Brought to you by my exceedingly talented son, Charlie
With the amount of gun violence that has occurred recently, and the current heated discussion on the topics of gun-control and the need for more thorough background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, gun rights advocates have found a golden opportunity to bring back their favorite slogan, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’’ From Wayne LaPierre, the esteemed head of the NRA, to congressmen and senators across the United States, this witty line has been stated and re-stated to drive home the point that guns themselves are not the issue when it comes to gun violence, and that further limitations on their distribution and proliferation will do nothing to reduce gun violence in America. Things like video games, movies and, well, people are the real problem. I would like to show, however, that no matter how fun and fashionable it may be to find more and more creative ways to stress that guns don’t kill people, the contentious aforementioned slogan is flat-out untrue and down-right ridiculous.
To begin, I will pose a simple question: When out hunting, what does one usually bring with them? The answer? A gun. Next, I would like to slightly alter our favorite slogan and replace ‘‘people’’ with “animals,” as I feel that changing what’s on the receiving end of the bullet does nothing to detract from the true meaning of the statement. So now we have, ‘‘Guns don’t kill animals. People kill animals.’’ And if people kill animals, and guns don’t, hunters should be able to walk into the woods with arms outstretched, grab unsuspecting animals, and strangle them to death with their bare hands. Clearly, no need for guns. Along similar lines, no need to arm our armed forces. Being a person would be enough to go to war and kill your enemy. Soldiers would march onto the field of battle, fists clenched, and laugh at their foolish foes as they weigh themselves down with those useless and cumbersome machine guns. Police officers wouldn’t need firearms either because, as the NRA will remind you, guns don’t kill people. Think of the money we could save! No more weapons development or defense budgets. Ready and willing people would be all we’d need to put an end to the world’s conflicts. Good ol’ fashioned hardy people.
But at the same time, since people kill people and guns don’t, anyone walking into a convenience store could easily be misconstrued as someone intending to rob the place. ‘‘We’ve got a person!!’’ would replace ‘‘He’s got a gun!!’’ as the common exclamation to warn everyone in the area of a potential threat. A man would enter a bank and everyone would dive to the floor and cover their heads, while the teller behind the counter throws up his hands and trembles in fear. ‘‘Oh my God! You’re a person! You kill people! Here! Take the money!’’
If the only condition for being a killer were being human, everyone would be in jail, all the time. There must be some element or determining factor that would transform a regular person into a lethal weapon. A sharp stick would be one possibility – but a gun, or more accurately, an assault rifle – seems to be the object of choice for killers across the country.