You know, I just can’t get enough of gun-rights defensiveness, because it has a tendency to devolve almost instantly into either hypocrisy or ridiculousness. Personal experience indicates that when someone says something like “Guns kill a lot of people”, then the gun-rights person may get his/her knickers in a wad and say “People with knives kill a lot of people too, so should we ban knives?” Surprise! Fact is, when we are talking mass death, guns do WAY more killing than knives! Just for fun, I made up a little chart for your edification, and here is is:
I got all these knife attack facts from a site called “Crime Prevention Research Center”, in which gun advocacy is shamelessly pimped by Fox News fixture John Lott . Aside from the general problems of John’s interesting site, such as misprints and spelling errors, there are some concerning signs that indicate to me that John is not in this for the sake of revealing facts that will lead to further understanding on the part of the reader. What he WANTS to do is convince you how terrific guns are, and damn the rest!
Here’s an example – in his statistics on knife attack fatalities (the vast majority of which seem to occur in China), he includes some kind of bizarre terrorist-related mass attack by 10 knife carrying guys (and a few gals), in which upon the date of March 1, 2014, 33 people died and 143 were injured at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province. (Never heard of it? Of course not, we are in America and although we know EVERYTHING about the Kardashians, a deadly mass attack in China would do nothing to sell advertising on corporate TV.) I would count this as a terrorist attack and not a knife attack, because to do otherwise is like calling the 9-11 plowing-of-aircraft into the World Trade Center an “airplane accident”.
But whatever. That’s how Mr. Lott rolls. Actual, verifiable fact does not impede in the least his headlong rush into justification and gun-butt kissing. But these are the sorts of people we have that form the opposing viewpoint towards citizens who would actually like to see some reasonable gun control measures enacted, such as limits on ammo clips and universal background checks.
And then there are the Christians. I am really stymied by these people, because bunches of them are total gun-rights advocates, and seem to be completely willing to suck it up in the face of the firearms carnage that is today’s America. Yet when it comes to abortion – no way, José!
So let me get this straight – getting a gun and blowing away a bunch of people is a personal choice, but deciding to get an abortion isn’t? Come on, you’re kidding me, right? Nope. They are serious. I guess fully-formed unsuspecting gun victims are not only worth less than undifferentiated clumps of cellular “potential”, but are apparently complicit in their own victimhood, because of wrong place wrong time n stuff. But if it is God’s will to let someone die from gunfire, why is it NOT God’s will for somebody to get an abortion? For all we know, God was counting on abortion to get rid of people who were going to complicate his Master Plan, and all those Christians have gone and screwed it all up! Jeez, meddling do-gooders.
However, I have come to a conclusion about gun-rights Christians. Many of these people are kinda on the fundamentalist side, which means they take the Bible as the absolute, literal truth. Like, even the stone-your-daughters and don’t-eat-shellfish parts, I guess, although they seem to gloss over those dictums pretty quick. BUT – they are psychologically prepared to accept whatever silliness oozes forth from that unbelievable tome. And, because they have become stalwart in their defense of the Bible as infallible, they are thus prepared to swear fealty to just about anything written on a piece of paper that is completely subject to interpretation, yet has the imprimatur of respectability and history.
Enter the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I truly doubt most gun-rights advocates have read the Constitution in its entirety, as it is a very boring document – goes on and on about taxes, declaration of warfare, the duties of Congress, etc. etc. But the 2nd Amendment, now! THAT’S something to sink your God-fearing teeth into, especially if you are a Bible-smacking, self-righteous zealot who is mentally prepared to swallow whole whatever is offered, with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. And Biblically, God is totally supportive of stuff like “eye for an eye” and “beat your kids” and “slaughter everybody, even the dogs” and “take your son and cut his throat on the altar (but then He also said “Psyche! Kidding!”, so that particular murder didn’t quite happen. But you get the point.) So if you are ready to gulp the Bible whole, you are equally prepared to gulp the 2nd Amendment whole, even though it says something about a “well-armed militia”, which, for purposes of gun-rights advocacy, is ALWAYS left out of the argument as though it didn’t exist. Perfect! As a good, unquestioning Christian, you do not have to trouble your mind regarding complicating factors or nuance or the possibility of error. Because the Bible is infallible! And so, by extension, is the Bill of Rights!
Let me say right here and now, good people – there is nothing that has been written by man that cannot be unwritten or rewritten. I will concede that there can be sacred concepts, such as freedom, kindness, and patience. But the moment you codify a concept, it will fall prey to the immediate, unavoidable temptation of being made THE RULE by authoritarian people who just love to live their lives under rules – like super-constitutionalists and Christian Bible thumpers. Because rules are inarguable! No headaches, no worries! People like this will always prefer the certainty of rules-based living over the hodge-podge of actual life.
But a lot of us are completely OK with life as it is, and don’t need a bunch of commandments to make us responsible or a book to guide our every move. We are good, and fair, and loving, and principled, even without some simple-minded “guide to living” because we thought about it, examined ourselves and our motives, and figured it out, all on our own! Much as I cannot conceive of having to follow some rule about everything in my life, I suppose gun-lovers and Christians cannot excuse what they consider a pitiful lack of fealty to pieces of paper they label “important” and fat, self-contradicting books dictated by illiterate shepherds.
Ah well. Vive la différence!