Guns Guns Guns
6:00 PM EST on February 16, 2011
If there is anything my children hate more than having their fingernails trimmed, I am at a loss to determine that activity. The second that me or Mrs. Matthews pull the clippers out, they flip out. A task that should take no more than a couple of minutes stretches out tenfold as we try to keep the boys from squirming and flexing their fingers.
From experience, I know that it does me no harm when I cut my own. There is no pain associated with chopping off the dead cells that create the nails. Of course, the converse is not true. Letting them grow, even a little, usually leads to large scratches administered by the boys to their own faces. While the cutting inflicts no discomfort, fighting with a stronger person to establish finger position is not comfortable, either. So, what does their protest accomplish?
I thought about this a lot when debating whether Police Chief Bill Citty should resign his post.
Late in January, a controversy arose when Citty had the audacity to suggest that non-soldiers probably had no practical reason for owning assault weapons...I mean, unless they intended to assault someone. Actually, he did not take it that far. What he really said was:
There has to be some tighter rules and regulations on the sale of firearms and the registration of those firearms.
That is crazy talk. Gary England forbid that weapons created to do mass amounts of damage be given extra scrutiny. Putting aside that this statement seems perfectly reasonable, this is not actually the utterance that caused an uproar that spurred State Senator Steve Russell to admonish the OKC chief of police in an editorial published in just about every local paper. It also is not what caused a nutty local Baptist pastor to become an NRA hero by writing Citty a letter made up of NRA talking points and conspiracy theories. The same pastor also argued that Citty should resign his post if he intends to have opinions about law enforcement.
The above quote occured more than two years ago in response to increasing gang violence. I don't know why, but no one seemed to be up in arms about Citty's statements then. Now that he has reiterated a belief that extra scrutiny should be given when someone feels a need to own a weapon designed to shoot lots of people (not animals, not inanimate objects) in a short period of time, he is a pariah. And why did he reiterate that stance? Oh, such a weapon was used to attack an officer who pulled over a driver for suspected DUI.
Tom Vinyard, the Baptist pastor who thinks guns are Christian because some ancient Jewish leaders armed their men with swords long before Jesus strictly forbade his disciples from using the same weapon, has a solution. He has offered to help fundraise so that the Oklahoma City police force can carry fully automatic weapons on their hips. Basically, he wants OKC police officers to look like characters from Halo so that his parishioners can own military grade rifles without having to fill out an extra form.
To be fair, I am a nutcase in the other direction. The presence of a gun of any kind makes me feel physically ill. In my life, I have never fired so much as a bee-bee gun to get an understanding of what all the fuss is about, like two virgins playing "just the tip." As adamant as the National Rifle Association is about the second amendment giving them unabated access to any killing instrument available, I believe just as strongly that the same words limit absolute gun freedom only to the National Guard. (Seriously, why would a document so concise add limiting verbiage--"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State"--if the founders had no intent of limiting the exercise of the right?) So obviously, I am an extremist.
That means the answer has to be somewhere in between my advocation for allowing only Revolutionary War era muskets if a member of a state controlled militia and Vinyard's plan to have every man, woman, and child walking around town with a machine gun strapped to their back. Officer Citty's proposal seems reasonable if wholly unsatisfying to me. It certainly doesn't seem like a stance worthy of termination.
Instead, gun lovers are acting like my kids trying to avoid a painless event like nail clipping. By taking a position that defies logic, they are asking for more pain in the long run. As more people like the traffic stop shooter who nearly took out Officer Katie Lawson, and Tuscon's would-be-assassin Jared Lee Loughner use equipment that even mainstream gun enthusiasts have to admit are made only to do major damage, more moderate people are going to begin shifting their line of thinking toward my end of the spectrum. Then, the NRA is really not going to like that the proposals will be far more limiting than what Bill Citty suggests.
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