Guns are not for protection. They are weapons. Their purpose is to kill. Bullet-proof vests are for protection.
If you take the argument to its logical conclusion everybody in the world would have to go about armed all the time. School would be manned by armed guards. Do we really want to live in a society where we spend our lives being prepared to kill our neighbours and fellow citizens?
Guns don’t make you safe. They put you in perpetual danger.
You are 40 times more likely to be a victim of gun crime in the USA than in England, where the gun laws are very strict indeed. (See my previous article).
I know that the American people hold their right to bear arms very dear and I appreciate that. But two things occur to me.
1. The promise was made at a time when the most lethal weapons available were muskets and long rifles, firing one round at a time and taking between one and two minutes to re-load. The legislators at the time could hardly have envisaged the kind of sophisticated weapons available now and surely did not intend the law to extend to any weapon that might be invented in the future. To interpret the law this way is the same principle as refusing a blood transfusion to a dying child because of the way you choose to interpret the biblical passage “Thou shalt not eat blood.”
2. Why do the American people care so much about the right to bear arms? Surely the only reason the average citizen in a civilised country would need a lethal weapon would be if the country was attacked by an invader and the military was unable to protect the people. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. Personally, I’d rather risk that scenario than risk the lives of innocent children on an everyday basis.
Here is an extract from Domingo’s Angel where the good guys don’t win:
When they reached the square, the ragged band of men stopped and a soldier came to the front and began to speak.
“People of the village of Amendillas, We have come to liberate you from the oppressive forces of the Republicans. We are going to Madrid to fight the upstart rebels and restore the old ways.”
The villagers listened, unmoving, their faces entirely without expression. They had been liberated before and had not enjoyed the experience.
The man stood up straighter and went on, “Our orders are to recruit all the able-bodied men for the army and to shoot all those who refuse.” He frowned and gave a piercing look to the band of prisoners. “It would seem that all the men of this village have chosen to oppose us. But we will be merciful on this occasion. We will only shoot the ringleaders and the rest will have a choice.”
He raised his voice. “Bring forth the ringleaders!”
Carlos and two others, the Gálvez brothers, stumbled forward, propelled by a rough thrust from the soldiers behind them.
“No!” screamed Rosalba and tried to get up from the ground. Her head ached abominably and a wave of dizziness swept over her. She sank back onto the cobbles.
There were murmurings from the villagers and shuffling of feet, but nobody attempted to intervene.
As Rosalba struggled once again to get up, she heard Carlos call her name, but before she could stand, the captain barked out the order “Fire!” and she rose in time to see Carlos slump down against the wall, leaving a trail of blood on the plaster. It was the same wall where they had shot her father.
The captain turned again to the prisoners. “Is there anyone here who is not prepared to fight for the Fatherland?”
“Very well. Forward, march!”
As a post script, I’d like to respond to Tara’s comments on the gun culture.
I agree heartily with everything she says. We are bringing our children up to worship guns and violence. We buy them video games in which they can massacre people in droves. We train them to be killers and then we give them real guns to play with when they grow up.
It is most certainly time to change the culture.
Let’s teach our children to love and respect each other. Let them grow up in a world where they do not have to live in fear. Get rid of the vile killing games and lock away the guns!
I rest my case.