I’m a radical. A fanatic. An extremist.
I hold a left-wing ideology far removed from society’s norms.
After many years of slow indoctrination by media releases, and after studying the texts of those I deem more intelligent than me, I am forced to lump myself into an embarrassed group of those who believe passionately in something that not many peers accept. I am forced to admit that I hold a minority opinion, and that my opinion is likely to be dismissed as unsound or unrealistic.
My extremism has grown so strong that I may even be closed-minded. I admit that I might be completely intolerant of your views. I might not listen to your opposing argument anymore because I’ve already dismissed it so many times with facts and a general desire for less violence in the world.
I believe no one in America should be allowed to have a gun. I believe the only exceptions to this should be our police and the military. I believe so-called “common sense” gun laws are not nearly enough to combat our American epidemic. I believe there should no semi-automatics for sport, no handguns for home defense, and no hunting rifles for woodsman. None.
At this point I expect many to stop reading.
But if you’re interested in my extremist view, thanks for continuing and here are the ten factors that had an impact on the development of my impervious ideology.
1. Since Newtown, there have been 74 guns fired in schools. The “common sense” gun law movement is reacting to the mental illness aspect, but only 15 shootings since Newtown have this as a potential issue. If only 20% of guns fired in schools lately are these attempted mass-shooting types, then mental health is actually not the biggest problem. Arguments, accidents, and gang violence account for 80% of shootings in schools, so how do we solve that? Take away the guns. Research here.
2. Accidents can and will continue to happen with guns anywhere in America. Hunters in particular are notoriously safe and well-educated about gun safety, and yet many, many accidents still happen. About 1000 people get shot by hunters each year around here, and about 100 of them die. That’s a lot of dead people being traded for dead bucks. Research here. Hunting accidents with kids happen often, too. About 40 per year. And here’s a fake statistic I’m making up right now: 100% of the guns that injured those kids were owned by hunters who felt they were safe and responsible gun owners. I prefer stats to anecdotal stories, but there’s a story here written by a mom. She went on a walk through the woods with her sons and father. The males carried guns, and were well-versed in safety rules. At one point, the father slipped, his gun went off, and her 14-year-old son was shot in the back. He died in his mother’s arms. His last words were, “Carry me.” And she did, slinging his dead body over her back the entire long hike home. Imagine that. Want to hunt? Too bad. Universal public safety outweighs your desire to kill things for sport. Oh, but are you killing things to eat the meat? Ok, then use a trap or go to the damn supermarket.
3. There is no such thing as responsible gun ownership for protection. If you are more likely to be injured with a gun when you own one than when you don’t, then owning a gun for protection is statistically irresponsible. I choose to ignore how individual training and responsibility can help you beat those odds, because every gun owner who ever had a gun death in their home thought they had enough training and responsibility. It doesn’t get clearer than this: “Rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase risk of homicide…” Quote and research here.
4. I want less murders. Since Australia passed its strict gun laws, there are 59% less gun murders. Check here. And there has been no rise in murders of other types. People aren’t choosing another murder weapon over an inaccessible gun, they are just realizing it is a lot harder to kill people when you don’t have a killing machine handy. There is one fancy paper that tries to dismiss the guns-equal-more-murders hypothesis, but it is a paper easily debunked. More guns leads to more murders, it seems. Technically, the idea merits more research, but getting more numbers for that research requires more people to get shot.
5. Contrary to what the NRA often reports, children are more likely to die from gun accidents than from falling, accidental poisoning, or environmental factors. I would like to have less children die. Research here. Gun accidents happen, and they happen with kids too often.
6. US views on gun ownership are directly tied to straight-up racism. We have a history in this country of states trying to keep guns in more white hands than black hands. And to this day, gun enthusiasts are more likely to have symbolic racist feelings. Research here. That’s troubling, and worth repeating: for whatever historical reason, there is now an actual positive correlation between racism and gun ownership. Research here. Also, because black males are killed by guns at a higher percentage than whites, black males have much more to gain from laws that make guns difficult to get. There is a strong counter-argument that says we must loosen gun control laws because of the racist history of keeping guns in white hands only, and another argument that says we already make it more difficult for blacks to receive a concealed-carry license than whites. But I say the thing that will keep most people of all races alive is no guns at all. No gun permits for anybody means everybody is equal.
7. Some say people will get guns anyway through illegal means. Totally true. But isn’t it worth it to decrease the number of people dying and increase our general safety level? The only statistical comparison I can think of is Prohibition. When alcohol was illegal, Americans had 30-70% fewer drinks. So, maybe when guns are illegal, Americans will have 30-70% fewer deaths. Seems like a pretty good improvement. Research here.
8. I want fewer completed suicides. Let us have some compassion for those who contemplate ending their life. It is fact that many of those who attempt suicide try to back away from it at the last minute. Those who attempt suicide with a gun usually complete. So a compassionate standpoint might be to take away the means to complete suicide. There’s no doubt that mental illness and untreated depression is a driver for suicide attempts, but there is also no doubt that those who attempt suicide often do it somewhat impulsively after a crisis. When they use a gun, they complete. Let’s give them the option to change their mind. It worked in Canada and Australia: less completed suicides every year. Research here and here.
9. It might be reasonable to say a country is safest and most at peace with itself when there are no instruments of death around. If an object is built with the express purpose of killing (guns, guillotines, hand grenades, nuclear missiles), then maybe they just shouldn’t be allowed. Guns are not like knifes, because knives have another purpose. We’d need to make exceptions for slaughterhouses, probably, but better to make reasonable exceptions than have a country full of 16 million new guns every year. Check that number here.
10. The 2nd Amendment is a flexible document, so it just seems silly to consider it the one determining factor in the gun control debate. It must be adjusted for the times. I am certainly no legal expert, but I know that the infallibility of a single document was not at all what our founding fathers intended. A flexible, debatable document is infinitely more democratic. Lest we forget: we changed the 18th Amendment with the 21st Amendment. It’s now time to change the 2nd Amendment with the 28th Amendment.
Care to comment? Eh, don’t bother. I know that my extremist point of view makes me a target and perhaps a laughing-stock. I know that I’ve become unreasonable and I do not want to entertain your opposing viewpoint anymore. I used to love debates, but on this topic I can no longer stand them. Why? Because for every fifteen minutes we spend debating, another American has their insides shredded by a bullet. Those numbers are here. Every fifteen minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
I’m an extremist because I think all guns should be illegal. I have come to believe this religiously, and like a zealot I will refuse to listen to your defense of killing machines anymore.