So, I made my opinion known that I find this article regarding the recent tragedy in Aurora from the New Yorker vile, and it was suggested I make a response. Done and done. I’m going to try and keep my usual foulmouthedness and snark to a minimum in this post and offer a more serious, in-depth post explaining my views on gun control, and why I find the modern gun control movement abhorrent. Much of this is old hat for my regular readers, as most of us are Evil Gun-Toting Maniacs (TM) to begin with, so feel free to tl;dr this and check out our other posts for our trademark snark and foulmouthedness, and maybe some hotassery.
First things first, the Second Amendment is an acknowledgment by our federal government of our essential, individual human right to self defense, full stop, there will be no deviation from that position, on ne passe pas. Government does not grant us this right, because that would indicate that government can take this right from us, they can NEVER take this right from us, just as they cannot take the right to free speech away from us. To argue otherwise is not only wrong, morally and intellectually, it is cruel. It is NOT about militias or the state’s right to maintain arms, those rights have never been in question, every single one of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights are a recognition of natural rights for the individual, despite modern efforts by liberals to argue that somehow, as if by magic, that just the Second is for the state.
Of course the Supreme Court recently affirmed this and stated that the Second Amendment IS an individual right, as is the right to own a firearm in Heller. Gopnik and the New Yorker crew can feel free to choke on that.
As most of my regular readers know, I have my degree in western history, as well as a strong background in political science. With that sort of background, you become fixated on learning what something is, why it was designed the way it was, what came before it, what came after it, learning the what and why of that technology, and of course its broader role in history. When I purchased my first firearm, I knew in my heart of hearts I’d end up with a full size .357 revolver (6″ S&W 686P, I love revolvers), but that didn’t stop me from learning about as much of the total history of individual firearms development as I could. And I’m glad I did, it provides me with increased general knowledge, the means to argue against the gun control movement, and to show that even if they do have the best intentions in mind, their policies will inevitably be ineffective at best and a catalyst for greater human tragedy at worst.
So, what does my oddball fixation on having to know the full history of random crap I’m interested in at the time have to do with the gun control movement, and this New Yorker article? I’ll explain, one of the things that gun control supporters or sympathizers often fail to understand or opt to ignore (whether that’s willful ignorance or malice) is that the basic technology of individual firearms (individual firearms being defined as a firearm that a single person can move, manipulate and fire on their own) is very mature technology, over 500 years old. Sturm, Ruger & Co. are one of the largest firearm manufacturers in America, and have a very handy series of videos on Youtube that give a very brief basic overview of the major advances over the centuries in firearm technology, please utilize these videos in order to understand some of the terms I’m using here. Firearms are machines and tools, just like there are terms one uses for parts or functions of a computer that we’ve all learned, so too are there such things for firearms, and these individual terms are significant.
Understand, the modern repeating firearm using self contained cartridges (bullet, powder, ignition source in a cartridge of some sort) has been around for over 150 years, and there were black powder muzzleloading (sort of) repeating firearms long before that. Semi-automatic rifles and handguns have been around for over 100 years. The M1911 has been around for over 100 years now, and is STILL one of the most popular handguns in America.
Even the AR-15 and AK-47 are old hat, both are around 50 year old designs, modern polymer semi-auto pistols are not that far off from the 1911 seen above, they’ve just been simplified, larger magazines made and new polymers have been incorporated. Gun control advocates and sympathizers need to understand this fundamental fact: firearms are really not that damned difficult to make, they’re not magic talismans, they’re not some blight or disease, they’re a machine, a tool that mankind has been making for half a millennium now. Pandora’s box was opened long ago, and there’s no closing it. There are hobbyists in America who manufacture firearms at home from almost every era of firearms development, up to and including major components of or entire AR-15s, some will use period correct tools and techniques, others will use modern tools and even small CNC machines. Even if one only has access to things such as revolvers (single or double action), pump action shotguns and lever action or bolt action rifles, you can still fire and reload fairly quickly, it just takes a bit more work and practice. If someone plans on doing something evil, and are determined to get access to a firearm, they’ll get it, or they’ll find another way to do the damage.
How easy is it to make a firearm? Ever hear of the FP-45 Liberator?
What is that POS? I hear you say. The FP-45 was designed and manufactured by a branch of GM (yes, the auto manufacturer) during WWII. Approximately 1 MILLION were manufactured by a small manufacturing plant in about three months. Yes, but what was the Liberator? It was a cheap, single shot hunk of junk made out of a small number of stamped steel parts, firing a .45 caliber pistol round out of a smoothbore barrel, so very inaccurate on top of being built out of cheap crap stamped steel parts. It came in a small box with a few cartridges and a sheet of paper with instructions on how to load, unload and fire (you had to use a rod, pencil or stick to extract a spent cartridge). Looks like a somebody grabbed a fistful of odds and ends from Lowes or Home Depot and cobbled ‘em together, right?
