Paranoia: Common and Otherwise

Predictably, the President’s speech about reducing gun violence convinced my weekday crowd that they should start preparing to hold off the FEMA  black helicopters and UN storm-troopers.

I’m not so worried about this, myself, since I’m not in the Evil Black Rifle/Cold Dead Finger club. My nightmares tend to be more existential and my vivid heroic fantasies more hedonistic than the apocalyptic doom that background checks and gun registration represent to some patriots. My fight-or-flight response isn’t in full panic mode over any of this.

In the late ’80s, when I bought my second handgun, I was in and out of the shop in 8 minutes: I pointed to a (previously examined) readily concealable firearm, answered ‘NO’ to every question on the ATF form, gave my ID and a credit card to the clerk and it was “thank you, come again!”. Even at the time I thought it was a little too easy. I get more rigmarole now when buying over-the-counter decongestants.

I don’t think of unrestricted gun ownership is as much of a sacred right as it is a major public safety issue. I think there are strong arguments for requiring training before being eligible to buy a gunbackground checks for all gun transfersprosecution for attempting to purchase guns illegally, trigger locks, mandatory gun liability insurance and that gun thefts be reported promptly to law enforcement. These are reasonable measures. (Then again, I also think a hit-and-run conviction should mean a lifetime ban on drivers licenses or vehicle ownership/operation, and that there shouldn’t be any religious exemptions for vaccinations or health insurance plan coverage. So call me a godless commie).

Statistically, guns are dangerous: they are built to create danger, to project Force and Will and to Do Harm Unto An Intended Target, DIE-DIE-DIE! (that’s both the self-defense and criminal markets summed up). But know what? Lots of gun designs are utter crap. Heck, I blew a hole in the wall trying to clear the chamber of this very tiny .32 auto once, and I knew the gun well. In some years there are 500 deaths in the US due to accidents like this.  Heck, five people were injured due to accidental discharges at three different gun shows today, “Gun Appreciation Day”. What other kind of product gets away with that level of random lethality? Gun makers are specifically exempt from lawsuits regarding pretty much any aspect of their product, its marketing, ab/use or performance: can you think of any manufacturer that wouldn’t kill to get that kind of immunity?

Why haven’t any car companies garnered this kind of legislative influence? Look at the numbers. Car companies are supposed to earn loads more than gun manufacturers, so in a capitalist system more money should equal more “pull”, right?  I’m trying to understand how the smaller pile of money held by gun makers has utterly aced the bigger pile of cash car makers have. Maybe gun-makers invite groups of young potential politicians out to hunt hobos and secretly film their kills for future political leverage?

I wish I could embed video of John Stewart riffing on all this  TYRANNY!-talk. And you don’t want to miss the clip of Michele Malkin going all “Gun-Grabbing Doctors to Pursue ‘Nanny State’ Agenda” about it.


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