Once again, the National Rifle Association can be heard chanting its cynical mantra as it demands the right to unfettered firearms access for even the sketchiest of our fellow residents: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
I have pointed out, patiently, that people with spatulas do not kill people. People with tennis racquets do not kill people. People with garden hoses do not kill people. While most who own guns in this country never shoot anyone, guns are, in fact, used to kill people. Between 2000 and 2015, nearly 302,000 Americans died by gun violence. On average, in 2015, a toddler shot someone once a week. In that same year, nearly 800 children in the U.S. were killed by gunfire.
But today I had a revelation. The NRA has a point. Sort of. Guns do not kill people.
AMMUNITION kills people.
So I offer this compromise. Let those who feel the need or urge purchase as many firearms as they want. Let them stockpile and fondle arsenals; about 25 percent of gun owners possess five or more guns, with over five million Americans owning ten or more guns.
And then let’s regulate ammunition to the moon and back: background checks, purchase limitations, constraints on transfers, and so on.
After all, the Second Amendment, to which the NRA and its minions pledge absolute fealty, presents the right to “keep and bear arms.” It makes no mention of loading them.
I’m sure I’ll hear from the NRA any day now.
© Rhea Hirshman 2016
Working on a longer piece that I hope to publish in the next several days but, in the meantime, I thought I would post a comment I made in response to someone else’s comment on a New York Times column by Timothy Egan. Egan’s column, titled “Bernie’s Last Stand” elicited, as you can imagine, a wide range of remarks about the two Democratic presidential candidates. My interest here is not in arguing Hillary v. Bernie, but in highlighting an attitude about women’s rights that I see far too often, even among progressives.
Here is the original comment someone posted in response to Egan’s column:
And count me in the Bernie or bust camp. I will not vote for Clinton. If she were up against Bin Laden I’d be conflicted. And anyone who thinks abortion can be taken away in states where women wear shoes is delusional. If the barking religious zealot dog catches that car expect it to get backed over in short order.
Here is my response:
The condescension in your comment is appalling, and you either: (A) have no idea of the degree to which Republican-controlled states all over the country have eviscerated abortion rights; or (B) haven’t paid much attention to whose feed are shod. If by the snarky remark about “states where women wear shoes” you mean states not in the Deep South, you need to do some actual research, as several of the states with the most extreme restrictions and/or lack of access are Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota (partial list).
Once again, the twin ideas that certain women are expendable, and that women’s rights (including reproductive rights) are not a “real” social justice issue, rear their disagreeable heads.
© Rhea Hirshman 2016