Saturday, June 7, 2014

Open Carry Guns

I have several nephews who believe strongly in the open carry of guns and assault weapons.  First they believe it is their right to do so.  Second, they believe they might need to protect themselves from a government turned tyrannical.  Third, that they might need to protect their family from an intruder.  Basically, they see the world filled with bad guys, and all that's standing between them and us are good guys like them with guns.

I've spent plenty of time flying around Vietnam during the late 60's as a crew member on C-130's.  The area around many of the airstrips we flew into were not completely under control of our military, and so we were constantly be shot at on approach.  Khe Sanh was the worst, waves of pinpricks of light from rifles aimed at us in the forests around there as we approached.  We'd land with bullet holes all over the fuselage.  It is very disturbing to be shot at.  A Marine friend of mine was at Khe Sanh during the Tet Offensive.  He had an automatic assault rifle that would have been the envy of my nephews.  But  he didn't see being there with his nice rifle as exciting.  No he desperately wanted to be somewhere else.  If you own an a gun or assault rifle you never want to have to use it.  Being shot at is not fun.  Shooting at someone shooting you is not romantic, not like the movies.

In fact the odds of your having to use your gun is vanishingly small.  It is far more likely that it will end up accidentally shooting somebody.  The number of accidental shootings are documented weekly at the DailyKos.com.  This week it's here.   Every week it's reported there that somewhere between 10 and 20 children shoot or are shot and killed, every week.  This week a 6-year-old boy picked up an unattended assault rifle at a family gathering and killed his grandfather with it. In Boerne, Texas, another 6-year-old was left in his parents car while they moved stuff from the car into a house.  He found a gun in the center console of the car and shot himself in the head, killing himself.  

If you feel that you and your children won't need to worry because you will take better care of your guns than these people did, then you need to think again.  Several of the "gunfails" this week involved people pulling up to impromptu firing ranges and ending up hitting houses with people in them a thousand feet away or so.   No matter how careful you are with guns you aren't going to be able to protect yourself from careless people who fire guns even where it is posted "no trespassing" and "unauthorized access prohibited".

In Payson, Arizona, a family was visiting friends.  Their 3-year-old found a gun in the friend's house and shot his 18-month-old sibling, killing him.  

No one is really safe.  This week there were several incidents of police officers accidentally shooting themselves and others when handling their weapons.  Presumably they are the best trained in the use of their weapons, and every week there is at least one accidental incident involving a police officer.

In Detroit, a music store owner saw someone apparently robbing his store and he fired his weapon at him.  It unfortunately missed and hit a 16-year-old boy walking by outside in the head, killing him.  

There are many incidents, this week alone, of people accidentally firing weapons while handling them in their houses or apartments and nearly missing or hitting and wounding or killing neighbors in adjacent rooms or houses.  

The reasons for having guns given by my nephews are romantic fairy tales.  It is pure right-wing fantasy that we would need to protect ourselves against our government, and in any event it would be utterly hopeless to take on the U.S. Military even with an assault rifle modified for automatic fire.  And countless people over the years have found that a weapon in the house for protection is far more likely to accidentally wound or kill someone than be used against an intruder.  

That's really all there is to owning a weapon, a dangerous romantic fantasy.