Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another senseless shooting

Fighting firepower with firepower

These killing sprees are just getting old. The names change, the story remains the same. A lot of news really should be labeled olds. Somewhere in Africa, one ethnic group commits genocide against another. Somewhere in the Middle East, a suicide bomber walks into a public place and the ensuing explosion kills children. Somewhere in Southeast Asia, children are sold into sexual slavery.

And somewhere in the United States, a mentally deranged individual with a gun randomly kills and injures a bunch of people.

After Saturday night’s latest bloodbath, there surely will be calls for stricter gun control. These pleadings will be heard by politicians. The politicians will sympathize, but there won’t be enough of them to enact any meaningful reform of our gun laws. The politicians don’t dare tangle with the National Rifle Association, which purports to be a grassroots movement but really is just another powerful business lobby. The NRA vehemently protects the right of its members to sell guns to just about anybody.

Sensible people who advocate for gun control are pretty glum these days. Random shootings no longer provoke outrage, just despair. This mood has even affected our police chief: "This seems at first blush to be a random act of violence of the kind that makes you despair for America," Rosie Sizer said a day after the shootings.

I can offer no solutions to the other world problems, and I’m not suggesting one for American gun violence, but let me throw out some “what ifs.” At the very least, they might bring out some outrage.

So, what if gun control advocates decided that if you can’t beat them, join them? What if they fought firepower with firepower?

What if, for example, they acquired guns and got very good at shooting them? Pistols, rifles, semiautomatic weapons.

Then what if they selected a few key targets? What if someone took an AK-47 and stitched the letters “NRA” on the side of the car owned by the chief lobbyist for the NRA? Probably would just piss him off. But what if a sharpshooter nailed his dog? While he was petting it? Might make him think twice about his job.

What if a marksman shot out the tires on the van carrying a pro-gun legislator’s daughter to soccer practice (while stopped, of course)? He’d get mad, but he’d be scared, too.

I’m not going to escalate this wondering any further than that. One could hope that the gun control warriors could be creative without becoming lethal to humans. Regardless, they would be labeled “terrorists,” just as extreme environmentalists were so tainted when they destroyed the machinery used to mow down our forests. The real terror, of course, comes when some one starts shooting a gun at a crowd of people without warning or provocation.

Again, I’m not advocating any of this. I just want to note that the people who have been victims of gun violence (see James Brady) tend to be more likely to support gun control. From that logic, one might be led to acts of unpredictable folly.

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