree killing for no reason using weapons that aren't theirs. Children finding their parents’ guns and blowing their little sister’s head apart, or their own (535 such accidents in the US in 2006). The common thread isn’t always some nut and it isn’t always an irresponsible gun owner. The common thread is only the gun

Banning assault weapons won’t prevent mass shootings, but why does the average Joe need an assault weapon? For recreational use? If so, fuck me then. I want a rocket launcher. I’d love to recreationally go to a junkyard and blow some cars up. So should I be able to get said rocket launcher because I promise to only use it for such purposes? Absolutely not, because as soon as you rile up someone with a rocket launcher they blow your house up.

Usually, a violent crime will be perpetrated against someone by a person or people known to them; a study by the Federal Bureau of Justice shows that: 
“Strangers committed about 38 percent of non-fatal, violent crimes including rape, robbery and assault in 2010, the most recent data available. Of that amount, only an average of 10 percent used a firearm while committing the crime. In other words, fewer than four out of every 100 non-fatal, violent crimes were committed by a stranger. Additionally, only about one-fourth of homicides are committed by strangers. The overwhelming percentage of homicides – and of all violent crimes, for that matter – is committed by a friend, relative or other acquaintance.”
This begs another question; could you “defend” yourself against someone you know and love? A deranged son like Adam Lanza, perhaps? I know for a fact that I could not kill my own son, no matter what the stakes were; I’d end up as a name on a memorial somewhere. And contrary to what you’re taught in concealed-weapons class, armed citizens more often than not just outright kill a perceived threat or actual threat without warning, without proper procedure (giving the attacker an opportunity to surrender or retreat), and rarely shoot to wound. Just ask Trayvon Martin.

The fact is, more guns and loose laws are not making the situation any better. We cannot keep ignoring it and saying that it is just crazy people and there is nothing that we can do about it. That is the most apathetic approach to human life one can have. Rather than do nothing, as the Senate has chosen, we need to do something. If you’re a gun-loving proud American who does not intend to harm those who are not an imminent threat to you or your family, then you shouldn’t mind allowing the government to help protect you and yours from those who don’t share the same values by making it more difficult to own and keep firearms. Is this increased "difficulty" or "inconvenience" worthwhile if it reduces the body count by even one person?

Trayvon Martin was a Florida teen killed by a single bullet from a handgun. He was unarmed. George Zimmerman, his killer, is a grown 26-year-old man who stalked a 17-year-old kid with a gun because of the profile of a criminal he had carved into his mind (being a black guy). Instead of confronting the kid, questioning him, and risking a well-deserved ass-beating for stalking someone, he gets a lump on the nose, pulls a gun, and kills an unarmed child.

He didn't need an assault rifle at all to still do what he set out to do. He only needed a belly full of the perceived power that one feels when armed and a single bullet.

I don’t care how big Martin was; he was still unarmed and extremely unlikely to beat a grown adult male to death with his bare hands (a monumental task). He was defending himself from a markedly weird adult man who was following him and who was, unbeknownst to him, armed. Without the gun giving him undue bravado, Zimmerman would’ve waited for the police to arrive to question Martin as he was told to do on the phone by the police dispatcher or just got his ass whipped by a kid. Instead, a child is dead, a paranoid stalker with a gun is (found by the courts) to be justified in his actions and simultaneously undermining police authority, and the world becomes a little more accepting of this kind of behavior. 

The more we dismiss these kinds of crimes, the bolder we are to take the law into our own hands. As much as I truly want to be the actual Batman, vigilantism is not the hallmark of an advanced society. No matter which side of the fence you're on regarding this issue, you know that I'm right here. 

To me, Martin was not the innocent young man that the family lawyer attempted (horribly) to represent. But he was not deserving of such a death. If Zimmerman didn't have the bravado that a concealed weapon lends such cowards, then the Sanford police would have been able to easily resolve the perceived "issue" of a black kid walking through a white neighborhood and the Martin family would still have their son. However, we as a state have cleared Zimmerman of any wrongdoing and showed the world that in Florida, if you are scared of someone, hunt them down and kill them.

This is regression; we're turning into the wild fucking west! Since when did the future change from being a promise to a threat?

Deeper background checks, a gun-ownership registry & database (which wasn’t part of the legislation, but should have been in my opinion), and stronger rules for gun shows and fairs would put a dent in the illegal gun trade. No one can argue that point, and I don’t care how one argues it. No one can say that if we make it a lot harder to get our hands on these weapons that by rules of attrition we wouldn’t reduce the amount of overall gun ownership and therefore gun violence. Criminals get their guns by either stealing them from us or buying them on the black market. Let’s just make one of these paths a little more narrow, shall we? 

We may not be able to completely eliminate the fact that criminals get their hands on guns, but preparing for urban warfare certainly isn’t going to help eliminate this either. Proper law enforcement, i.e. people trained and paid to serve and protect the public, is where our money can be better spent. Not on armor-piercing rounds for a .50 caliber handgun. Instead, law enforcement has to go out and generate revenue by “protecting” the public from such criminals as speeders and those who drive with headphones in their ears (illegal in Florida; curious, because deaf people are still allowed to drive). With proper funding and adequate training, police could start actually functioning as a police force and protecting us from real threats rather than only reacting to them in their wake. They call this something... trying to remember... oh, yeah. A deterrent. Kind of like they were intended to do.

I’m not a tree-hugging hippie who puts flowers into the barrels of soldier’s guns; I am a military veteran and I own firearms, too. But if you cannot defend your family against an intruder with one or two pills from a shotgun or handgun, then you absolutely should not own a gun at all to begin with. You are better off calling the police and risking getting your throat slit than having a thief armed with a knife (or unarmed, as home invaders usually are) take your guns from you. More often than not, people’s homes are broken into when they’re not there. It is a very rare occurrence to have this happen with the family at home (13% of the time for home invasions in the US). 

It is also unlikely that an armed confrontation with an intruder ends well for either side of the fight.