A twitter friend and I recently had a quick back and forth related to the phenomenal number of shooting deaths in the United States of America. I expressed exasperation with the number of multiple deaths. I was especially unnerved by the statistic that showed that the victims were often children and even more alarming, children were becoming more common as the perpetrators of these killings.
The head shaking and regular doses of thoughts and prayers are not enough to reduce the frequency of death by gun or bullet. When I think of solutions I start with the connection between the gun and the bullet. The two are inseparable. A gun’s only purpose is for killing. A gun is useless without a bullet. There is no point in making or buying ammunition if a gun is unavailable to create the effect desired. Target practise aside, the only effect will be death.
The U.S.gun lobbyists like the National Rifle Association have long frustrated reformists who see the continual rise in gun violence as a sign of a sick society. Even in countries that don’t have the debatable protection of a constitutional 2nd amendment, hunters & farmers will speak up when legislation is proposed to rid them of their weapons of choice. One Australian I spoke with told me he couldn’t imagine life without his rifle. “How would I kill the vermin on my property?” We had a conversation about the term ‘Responsible Gun Owner’ which didn’t end well because I called the phrase an oxymoron and he took that word personally.
One of the most chilling films I’ve ever watched is called The Deer Hunter. It has a scene where a crazed character, played by Christopher Walken, points a revolver to his temple in a sick game of Russian Roulette. Violence always disturbs me, particularly when man’s inhumanity to man is clearly on display. War is all about guns of various sizes or which team is packing the most firepower. The war of attrition which is the Russian/Ukranian conflict, boils down to which supportive countries can crank out the most destructive munitions. Millions & millions of shells pound the ground, regardless of who might be walking there. Tanks, rocket launchers and now aerial drones are used to deliver a range of ordinance on a largely innocent populace.
When I was a teen I got a job in a general store that had a sporting goods section. One Saturday I got to work behind a counter where handguns, hunting rifles and boxes of bullets were sold. It was the only time I ever held a firearm. I remember feeling a mix of excitement and worry. I remember the elder salesman laughing at my timid manner.
Agendas that are prepared for meetings can have bullets. Weightlifters can parade their guns. My peaceful yet practical twitter friend admitted he viewed his gun as a tool. He did agree with my point that it was a very exclusive one: designed for one function alone.
Death dealing guns and bullets are weapons of mass destruction.