Just how useful is your little Glocky-Wock going to be against a lunatic with an AK-whatever?
Another massacre, this time in Aurora, Colorado. Not by a foreign terrorist. By one of us. By one of the most fortunate among us. As we go distractedly about our business, three questions come up:
– Why does this keep happening?
– How can we protect ourselves?
– How can we stop it?
As I went about my own day, I passed by the gun shop in the mall I frequent. On the window was the sign of a protection consultant: “Refuse to be a victim” it said. In the adjoining window is an ad for the versatile Glock pistol. The shop is, of course, full of guns of all kinds.
All of this brings back a memory not quite a year old. A few weeks after I moved into my new house, a team of robbers kicked in a door when I was out and took a few things—an unused TV screen in a trunk, an old laptop, some alcohol. They dismantled my beds and emptied my dresser drawers looking for money and weapons I assume.
The incident didn’t bother me that much. It may have been teenagers. They didn’t damage anything but the door, and it must have been clear that a return would not have been fruitful, since I’m not inclined toward the techie stuff they can hock.
My brother was concerned, however, and soon he and his wife came up from Texas to visit and show me a weapon they hoped I would acquire. An accomplished hunter, my brother knows a lot about guns and has quite a collection. This one has a laser beam to aim with, and it is small and easy to handle. Fueled by a margarita, I succumbed to an Annie Oakley moment and committed to buy one.
The next day, however, I came to my senses. I would not own the gun; the gun would own me. I’d have to start going to a shooting range to get comfortable with it. And I would live with troubling questions. Under what circumstances would I want to carry it with me? In the meantime, where would I put it in the house to make sure it was safe and yet accessible? (If I had had it under my pillow when the robbers hit, they would now have a very nice, expensive new gun.) Could I actually shoot someone with it? Would my shadow come up so that I started hoping for an opportunity to shoot someone?
I ultimately decided that owning a gun would kind of ruin my life, and I declined to get one. I put the new carving knife I got for Thanksgiving turkey in the closet instead. I didn’t tell my brother, but I’m doing this for him.
I’m basically not a fearful person, but I see how profitable fear is in our economy. Insurance companies, security companies, investment companies, pharmaceutical companies, and on and on continually foment anxiety so that we will buy their products and services. And gun companies really have a racket. They not only create the reason to be fearful, they also manufacture imagined protection against it.
However, the National Rifle Association (NRA), their most powerful ally, is really stupid, if you can forgive me for being so blunt, in forestalling legislation to prevent the sale of automatic weapons. Passions are running high right now to acquire and tote guns everywhere, but I have a question for the inflamed: Just how useful is your little Glocky-Wock going to be against a lunatic with an AK-whatever? Hopelessness is looming, and the NRA needs to get on board with leveling off the playing field, or whatever the expression is. Automatics belong with guys who have signed up for uniforms.
After walking by the gun shop, I went on a little curiosity tour of the store where I sometimes rent videos. I had decided to count the number of videos in the main rental section that had guns on the covers. I wasn’t statistically impeccable in that I didn’t count the total number of different videos available. However, of that number, seventy-six had guns of some kind on the cover. (Swords are another big category.) I challenge you to do the same. Check it out, and you’ll be amazed. There are also more and more movies featuring women blasting away. Equal rights, you know.
So if we’re wondering what’s causing these tragic episodes, all we need to do is go look in the mirror. We love violence in all its forms. We find it vastly entertaining. And nothing is going to change until we change. I left the video store with no movie but with a resolution in hand. It starts here. I’m never again renting a video with a gun on the cover. If nothing else appeals, I can entertain myself.