Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mayors and Guns

I made a short post yesterday about the Mayors’ Coalition Against Illegal Guns. There’s something about the name of the group that bothers me. It includes a lie. No gun can be “illegal,” because no gun has the ability to break a law. It’s only a hunk of metal and wood (or polymer).

While a gun can’t be illegal, it can be owned by someone who has been stripped of gun rights, or someone who uses it to commit a crime. In that case it’s called a “crime gun” and there’s another anthropomorphic term.

I hate it when people anthropomorphize an inanimate object like a gun. You see it all the time. Reporters write that a gun killed a victim or that a gun went off accidentally yet the gun didn’t go off or kill anyone by itself. Reporters use the grammatical construction to avoid naming an actor. They don’t want to say a teenage thug shot a store clerk or that a cop shot himself in a leg with his or her own gun.

The mayors declare that they’re against “illegal guns,” but they have no idea how to reduce violence by people who commit crimes while using guns. They’re reduced to supporting gun registration and microstamping. Their own words show how they humanize guns while not dealing with the problem of the thugs who use them.

Here’s what Mayor William “Bill” Bell of Durham, NC has to say, “All citizens need to know what a terrible impact that guns in general, and illegal guns specifically, have and how they are contributing to the violence in our communities.” (Note: the webpage will cycle with different quotes from different mayors). Guns themselves have no impact unless someone wields them.

So what should concerned mayors be doing to reduce violence?

First, they should stop calling it “gun violence.” Violence includes stomping, hitting, knifing, clubbing and everything else. The use of a gun may make an attack more deadly, but the main point is that there’s an attack in the first place.

Second, recognize that the problem lies with a small segment of the population. Very few gun owners will ever commit a crime with a gun. Criminals must be identified and it will hurt to admit that most of them are inner city young male blacks and Hispanics. Inner city problems must be solved and political correctness will only may that solution harder to find.

Third, end the “War on Drugs.” After thirty years let’s recognize that people will demand drugs, others will supply it, and they will protect their turfs with violence. Having this prohibition in place makes it harder to solve inner city violence. Drug prohibition has helped turn inner cities into war zones and given their inhabitants well-paying “jobs” in the black market. Without these jobs they would be forced to find work in the real world.

Fourth, gun owners can throw the mayors a bone: and I say this in the spirit of collegiality. We gunnies need to secure our guns when we aren’t carrying or otherwise using them. That’s not to say we can’t use them for self-defense, but all guns should be locked up securely when you’re away from home. Safes or cabinets can be defeated, but we should make it as hard as possible for damn thieves.

Fifth, the mayors need to recognize that there are legitimate purposes for guns. People can enjoy hunting, target shooting, plinking, collecting, and other activities. A gun is an excellent self-defense tool. They should recognize that owning a black rifle is just as valid as owning a skeet gun. It’s how the gun is used, not the gun itself that matters.

But, I’ll see this agenda come to pass when pigs fly.

No comments: