“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
― C.S. Lewis
When I was a child, I believed some — in retrospect — silly things. Things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
One Easter morning I happened to wake up unusually early, and caught my parents loading the Easter baskets. I’m no genius, but neither am I an idiot. I told them I knew.
And then I generalized… and asked if they were also Santa Claus. Nailed it. To be honest, I’d had suspicions about him for a while; how did he manage to work so many stores simultaneously? How did he have time to make toys when spending so much doing photoshoots at said stores? Why did he sometimes have a real beard, and sometimes a fake? Sheesh, the excuses my parents came up with to explain discrepancies…
I don’t recall just how old I was; maybe five years old; I don’t think I’d started school yet. I know I’d broken the conspiracy well before a lot of kids my age (some of whom, at school, professed to still believe in Santa until the third or fourth grade).
Another childish thing I believed back then was “gun control”. “Saturday Night Special” was a big part of that. When I heard that propaganda news about how they were just cheap pieces of junk not good for anything but killing, I just knew they were terrible and should be banned. And, just of course, “criminals” shouldn’t have guns.
I believed that into my teens. But, as with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, it was observation and reasoning that led to disbelief, beginning with “Saturday Night Specials”.
Reasoning: If a SNS works well enough to fire offensively, why won’t it work defensively? “Cheap POS not good for anything” doesn’t make sense.
OK, maybe there are some guns that are just plain Pieces of Sh garbage. The Clerke 1st revolver I once encountered was so poorly made that I wouldn’t fire it with Hillary Clinton’s hand.* Well… All right; maybe hers, but not yours. But how many Clerkes would be out there after the first use/failure? I kept hearing about recovered guns linked to multiple shootings. Those couldn’t be Clerkes.
Observation: I kept seeing news reports of guns labeled “Saturday Night Specials” which even I recognized as Smith & Wessons. It appeared the defining characteristic of an SNS was price: if you got a new Smith at full retail price, it was all good. If you bought a used model at a price that someone on a budget could afford, it’s evil.
How’s that again?.
Remember how I extrapolated from “Easter Bunny isn’t real” to Santa Claus? I kept thinking: If affordable guns are bad, doesn’t that mean only financially well off folks can have “good” guns by definition? Rich = Good, Poor = Evil? Not being wealthy, but knowing my parents — just example — were decent people, I could see right through that once I bothered to consider it.
And that whole “prohibited person” thing to keep crooks from buying guns… C’mon, even as a kid I saw the “crook buys stolen gun in back alley” trope in cop and detective shows, movies, and books. Sometimes a stereotype reflects reality. I saw that same “trope” in a lot of news stories, so I knew it was real.
So if crooks didn’t get their “Saturday Night Specials” through lawful channels anyway, didn’t that suggest the law targeted honest people, and not criminals?
That was my “slippery slope”. Before long I was wondering why kids used to safely carry .22 rifles across their bike handlebars, but suddenly couldn’t be trusted to have a gun. So far as I knew, none of my .22-toting friends had ever robbed anyone.
Being an aspiring writer even then, I figured words had to have meaning. Like “infringe”, as in
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
- to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress
- to encroach or trespass (usually followed by on or upon)
“Breach,” “infraction,” “encroach.” It seemed pretty clear: You can’t encroach on that right. Not even a little bit. Not just major infractions, minor infractions are out, too. Words have meaning because if they don’t, no two people can communicate. The Second Amendment doesn’t say “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be revoke in its entirety, but encroachments are dandy.” It doesn’t say “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, except when it’s convenient for the government.”
I was a kid of maybe thirteen or fourteen and I figured it out. I guess gun controllers never grew up.
Case in point: Dana C. Jones’ column Gun obsession is an issue of a nation, not just a male one
The pandemic of guns in the United States is the problem of a nation, not a particular sex.
Says there that Jones is a journalism junior, which suggests a minimum age of twenty years. Jones still has trouble with the “words have meaning” thing at a point years past where I’d figured it out (and at an age where I was already
an E-4 Senior Airman in the USAF).
“Pandemic of guns.” Prevalent, general, universal. Maybe Jones knows something we don’t know. America has the most armed civilian population in the world by a large margin, yet most estimates of American gun owners range from sixty million to a a hundred-twenty million, which makes us a minority. A heavily armed minority, but still not “prevalent” or universal.
If you keep reading (and try not to giggle too much) you’ll see that Jones really alleges to be concerned about gun violence. ‘Cause that’s… not so prevalent either.
