Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
It’s a cliché, I know, and part of the reason it’s a cliché is because it’s true.
As a general rule, guns are not intelligent and don’t select their own targets. Outside of sophisticated military gear designed to intercept incoming shells and missiles (and even they require someone to turn them on), that isn’t likely to change any time soon – and certainly not for weapons available to the civilian population anywhere. There’s no such thing as a deadly weapon, just deadly people.
It takes a person with bad intentions – or stupidity – to use a gun to harm or kill someone. If someone points a gun at you, it isn’t the gun that’s dangerous so much as the person holding it. Is he really willing to kill you? Will he panic if you hesitate before surrendering your wallet? Is the gun even real?
This isn’t just true of guns, of course. A person with bad intentions can kill as many people with a car as they can with a handgun. A chainsaw can be used to slice off someone’s head, a knife can stab someone in the heart … a pair of bare hands can suffocate the life out of an innocent victim. It isn’t dangerous weapons that are the problem, but dangerous people.
The difference between ignorance and stupidity, if I may step aside for a moment, is that ignorance doesn’t know any better and stupidity should. Walking into a minefield you didn’t know was there is ignorance, deliberately ignoring warning signs and common sense and walking in regardless is stupidity.
With that in mind, I direct you to My Month With a Gun, written by Heidi Yewman.
As far as I know, this is the only article by her that I’ve read. I know very little else about her, apart from the fact she is a strong advocate of Gun Control and tried to convince Starbucks to ban guns in its coffee shops (she failed, which – given her own adventures – is lucky for her). Quite why she expected Starbucks to ban guns and thus alienate part of its customer base is beyond me.
In her article, she discusses her decision to carry a gun – openly – for a month.
In short, she basically acts as irresponsibly as the stereotypical redneck stroking his guns while muttering about ‘darn feds.’
By her own admission, she knows nothing about firearms – she does not even read the manual. And yet she carried a deadly weapon she knows nothing about into public?
If that wasn’t enough, she is so overcome by this shocking realisation that she drives up to a police officer and asks for help. Luckily for her, the policeman doesn’t arrest her for dangerous incompetence while in charge of a deadly weapon. (Hey, wouldn’t we arrest someone who proved they couldn’t drive a car – and did it anyway?) His advice is to go get some training. You know – doing this first might have been a good idea.
Even experienced soldiers have ‘negligent discharges,’ which is army-speak for a weapon being fired by accident. What sort of accident might someone as inexperienced as Heidi Yewman have with a gun she didn’t know how to use?
Go back to what I said about the difference between ignorance and stupidity. What – exactly – would you call a person who knew the dangers, who understood that she was ignorant (I’ll give her credit for realising it) … and did it anyway? By her own admission, she carried a gun she didn’t know how to use near small children.
Reckless endangerment, anyone?
You know, there isn’t a class in handling chainsaws – at least as far as I know. You don’t have to have a certificate to use a knife.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be held accountable for any damage you do.
Guns aren’t dangerous. Idiots with guns are dangerous. And that includes someone smart enough to know better, but does it anyway.
Can Starbucks legally ban her from their stores?
[Teh Burning Stoopid blog has a more detailed take on her article.]