INKED! Shooting holes in gun grab idea

Who wouldn’t want a Bushmaster rifle? That thing is a beast. In all its tricked-out paramilitary glory, with a fully extended clip, that rifle could make Swiss cheese out of, well, Swiss cheese.

But it’s not really made for making Swiss cheese out of Swiss cheese, is it? It’s not really meant for hunting wabbits or knocking off beer cans out in the desert.

It’s a killing machine, capable of tearing apart a human being if that’s what someone wanted. It’s not meant to tickle your sister during a pillow fight, rather, it’s designed to shred flesh, shatter bone and leave her brains on the wall behind her.

When retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the man who led our troops in Afghanistan for a year, publicly questions the need for such weaponry for everyday citizens, maybe he’s an expert worth listening to:

“I, personally, don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets, and, particularly, around the schools in America. I believe that we’ve got to take a serious look. I understand everybody’s desire to have whatever they want but we’ve got to protect our children, we’ve got to protect our police, we’ve got to protect our population and I think we’ve got to take a very mature look at that.”

Are we taking a very mature look at it? It doesn’t feel like it. Some studies have suggested six out of 10 Americans favor gun control, which includes limited or non-existent access to military-style weapons like the Bushmaster MX-15 and dozens of other styles of semi-automatic, high-capacity rifles.

What is supposed to be a responsible and reasonable gun advocacy group, the National Rifle Association, is helping to imply that a gun grab is under way rather than a tightening of existing laws for the safety of Americans as a whole, not just schoolchildren.

The gun grab is a dangerous notion, a fictional, nowhere-based-in-reality ban on all weapons, where masked American storm troopers bust down doors in the dead of night and commandeer anything from that single-shot .20-guage shotgun that grandpa gave you to the .22-caliber Ruger target pistol and beyond. That’s an idea not attached to any one organization but gladly spread virally to some of the most heavily armed among us.

The noble heart of the gun-control conversation is still alive with a population that simply believes a change to the Bill of Rights is a change to freedoms in general, the ultimate slippery slope. But the conversation stops when Alex Jones’ and Florida YouTube guy are doing the talking, threatening to gun down government agents.  

In a way, though, those camps don’t exist too far apart; it’s not a huge leap from righteous anger to unhinged extremism. It’s a real and very common reaction to see people’s eyes glaze over when the issue is broached, like some mental force field goes up or a virtual visor comes down where the offended can only see red.

I can accept the idea that someone wants their guns for pleasure and for protection. I can accept the idea that a rejection of certain aspects of gun control is more about what it won’t do than what it will. I can accept the premise that good people will be left defenseless while the bad guys will find their weapons to harm.

What becomes increasingly difficult, however, is to hear the arcane arguments and archaic ideas of what once was being applied to what is today, chiefly this armed citizenry meant to push back a tyrannical government.

It’s a rich man’s problem to have executive orders, unmanned drones and warrantless wire taps as your strongest examples of a government on the edge of tyranny.

The people of nations like Syrian, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda and a dozen other countries where the government has been known to wage active war on its citizens would likely pray for the United States’ problems.

It certainly doesn’t make what goes on here any better, or even acceptable, but it’s just one perception problem that exists in the conversation about gun control.

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