Sunday, December 23, 2012
If you've been drawn into an argument about gun control this past week -- and who hasn't? -- you'll often find the gun advocates attempting to steer the dispute off the rails by bringing up irrelevancies about the assault weapons craze.
Is the Bushmaster Zip-7 an assault rifle, or a wannabee?
I say it doesn't matter, since the 20 little kids Adam Lanza shot with his mom's Bushmaster are just as dead, whether the gun is a "real" assault weapon or not.
I agree that this gun is a consumer product designed to appeal to guys who have developed a kind of obsession with one or another of the several doomsday scenarios currently being hyped by Hollywood. The fantasy of enabling one's family to survive a "Road Warrior" world with a fake AR-15, a water purifier, and a basement full of canned and dehydrated food is pushed on us by movie makers, advertisers, and the NRA for good reason.
Sales of conventional weapons -- revolvers, rifles for hunting, shotguns, have fallen off in recent years. In the interest of increasing sales and boosting profits, the gun manufacturers and their lobby have pushed both assault rifles and the fantasies that generate a demand for these products.
As usual, it's all about money. Money, money, money, money, money. As always, big capital is perfectly willing to cannibalize children, and immature people vulnerable to a media pitch, if it enhances their bottom line. Remember cigarettes? Same thing.
These weapons need to disappear, along with the NRA. I realize that the first amendment, in combination with the unwritten law of capitalism which says that anything profitable is "good," may make this difficult. Also, such measures would not solve all our problems.
However, they would be an important first step in getting a handle on two crises we're facing, either of which is much, much more threatening than so-called terrorism, or "Islamism," namely, mass lethal violence, and widespread psychological dysfunction.
And in the end, the Bushmaster gun, whether it's a "real" assault rifle or not, feeds our sicknesses and must disappear from civilian life, along with all the other machine guns from hell, fake ones, real ones, toy guns, whatever.
If we can't satisfy our desire to kill something by shooting raccoons and rats in the back yard with a Smith & Wesson revolver, or a .22 rifle, or by preparing for a home invasion by keeping a shotgun in the closet, then we need to go to the doctor. Not the one who's just going to prescribe exotic mind-altering drugs, but a real doctor who will take an interest in seeking the root causes of our dysfunction.