The plan was to airdrop these FP-45s across Nazi-occupied parts of Europe, where resistance fighters could use them to ambush German soldiers in the streets, kill them and take their weapons to use against the Reich. The OSS opted not to follow through and use them in Europe, we did however use some of them in Asia, China in particular.
Let that sink in, one MILLION guns, in THREE MONTHS, in a small manufacturing plant, in 1942, with 1942 technology. And these weren’t gun people, these were people who were normally building auto parts. Guns aren’t hard to make, you can find blueprints in books and online easily, any mouthbreather with a small workshop in his basement or garage, a set of instructions and a will to manufacture can make a serviceable, if crude firearm, then you have guys with more advanced stuff, including small CNC machines. There were some pretty sophisticated clandestine gun making operations in IRA circles during The Troubles, building up to and including submachine guns.
That’s just manufacturing, but consider the logistic implications of the FP-45 too, we could have airdropped those damn things by the million if we wanted to in WWII. Now think about the problem of drugs being smuggled into our ports and borders. How many billions have we put into stopping the flow of narcotics, and how much success have we had in stopping the flow of said narcotics? On another front, we now have, depending on who you ask, anywhere from 12 to 50 million illegal immigrants in the US right now. We apparently can’t stop billions of dollars of illegal narcotics and millions of illegal immigrants from making their way into this country, what the HELL makes you think you’ll stop millions of guns and mountains of ammunition from getting in? You won’t, and you can’t, or the illegal immigrant issue wouldn’t be an issue, and we’d be winning the farcical War on Drugs. And that’s not even considering the fact that there are as many guns as there are people in the US, quite literally, there are approximately 300 MILLION firearms owned by the general public in America.
And, grim as this is to say, explosives are far more effective at killing large numbers of people. We should be thankful that most of these psycho freaks grab a handgun before they grab a rifle, and a rifle before they build a bomb, and I don’t see Gopnik calling for the banning of petroleum, common household and industrial chemicals.
So, knowing how easy weapons are to make, move and procure, whether legal or not, who is actually effected the most by gun control measures? Typically, it’ll be law abiding citizens, who are very much about keeping The Man out of their life, and do so by staying on his good side. In essence, you’ve weakened the defensive capabilities of good people against the criminal element, against psycho freak aberrations like this guy in Aurora, and against governments, both foreign and domestic, who almost always either don’t care about the law, or they are the law, so to speak. Is it a guarantee you’ll be able to make a successful defense against any such things? No, of course not. But is there anything benevolent about making a decent individual less able to defend themselves? No, it’s actually pretty damned cruel. That however can be hard for people to see when they’re reacting with emotion, not sitting back and applying logic and common sense to the situation, and lack historical perspective and knowledge on the subject.
As far as the scale of these tragedies, one should keep in mind that even the worst of these rampage style attacks is not nearly as common as individual criminal acts where a firearm is often used as both defense and deterrent, and absolutely pales in comparison to the kinds of massacres and atrocities inflicted on citizens by governments, both foreign and domestic. The most obvious of these are course the Holocaust and German atrocities in WWII, but there are many others, the Armenian Genocide, the Soviet destruction of the Kulaks, The Great Purges, the Holodomor, the Soviet Gulag system, the Rape of Nanking and the millions of civilians the Japanese slaughtered and violated in China and elsewhere in WWII, all the atrocities committed and still being committed in North Korea by the Kim dynasty, the Khmer Rouge, Tienanmen Square, the Great Leap Forward, all the other atrocities committed by the Communist regime in China, Rwanda, Sudan, the Balkans, Saddam’s attacks on the Kurds, the Taliban’s general shitheadedness, the list is endless, and that’s just a bunch of the big ones over last 120 years. I’ve rattled off a list, and we all say yeah yeah yeah, but Stalin was right in that we DO look at a million deaths like a statistic, but the reality is we should look at them as a million individual tragedies. That is real horror right there.
So yes, I want to maintain my right to own a gun, up to and including AR and AK type rifles, odds aren’t in my favor if the government goes off the rails to begin with, but I want a sporting chance at dodging that cattle car ride. And yes, our government is capable of doing vile things too, the two obvious ones being the upholding of the institution of slavery and the numerous wrongs committed against Native Americans. Anyone who is ready to make the argument that our government can’t or won’t go off the rails again either lacks perspective or a respect for history, or are arrogant enough to believe that their ideology will prevent such from happening, or don’t care if it happens.
So, what about compromise? How about no? We’re winning the argument readily against the gun control movement and expanding our rights considerably, why the hell would we compromise with people we’re absolutely dominating, this would be like asking the Harlem Globetrotters to please not beat those poor Washington Generals again…sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.
On top of that, gun control advocates have proven to be dishonest players and untrustworthy opponents time and time again, visit any popular gun blog or read any NRA publications for an endless list of examples, also go to any pro gun control website, almost to a one they lock out opposing comments, delete opposing comments, or outright scrub their website of dissent, it has become a running joke amongst gunbloggers. Needless to say, it doesn’t look good when you’re having to furiously delete dissenting comments of your legitimate opponents. Those of us that accept the logic of the Second Amendment opt not to cooperate with groups such as the Brady Campaign and the VPC for this and many other reasons.
As for being libeled by Gopnik as part of what he calls the “blood lobby” and yes, I am part of what he calls the blood lobby, I support the NRA, and will continue to do so, he can feel free to get bent. You want to know who is really, truly the most cold and indifferent to suffering in these events? The media, people like Gopnik, they’re the blood lobby. There’s a reason the line If It Bleeds, It Leads exists when talking of media. Wanna know how I know? We had a somewhat high profile shooting at my high school when I was a junior (no one killed, thankfully). I wasn’t in the cafeteria where it happened, no, my younger sister had that privilege (it still disturbs me that my younger sister had to deal with that rather than myself). I could however hear the shouting and screaming, I could hear the tables being tipped over by students to make cover/concealment. Nothing quite like having to wonder if your sister was alive or not, or siblings of your classmates, I still get that queasy feeling I had at the time when I think about it.
The police were actually very good, very professional and had clearly prepared for such an event, in contrast to most of the school staff, who couldn’t have been worse if they tried. We were separated by home room, checked by police behind a divider, a female officer checked female students, then escorted by other officers in small groups to a nearby sports bar/grill as a staging ground, and then taken by city bus to another location to be reunited with our families. The sports bar had their bartenders and waitstaff bring out soda and water for students as we waited for the buses. This sports bar has a wall of enormous TVs, usually playing different games, the tables have speakers and a dial to get sound for the game you’re following…like every other sports bar you’ve ever been to. I gotta tell you, watching yourself and classmates being evac’d from your school live via chopper cam on CNN is a bit of a mindfuck.
So, okay, onto the buses we go, and we’re warned that the place is already crawling with media. Sure enough, the short drive was littered with media types with cameras, and walking into the building to meet our families, the walkway was flanked on both sides by media types shoving cameras into our faces. No regard for anyone or anything, including the landscaping. None. And it didn’t end there, some students were followed home by media types, we happened to live near one of the guys from the local newspaper, so he was trying to get information and quotes (was promptly told to get lost).
My family, being fairly well known, got phone calls from the media, as did others, after calling family and a few other people, we actually disconnected the phone. When we went back, the media was waiting too, snapping their cameras in your face as you went in and then published them, even if you asked them not to. These shitheads hung around for a week…A WEEK…before they dissipated. Media types love to pretend they’re sensitive and concerned about human tragedy, but it’s a lie, they are the most callous, intrusive shameless group of motherfuckers you’ll ever meet, right up there with slimy used car salesmen and ambulance chasers that advertise on late night TV. So I’m not about to be libeled by Gopnik and the rest of the media and not respond.
Needless to say, I’m not indifferent, I’m not callous to this sort of event, though by no means was the event I experienced as bad as Aurora. I have experience being in this sort of situation, and I don’t take well to Gopnik’s vague insinuation that those of us who recognize the Second Amendment says what it says, and does so for a clear logical reason are cold to this sort of tragedy. Not at all, in fact, this is why many of us choose to exercise our right to self defense, this is why we have fought hard to expand our liberties and rights, to increase our chances of surviving, stopping or minimizing such tragedies. We’re not glory-seekers, we just want to live in peace, and maybe shoot up some paper targets, break clays or go on a hunt for recreation, you know, enjoy life, which many buzzkills and nanny-staters want to make as dull as possible. Any resistance to a rampage shooter can be quite effective. Needless to say, given my background, I follow these sorts of events closely, and one of the characteristics of rampage shooters is that they almost always crumble at the first sign of violent resistance, whether that is by cop or by armed or sometimes unarmed citizens, obviously armed is going to be better. This is not stated to encourage people to try and be heroes or whatever, that’s not my place, but rather a statement of fact, it is and should remain up to the individual to decide what action to take from there.
As for myself, this is why I choose to own firearms, this is why I will always own firearms, and this is why I’ll never surrender that right.
And I mean it.