Let’s say that there are a mere — chortle — sixty million gun owners out there.
According to this, there are approximately twenty million felons in America, including those incarcerated, paroled, on probation, or whose time is done. Bureau of Justice statistics suggest that around 3% of those are weapons offenses; let’s pretend all the weapons were firearms, just for discussion. 3% of 20,000,000 is 600,000. This isn’t six hundred thousand per year; it’s six hundred thousand cumulative total. That can include someone convicted of underage possession — not a crime of violence — and never committed another crime in his life for decades.
But pretend. 600,000 is just 1% of of sixty million gun owners. Not “prevalent” or “universal”.
Did you see what I did there? I pretended the groups actually overlap. But felons can’t lawfully own guns, so they shouldn’t be included in the group of admitted gun owners. So they’d be less than even the 1%.
You know… 600,000 total felons. That’s less than two-tenths of one percent of the total American population. Hardly “pandemic”. (Heh; given an average life expectancy of 79.3 years, that could potentially mean an average of 7,566 firearms felons — including nonviolent offenses — per year for the past eight decades. Still not “prevalent” or “universal”.
Apparently Jones childishly failed to observe that.
Back to the junior journalist’s panty-twisting.
The Second Amendment, which grants citizens the right to bear arms…
A little study of American history, not to mention Supreme Court rulings, could have shown Jones that the Second Amendment does not “grant[s] citizens the right to bear arms.” It is a pre-existing right, and the Second Amendment was intended to protect it from government meddling. (Since Jones failed to notice it, I’ll provide a recent SCOTUS hint: Heller.)
Words. Meaning. Grants vs. Protects.
Norway, for instance, has a low gun homicide rate and has stricter, more reasonable gun laws. Norwegians need a hunting or sporting license, which can only be acquired by completing a “nine-session, 30-hour course on guns, wildlife and environmental protection.” A sports shooting license is issued only upon completion of a firearms safety course of at least nine hours.
True, Norway has a low murder rate and restrictive gun laws. But Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela have far more restrictive laws — of the sort that would make California socialists swoon with delight — and murder rates that dwarf that of the USA. Jones fails the “observation” test, not to mention confusing a Norwegian hunting license with a firearms license. That ““nine-session, 30-hour course on guns, wildlife and environmental protection” isn’t the requirement for a Våpenkort. That’s the requirement for a hunting license; a hunting license is merely ONE of the possible qualifiers for a Våpenkort. Words. Meaning. Great Ghu, this person expects to be a reporter and is less capable of observation and reasoning than a thirteen year old.
Gun control is not synonymous with annexing the Second Amendment, but it does mean protecting the people who live in this country.
As a humorous Internet meme notes, if Jones likes gun control so much, why not move to the south side of Chicago? It’s worked so well there. Gun-controlled Baltimore might be another good choice for Jones. But… “annexing” the Second Amendment? Words. Meaning.
I’ve piled on Dana Jones here, but only for a convenient example. Consider Gabby Giffords, Shannon Watts, or pretty much any gun controller and ask yourself if that person appears to display adult-level observation and reasoning abilities. Or do their whines for control — ignoring the fact of generally fall violent crime rates (outside of gun control Paradises like Chicago and Baltimore) — sound more like a child crying because she can’t bring her freshly dug hole into the house?
In the past, I’ve accused gun controllers of rejecting reality. Perhaps that was unfair. Maybe they just aren’t grown up enough to recognize it. They still operating at a pre-teen mental level.
Hey! That explains why they always want to “do this for the children”. They meant themselves.
* Several years ago, a friend showed me a Clerke 1st he’d somehow acquired. I looked it over. Then I wiped it down to be sure I didn’t leave any fingerprints behind. I suggested that he clean it very carefully, with forensics in mind, and load it with a single round (likewise forensically sterilized), mount it in a clamp, and fire it with a long string. He should then — still wearing gloves — load one more cleaned cartridge, leaving the fired case in place. He should then put the thing in a sealed envelope labeled “For Emergency Use Only,” and save it in case he ever shot someone in dubious circumstances and needed to plant exculpating evidence. I was joking, but I wanted to reinforce the idea that he should never ever try to use that thing.
Ed. note: This commentary appeared first in TZP’s weekly email alert. If you would like to be among the first to see new commentary (as well as to get notice of new polls and recaps of recent posts), please sign up for our alert list. (See sidebar or, if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down). Be sure to respond when you receive your activation email!