Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Don't Call it a Comeback

I have been here for weeks. After a brief hiatus due to somewhat not-planned parenthood (Let's hear a hearty welcome for little baby Restless Chicano), I am back with some comments generated by a brief, off-KP discussion on kids and guns. To get everyone up to speed, Aztec's children (all less than 10) received a veritable arsenal of Nerf weaponry from Jolly Old St Nick. They are currently delighting in SWAT-like special ops involving taking or holding the 3rd floor playroom in idyllic Inner Suburbia. Your correspondent fired off a 3/4 joking scolding to Aztec for introducing his children to firearms, if only in Nerf form.

After some to-ing and fro-ing, I thought I'd post a quick summary of my thoughts on this matter, which are summed up by not having toy guns in the house and expressing my dislike for guns in general to my children, contemporaries of Aztec's.

Yes, they will use other items to represent guns. Partially eaten peanut butter sandwiches make a nice Glock. The vacuum cleaner extensions make a pretty solid shotgun or rifle. I frown on this at home and I do draw the line at pointing them at people. That's where I actually get a little conflicted with the Nerf stuff. I recognize the sheer joy associated with drawing a bead on your older brother and then pulling the trigger while squealing in delight like a feral pig. I just find it creepy and potentially not healthy.

I know I am on the wrong side of the Ruby Ridgers and, more normally, hunters in general, but I really see no reason for anyone to have a sidedarm who is not a cop or a soldier/sailor/marine/flyboy. I know we were all worried about the British taking our guns in the late 1770's. I just honestly don't think we can get to that point in this country (and if Bush couldn't pull off a constitutional putsch, then no one can). I also saw and loved Red Dawn. Seems pretty far-fetched these days, though. I frankly see very little need to hunt, but I am willing to pass on this one and defer to this tradition and the alleged bonds it forms. Hunting with guns, unless I have been misled, is almost always done with single-shot rifles and shotguns, so I suppose we can keep those around.

I firmly believe that the damage our current obsession/legislation with guns does is really awful. To a point made by VooDoo, while knives and swords are certainly a bit bloodier and gorier, I think there are a couple of important distinctions:

1) You want to cut someone you have to get up close and personal (unless you have crazy Ninja skills and can throw a knife with some degree of accuracy across a room). Guns take away the immediacy of the act. You can't tell me that a guy flying a B-2 has the same experience killing people as a guy with an M-16 on the ground. Likewise, the ease and impersonal nature of pulling a trigger makes it seem a bit easier to me to do so. I am admittedly guessing here, having neither shot nor stabbed anyone ever, though not for want of impulse. Waiting periods seem pretty reasonable. Remember Homer: "But I need a gun NOW!"

2) It would be pretty tough to walk into Columbine and kill dozens with a knife or sword (the latter of which, I am almost certain, is much harder to acquire than a gun). While you'd likely get one or two kills in, which is no less tragic for the victims and their families, the sheer numbers go way down. I also have to think that the physical act of slashing someone might have shocked even those kids and they may have stopped much quicker (see Point 1).

3) Knives have plenty of practical purposes outside of killing or maiming. Like picking one's teeth. Try that with a Sig Sauer. Whoa, boy.

At the end of the day, I am really just trying to instill in my children the same East Coast liberal egg-head ideas about guns my mother instilled in me. Recognize their utility (fighting wars, providing protein-based food if the supermarket somehow disappeared) and recognize the toll that these take on a society that has come to regard life so cheaply that drive-bys in the hood no longer make the evening news.

As a provocative corollary here, I find it somehow odd that the majority of right-to-lifers probably also support the 2nd Ammendment and the death penalty, while the NARAL-types generally loath guns and the death penalty. Far be it from me to give the Vatican anything that could remotely pass for praise, but they are at least consistent with their "seamless garment" approach.


GammaBoy said...

"I really see no reason for anyone to have a sidedarm who is not a cop or a soldier/sailor/marine/flyboy"

Neither did Jews in Germany until they needed one.

