Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hey Yutz! Guns Aren't Toys...

"Hey yutz. Guns aren't toys - - they're for family protection, hunting dangerous and delicious animals, and keeping the king of England out of your face. " -- Krusty the Clown, The Simpsons

David Codrea asks in today's Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner: "How would you respond to the assertion that it's too dangerous to keep a loaded gun in the home?"

I've responded to the article and posted my response below as well. If you'd like, take a moment to head over there and add your own comments.

Triptyx responds:
A firearm is a tool. Just like a hammer, or a kitchen knife, or rat poison. By itself, it does nothing more than sit on the shelf, gathering dust.

Unfortunately, at some point we as a society have elevated this tool to some god-like level. When put in a person's hand it somehow changes that person into a murderous monster. Having a gun makes a person feel powerful, makes them have a bigger johnson, and will cause them to prey on weaker beings.

Those of us who are responsible firearm owners, who study self-defense and train with our firearms; those of us who may even legally carry them frequently, understand differently though.

We know that the firearm is a tool. It is a piece of machinery that is actually quite simple. The firearm has no feelings, no emotional baggage attached to it, no will, no soul. Simply, the firearm performs a function - it launches a projectile downrange.

The firearm doesn't care what is in front of it, what is downrange, what stands in the way of destruction, it simply *is*.

The person picking up this tool is the deciding factor. Regardless of age or sex, regardless of past or present experiences, the person operating this tool is the impetus for the resulting effect of its use.

The mere presence of a tool, be it a hammer, a kitchen knife, a baseball bat, a shovel, even an ice pick (all of which are quite lethal in the wrong hands) is not dangerous in and of itself. To create danger, you must add the human element into the mix. Without a human to operate those tools, they are nothing more than lumps of metal or wood.

As a society, we do ourselves a great disservice when we decide to imbue inanimate objects with power. This simple minded idolatry precludes logical thought and reasoning (which doesn't seem to be taught much in our schools in recent history) and provides for an added level of danger in our environment.

By creating this sense of mystique and danger around firearms, we not only cause unenlightened adults to shun them for themselves, but to shun teaching anything about them to their children. Those children, when encountering a gun, know only what they see on TV, or video games. They do not know the real danger that exists in attempting to operate this tool without adequate care.

Having a loaded firearm in the house in and of itself is not dangerous. Having any tool in the house that is accessible to those ignorant of its safe use and utility certainly is. However, that statement can be made of any tool or object. Swimming pools, motor vehicles, natural gas/propane operated appliances, anything can become very deadly in the hands of the ignorant.

Why then, do we not teach basic gun safety in our schools? Why doesn't every child and adult understand what guns are, how they operate, and how to interact with them safely?

Ignorance is certainly not bliss.

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"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." – Thomas Jefferson