The newspaper of record reflected the disease last night. They had an article about the man killed over texting during the previews at a movie that included this ridiculous paragraph.
The killing underscored the increased debate about when to use smartphones in public. In October, the singer Madonna was spotted texting during the Lincoln Center premiere of “12 Years a Slave.” That led Tim League, chief executive of Alama Drafthouse, a Texas-based chain of boutique cinemas, to post on Twitter that she was banned from watching movies at his theater.
No, it did not underscore that debate. It underscored the debate over whether we should continue to allow armed assholes to wander the streets freely. You know, that real issue that no one in America, including the New York Times, wants to deal with, because the proponents of armed assholery like to kill you if you disagree with them.
(By the way, if you go read that article now, you’ll discover that it has been cleansed of that astonishingly stupid paragraph.)
It’s about time the US had a rational discussion about gun control, though. It’s way past due, and the weird aversion to changing the way we manage guns has to be overcome. So here are my suggestions for a start.
Repeal the second amendment. All right, we don’t actually have a mechanism to strip that sucker out of there, but we can override it with a new amendment. Face it, the second amendment stinks: it’s an 18th century relic, it’s ambiguously worded (it’s about militias, people), and somehow stupid Americans have it fixed in their brains that the Constitution is sacred magic — all they have to do is shout, “Second amendment!” and we’re supposed to dissolve into accommodating bits of gelatin before them. We can criticize and revise the Constitution, you know; if you revere the Founding Fathers, you should at least still recognize that they thought an informed citizenry was important. You’re supposed to think, not just follow rules.
Regulate gun ownership. Regulate the heck out of it. I live in a state where all liquor sales, even of wine and beer, have to be made through state-licensed stores — but I can order a freaking AR-15 through reddit. This is absurd. End all the loopholes, including the gun show provisions. All gun sales must be made through strictly licensed dealers, with extensive background checks, and all gun sales must be made in person with photo ID and a permanent record made. Make gun ownership public: anyone and everyone can look up who owns guns and where the guns are.
If you are a responsible gun owner who needs the tool for hunting deer, this should be no burden at all on you. I’m very suspicious of people who insist that their possession of a deadly weapon must be secret and untraceable, and that they must be allowed to buy it from the skeevy guy operating out of a trailer.
You have no right to carry a gun in any public place. No more concealed carry permits. No more “stand your ground” laws. Only authorized agents of the law should be carrying weapons in public, and even there, not all of them should be armed, and those who are, should be clearly and obviously armed. You’re packing heat in a movie theater? Fuck, WHY??.
End the “gun collector” excuse. I don’t believe the pretense that you’re merely building a historical archive, that you’re simply gathering Americana of note. Collect bottles or hubcaps, instead. If you must insist that you’re creating a museum, OK…then you won’t object if every weapon in your collection is thoroughly and irreversibly modified to be non-functional: firing pins removed, solid plugs placed in the barrel, mechanisms locked in place with a nice glop of super-glue. If you have religious reasaons that they must be functional, go collect old hand grenades and undetonated bombs. You’ll expunge yourself from the population soon enough.
We have no problem recognizing that if you have a bale of marijuana in your garage you’re in the business of dealing, not just recreationally consuming, drugs. If you’re accumulating an arsenal of deadly weapons, this isn’t for your personal enjoyment any more, you’re up to nefarious purposes.
No more “self defense” excuse. The only people we need to defend ourselves from are the jerks who carry guns. And guns are a lousy instrument for self-defense — they’re indiscriminate and irreversible, they tend to punch holes in objects and people that we didn’t intend to punch holes in, and there are no take-backs after you punch a hole in someone by mistake.
You want to defend yourself? Take a martial arts course. Too unathletic to do that, like me? Support your local police and have a phone by your bedside.
Change the culture. You may think you’re a macho stud when you swagger down the street with a pistol at your hip, but the rest of us think you’re a pathetic asshole who is not just stupid, but a real danger to others. The rest of us have to get that message across to the NRA membership.
There are very few legitimate uses for guns by general citizens — hunting, target shooting — and none of those require assault rifles, secrecy, or huge stockpiles of guns and ammo. If you actually have a practical use for the gun as a tool, I can respect that and have no problem with it, just like people who have a use for a tractor. But you know, it’s a tool with a specific purpose, and the nitwits who want to extend that purpose to being a constant presence in our lives are overcompensating losers.
Now, cue the stupid people declaring their love of guns in the comments, and accusing me of being a commie. I’ll prime your anger by telling you right off the bat that if you love guns, you are a sick, pathetic, twisted dingbat, and I won’t care about your arguments.