"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's The Best There Is

Remington 750 semiautomatic hunting rifle. Remington's marketing material promises "super-fast cycling.... Rapid follow-ups are its specialty, but famed Remington one-shot accuracy comes standard."

 So in a Senate hearing today Wayne LaPierre argued that since no one is ever arrested for trying to buy a gun when they shouldn't (can you imagine how many prosecutors we'd need for those cases?  And isn't the point to keep them from getting a gun?), the background check on gun sales is useless.  And Ted Cruz argued that a proposed ban on assault weapons is useless because it doesn't go far enough and, if it did, it would go too far.

And he and Lindsay Graham, after failing to get permission to bring real guns into the Senate hearing room, wrote a letter to Sen. Leahy in a fine example of a Senatorial snit:

“Our goal is simple — to educate fellow senators and members of the public how and why firearms are used by millions of law-abiding Americans for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” Graham and Cruz wrote. “We also want to shatter the mistaken belief that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are a danger to society. It is every bit as important we make that distinction as it is to note that one gun in the hand of mentally-deranged individual is one too many.”

Of course, the definition of a "mentally deranged" individual is pretty much anybody who takes a gun to a public place and starts firing.  But until then, they have to be considered law abiding citizens, because we have a 2nd Amendment that protects us from losing access to guns unless we're crazy, and only the truly crazy shoot people up, that's how you know they're crazy.

So our defense against crazy people with guns is to not let them have guns after we're convinced they're crazy, and the only way to do be convinced they are crazy enough not to have guns is if they shoot up a place.  Just because you take a gun to a shopping mall or a grocery store, or threaten to shoot people who might try to take your guns away in some hypothetical scenario that only exists in your own fevered imagination, doesn't mean you're crazy enough to lose access to your guns; which must mean the only people crazy enough not to be allowed guns, are the people crazy enough to shoot up a shopping mall or a school, or maybe an office building.  Or maybe just a guy who's a survivalist.  If he's "standoffish," a Vietnam vet, and his neighbors say he suffers from PTSD, is that enough of a diagnosis to take his guns away before he shots a bus driver and kidnaps a 6 year old?  Or is he only "crazy" now?

If you're crazy, you can't have a gun.  But until you get a gun and do something crazy with it, you can have a gun.  Because until you do something crazy with a gun, you aren't crazy enough to not have a gun. It's some catch, that Catch-22.


Anonymous Windhorse said...

But until then, they have to be considered law abiding citizens, because we have a 2nd Amendment that protects us from losing access to guns unless we're crazy, and only the truly crazy shoot people up, that's how you know they're crazy.

This and precisely this. There is no special class of people known as law-abiding citizens, only citizens, who may or may not commit crimes. 

On a related tangent, you may find this thread at Balloon Juice interesting, in which in order to facilitate some cross-cultural understanding celticdragonchick explains and defends the gun religionists on Hobbesian grounds, noting that they believe their cause is just and divinely-ordered and rooted in natural law, legitimate even if there were no 2nd Amendment. 

As a sort of pro-gun liberal diplomat who frequents their circles, she warns that unless liberals shut up about gun control this group will start an armed insurrection - and perhaps rightly so, in her view - so we better just shut up about it. Besides, she says, humans have always been violent, so what're ya gonna do?

5:43 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Rmj, your final paragraph is a gem. I have nothing to add.

6:40 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

OT: I'd like to know what you think, RMJ

Dissolving The Best Thing About Us in the "Universal Acid" of Natural Selection
Part 1: The Problem of Goodness

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10:42 PM  

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