Guns win out

deborah san angelo

Rifles, pistols, revolvers, handguns, AR-15s, nuclear-equipped submarines – there’s no turning back the abundant tide of weaponry. Wars wage, crime persists and citizens arm themselves. Gun manufacturers are confident of soaring profits for the long term.

In the hands of criminals, terrorists, children and the mentally ill, guns wreak havoc. Rallying cries grow for more effective control of this product. At least 24 Americans die every day from guns, not including accidents. We finally acknowledge the immensity of the problem and attempt to sort out the mess. But calls for reform fall on deaf ears of gun-toting, second amendment-loving diehards.

Designed to inflict death, havoc and destruction on intended and unintended targets, many people see the gun as the crown jewel of American freedom. A helpless animal, child or convenience store clerk in the cross-hairs feels otherwise. The cost of this jewel is inestimable in terms of lives cut short, their related effects and the destiny of nations.

The debate is decades old but guns always win. The issue is won by the makers and holders of the guns. The tactic is to get us to believe they care about our rights.

In response to the cries for reforms, the NRA advocates for more guns in the home, school and office. Instead of being a willing partner in finding solutions, they choose to paint the situation in radical black and white terms. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s fear-mongering vice-president, openly instills the propaganda of a government bent on taking away people’s guns and their rights.

As fear-evangelist LaPierre ignores the real issue and pressing reality, and preaches a doctrine of patriotism. Guns and ammunition get swept off the shelves of gun stores as fast as they can be stocked. The congregation hears his message and arms itself.

Much of the push for gun control has to do with safety. We have to renew our driver’s license and re-register our automobiles every year as safety measures. Aren’t guns at least as potentially dangerous as cars? The NRA says nay. Much of the push for gun control has to do with adopting measures that prevent the wrong people from buying guns, such as a modest waiting period. The NRA says no way. Gun violence is caused by people, not guns they say. They’re half right. It’s caused by people with guns.

Shouldn’t we have stricter safety measures on lethal objects? We have safety measures for tools and for toys. We have rules and regulations for what kinds of drugs we put into our own bodies. We have rules for mothers who breast-feed on public transportation.

The NRA won’t budge from its omnipotent stronghold. It refuses to discuss or entertain the slightest inclination for discussion. Even reasonable propositions, such as waiting periods, are rejected from the onset.

Seeking to reduce global atrocities, congress recently fashioned an International Arms Control Treaty. As expected, the NRA condemned it and seized the opportunity to portray a government trying to confiscate our guns, big and small.

Military weapons bring forth an economical bounty for manufacturers. The U.S. Navy’s new baby, the “Zumwalt” destroyer, costs $3.1 billion per unit. An average fleet consists of 50-60 units. Each Zumwalt is equipped with its own nuclear reactor. One strategic enemy shot would blow away a cool $3.1 billion. That’s OK, we’ll build more.

We continue to wage wars because it’s economically unsound to do otherwise. When commanders refer to “target-rich” environments, it has a double meaning. War machines are money monsters and the race to meet current standards keeps the makers busy.

An episode from a popular ’60s sitcom portrays Archie Bunker and his son-in-law arguing about gun control at a time bus-hijackings were frequently in the news. When the son-in-law suggests it’s too easy to obtain a gun, Archie rebuts with his signature logic: the solution is to simply arm all the passengers. The line received a lot of laughs, but nobody’s laughing now. In fact, we’re now beginning to arm our public school teachers.

We see the ability to produce and sell weapons as more important than anyone’s rights. It’s more important than our safety and certainly more important than world peace. Why don’t we just make the NRA the third political party and have members elect their own senators? Oh wait, we’ve already done that. Guns always win.