Comment of the Fortnight
Since the two children allegedly shot their classmates and a teacher in Jonesboro,
Arkansas this past week, the radio talk shows have had idiotic comments like these:
31 March 1998
The Gun Issue
In particular, there have been comments like these
from people who worship the
- It was caused by the southern gun culture.
- If these kids hadn't been taught to shoot tin cans off of fences this would
not have happened.
- It can all be laid at the doorstep of Bill Clinton, who has not provided moral
leadership for this country.
- This is all the fault of the liberals.
In regard to these last few comments,
I sent the following fax to talkshow host
who is a bit conservative for my tastes but quite enjoyable to listen to.
- A woman in Daly City killed her children by taping their mouths shut with duct
tape. When are they going to outlaw duct tape?
- You can kill a person with a brick, so why don't they outlaw bricks?
- Computers are used to control weapons systems, so why don't they outlaw computers?
- Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
There are two small but significant points that your callers seem to overlook:
That pretty much sums up my feelings about the "why don't they outlaw..." crowd.
- The primary purpose of duct tape is to tape ducts together -- although you can
use it to kill people. The primary purpose of a brick is to build buildings -- although
you can use it to kill people. The primary purpose of a computer is to manipulate
numbers -- although you can use it to control a weapons system and kill people.
The primary purpose of a gun is to kill people. (When was the last time you used
a gun to repair ducts, build a building, or balance your checkbook?)
- Guns don't kill people - they just make it a whole lot easier to do so. It takes
a lot more involvement and effort to kill someone with duct tape or a brick at
close range than with a high-powered rifle at fifty yards.
To answer the questions you didn't ask:
You may, of course, wish to see an
- No, I don't own a gun. I haven't been trained to use one, and I'd be more
dangerous to myself than to anyone else.
- Yes, I think gun locks are a fabulous idea. The parents of the children in
Jonesboro were sufficiently responsible to keep their guns locked in a gun vault;
the children had to go elsewhere to allegedly steal the guns.
- No, I can't figure out why anyone who isn't a collector needs to have unlimited
numbers of guns in his or her house. Five for protection and five for hunting
per person seems more than adequate to me. (I can't figure out why you'd need
more than five televisions in an average home, either.)
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