May I humbly suggest that you suffer from "recent event bias" (there is a proper psychological name, but I can't remember it)? You are biased to believe there is no use for a gun because in your experience and memory there has not been one. But perhaps we have just been in a particularly stable bit of American history. Perhaps recent history is the exception rather than the other way around.

I know some Katrina survivors who would argue pretty vehemently that you definitely need to own a gun, because there is always a chance that there won't be a cop or flyboy when you need one (or worse, as in Katrina, perhaps some cops will be looting too).

Rather than banning guns, I am aiming to teach responsible use of them. When my son reaches a certain age, we will be signing up for the local NRA training class. I would much rather my son respect a gun and know how to handle it than feel it is something really cool and special that is prohibited by the old man.

Call me a crazy cracker, but I don't see that there is much danger in owning gun if it is proprly stored.

And in the meantime, I plan to get Nerf firearms into my boy's hands as soon as possible (he already has a camo pacifier).

Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Using the term gun in the armed forces will lead to pushups. "This is my rifle [hoist firearm] and this is my gun [cup groin area]. One is for fighting and one is fun." After several pushups from back in the drill team days, I can't help when I see the word gun to subconsciously replace it with the one that is for fun. Re-read RN's post with the boot camp adage in mind- the post has some entendres that really make me chuckle.
Otherwise, its worthless liberal elitist blather. Okay, I'm for gun control too, but if I'd had boys, they would definitiely be playing shoot 'em up with pops.
RN- do you play Halo or any other videogame in the last 20 years? The slippery slope is not that slippery....

Restless Native said...

Specious argument with Katrina, Gams. Goddam right I need to protect my family. How about getting the fuck out of town before the hurrican hits? As someone who does live and has lived in a hurricane prone city for about a third of my life, I will tell you that the lesson of Katrina is: leave before the storm. I would NEVER shoot someone to protect property (mine or others) but would tear their naked testicles from their loins with my teeth to protect my family. Protecting your family meant leaving while the getting was good. My godparents from Metairie spent the storm and its aftermath (and their house was f-ed up good) in Jackson. Quick rebuttal to the "some people couldn't afford to leave" anyone with a car could simply drive away, of course with the concomittant headaches) and anyone without a car could have made arrangements or, if NO's, LA's or the US's government response were any better, would have been evacuated. Looting??? Who cares relative to the danger to your family's physical well-being? Getting a gun (and presumably learning to use it) to defend your personal property? Your apocalytpic approach may yet prove prudent, but I certainly hope it never gets to that point. As mentioned before, if we have to hunker down in Northern Alabama with the dorm girls, I am going to be one of the first asking VooDoo and FocaMan from out west for instruction in the fine point of field-stripping a howitzer. Until such time (fat pitch for the "it will be too late" argument) I am going to promote civilization as an option for my children.

Restless Native said...

YGG, guiltily, I do play some FPS games. I am, however, an adult and, I am confident, not likley to pull a Michael Douglas in "Falling Down".

hoss said...

Sure, get out of town before the storm arrives. What if there is an earthquake or terrorist attack in which all infrastructure breaks down in an instant?

What about small business owners who must leave their place of business with significant cash on their person?

Restless Native said...

What if aliens abduct me? What if my penis really IS small?

Can you weigh these imponderables against the pretty clear social costs associated with "weapons" in America?

hoss said...

Oh, that's a brilliant reponse, Native. Brilliant. Of course I am not armed for everyday, expected occurences. I am armed for the rare "imponderable" event in which I have to defend my home/person. If you don't want to participate, don't.

I love the leftist points about drive-bys and the like. America has millions and millions of firearms amongst the population. NOTHING can ever be done to eliminate all the guns from our population. Any measures that do attempt to significantly limit the ability to possess firearms results in the limiting of LAW ABIDING citizens. Do you think that the perpetrators of drive-bys would ever use registered weapons? Would "oulawing" guns stop crimes committed with guns? Wake up.