Saturday, December 21, 2013

License to Kill

This is the world Gun Rights activists want. We are on the road to their version of paradise.

In the past few weeks, the areas around Chattanooga have seen a handful of tragic and (debatably) unnecessary deaths at the hands of licensed firearms owners.

In Estill Springs, Tenn., a 65-year-old man saw some kids rolling his neighbor's house, so he whipped out his legally-owned shotgun and fired at them, hitting and injuring one.

In late November, a Northwest Georgia man shot and killed a 72-year-old victim of Alzheimer's who first rang Joe Hendrix's doorbell and then wandered around Hendrix's backyard at 4 a.m. Hendrix, 34, killed him in what our culture now calls self-defense.

Less than two weeks earlier, homeowner Fred Steven Youngblood, age 69, shot and killed a 17-year-old who was on his property, apparently taking scrap metal.

On Tuesday, December 18, a 62-year-old man shot and killed a 39-year-old man in an apparent road rage incident. Police claim it's the first road rage fatality in Chattanooga history.

This is the world Gun Rights activists want. We are on the road to their version of paradise.

In all but the house rolling incident, the men who shot (and killed) someone were licensed handgun owners and had at least a mildly valid excuse for whipping out their weapon and ending another human being's life. Gun Rights Activists will proudly smile and support these actions, because that's apparently what our country was founded on: the right to kill anyone who has even a 5% chance of being a threat to us or our property in any way.

Killing someone who steals your scrap metal, who knocks on your door at 4 a.m., or who gets out of his car to yell at you about your crappy driving are all, in Gun Paradise, acceptable excuses. The idiots shouldn't have taken your metal, confusedly chosen your doorbell, or gotten out of their car. Therefore, they deserve death. Sucks for them.

The aim of Gun Rights activists is to move us culturally from a place where killing someone is necessary to a place where killing someone is justifiable. They don’t want a land of justice. They want a land where a few unnecessary or tragic deaths are collateral damage in defense of our right to self-defense.

Lest you think I’m purely anti-gun, I’ll take a moment to praise the new Glock commercial that Gun Rights activists think will upset or bother people like me.

In truth, this commercial is the best and most idealistic portrayal of everything that’s right about guns and gun rights, and it’s a perfect example of why I’m not in favor of eradicating gun rights altogether.

You have a capable but physically inferior woman living alone (or at least home alone, but what manly man would allow their living room to look like that?). You have a mysterious knock on the door not once but twice. She doesn’t overreact, nor are her decisions rash. On the second suspicious knock, she calmly retrieves her gun from a fingerprint-identifying gun safe and sits back down. She doesn’t go out into the evening air ready to blaze away; she just sits back down and tries to watch her TV show.

Once it’s clear someone is trying to break into her front door, she pulls away from the door, draws her weapon, and aims it, but she keeps her finger off the trigger. She doesn’t have to shoot him because the dude passes out first, bedazzled by the male fantasy of a hot ginger in her underwear who knows her way around a kickass Glock.

Unfortunately for right-wing gun activists, the reality is that too many licensed gun owners don’t go by the book. Unfortunately for an increasing number of innocent victims -- or at the very least people who don’t deserve to die for their misdeeds of dementia, TP’ing, scrap metal theft or a roadside rant -- the more Gun Rights activists get their way, the more of these debates about what is or isn’t “justifiable homicide” we’ll be forced into having.

This is the world Gun Rights activists want. We are on the road to their version of paradise.


G. B. Miller said...

Aren't we overreacting just a little bit? Granted, what you gave for examples are extreme at best, but let's not paint everyone with the widest brush possible.

I don't own a gun, nor do I want to own a gun (quickest way to get into a world of trouble if you got a short temper like I do), but just like everything else that is dangerous, people have to responsibility for their actions.

Naturally people will have a knee jerk reaction when other people attempt to decide for them what is allowable and not allowable. It's the matter of trying to find a happy medium. It may not happen in either of our lifetimes, but someday a happy medium will be found between gun rights advocates and gun control advocates.

Billy said...

G.B. -- Four deaths like this in a relatively small section of the country in less than a month is, at the very least, unusual and worth note. Further, the second half of my post is about what is or could be right with guns and our right to them. Unfortunately, when it comes to "happy mediums" and firearms, I've found far more -- as in dozens upon dozens more -- on the "right" side of this debate who refuse to believe a happy medium exists. That's how the whole "from my cold dead hands" quote gets its power: a refusal to compromise or give any ground.

As for me, I'd love a happy medium. No armor-piercing bullets. No automatic weapons. The same kind of licensing and insurance requirements that go with automobiles. Required safety and education classes for first-time owners. Heck, I'd settle for half of those. It wouldn't be my version of happy medium, but I'm willing to offer wide berth to see some reform -- ANY reform -- in the other direction!