Three or four months ago, I read an unsettling story in The Seattle Times. I can’t remember where the incident happened, but it wasn’t around here. Anyway, a fellow had boarded a bus to go home. He’d just been fired from his job and, presumably, was a bit befuddled and strung out, which may have contributed to his alleged grumpy mood. For whatever reason – the article was short on details – he became upset over a woman seated near him and called her a “friggin’ bitch.” They exited the bus at the same stop, whereupon the woman pulled a handgun from her purse – she had a permit to carry a concealed weapon – and shot him. She told police the man had insulted her.
Alas, that seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it? I mean, if I started shooting everyone who insulted me, I’d kill half the people I know.
Another news item comes to mind. A few years ago, a store owner in Selma, Ala., gunned down an 11-year-old because the boy had stolen a comic book. Again, this hardly seems justified. I once stole a comic-book from Moran’s Confectionery when I was 9 or 10. Just think, if I’d been killed, you wouldn’t be reading these delightful columns.
That’s the problem with weapons: Some people simply can’t be trusted with the damned things. Just last week, a fellow in Houston, Texas, shot and killed a 7-year-old boy because he was trespassing on the man’s property. Some people kill their neighbors for no darned reason at all.
But of course that’s not true of me. I’m a level-headed, good guy.
You see, it’s always the other guy who shouldn’t have a gun. Not you.
So there’s a paradox here. And I don’t think more gun regulation is the solution. I’m a firm believer in the bumper-sticker maxim: “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.”
However, there would seem to be one important exception: I don’t understand why anyone, except the U.S. military and Mexican drug cartels, would have any use for a fully-automatic, AK-47 assault rifle. At 600 rounds per minute, such guns are meant for open warfare and the slaughter of literally hundreds of people at a time. You can’t legally buy them in this state, but you can in others, including, as you’ve probably guessed, Texas.
Perhaps some of you feel the veneer of civilization is very thin and all of us are only one step above anarchy. Look at what happened in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. If the final, biblical Apocalypse is nearly upon us, then an AK-47 may be needed to protect your home and family from the millions of destitute savages about to ravage the earth.
However, given this scenario, do you really expect an assault rifle will protect you? After all, the bloodthirsty mob will have similar weapons and a couple grenades as well.
So, I think the government should try to get a handle on such weapons, if it isn’t already too late. They’re selling faster then gun dealers can stock them and who knows how many the military has already lost track of.
As for the other guns flooding our culture, get used to them and hope we learn to use them rationally – only in life and death situations. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution for dealing with paranoid people.
There’s no easy solution for accidents, either. When I was a little kid, a playmate shot me in the tummy with a Red Ryder BB gun. Except for a slight sting, I wasn’t hurt, but it scared the hell outta my friend. He offered the same, old, lame excuse: He hadn’t thought the gun was cocked.