It hadn’t even been two days since this poor kid was shot before I began hearing the familiar disgruntled rumblings coming from my conservative friends and co-workers. â€œBlame Zimmerman for this mess, not gunsâ€, â€œThis is a tragedy, but ‘stand your gound’ laws usually prevent crimeâ€, and the tired old favorite â€œGuns don’t kill people, people kill peopleâ€. Maybe so, but without guns, those people probably wouldn’t be dead today.
I’ve never completely understood this society’s quasi-erotic fantisies regarding guns. During every discussion (you don’t debate with friends, you discuss) about gun control I’ve ever had in my life, those attacking gun control will at some point, launch their nuclear attack. It begins the same way every time. Just as I question the need to posess military grade pistols within a family household, the other side (we’ll call him Spike) will quickly inhale during my sentence. This tells me that he (or she) feels he has vital information which will no doubt, logically shatter the logic behind whatever it was I was saying, which is obviously not worth hearing out. As my remarks wind down, a childlike twinkle appears in Spike’s eyes as the emotional brain begins to usurp control of all lines of thought. An aura comes over him which is at first, easily mistakeable for calm but is in fact a completely undeserved sense of victory, and he presents me with â€œThe Male Nerd Survival Scenarioâ€, or MNSS.
The following is the word for word exchange between myself and a self-proclaimed â€œgun enthusiastâ€, as it transpired on a certain popular social network…
Her: I just want people to know that there are good, patriotic Americans who own firearms and who are really fed up with this president (Obama) trying to take away our rights.
Me: Yeah, but that entire premise is based on unfounded fear. No one is taking away anyone’s rights. I just don’t think people need to own assault rifles with armor piercing rounds, or Desert Eagle like handcannons with laser sights for self-defense. Those weapons are built for assaulting armed forces and other military targets, and are NEVER necessary in a civilians life.
Her: Yeah you sound like you don’t know reality. How would you feel if someone broke into your home and had a knife to your childs throat and a gun pointed at your wife? You wouldn’t shoot to kill to protect your family?!?
And there it is. A family in trouble! A crazed psychopath in my house! And our only hope is me, the action hero, with my trusty gun! Pretty dramatic, and of course, complete bullshit. Let’s break this scenario down one piece at a time.
First of all, on a purely physical level, the situation is unbelievebly akward if not completely impossible. I’m no combat expert, but holding a knife on a child while keeping a trained gun and eye on another adult seems pretty impossible. How did they get into that position in the first place? Go ahead and try it yourself, pretending to be the intruder. Go on, I’ll wait. Unless you have the dexterity of a Chinese acrobat, it’s pretty hard to feel in control from that position.
But fine, let’s say this fantasy is actually happening. What kind of sick parent shoots a gun anywhere near his or her kid? â€œDaddy, what if you missed the bad guy?â€. What do you say to that? â€œIt’s the principle, son. We would hate to lose you, but we don’t deal with criminals in THIS house!â€. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
Finally, and most importantly, the entire premise is a straw-man argument that has never happened in the history of everything ever. Look on the interwebs for a few minutes, hours, days, as long as you like and you will not find a story of a family held hostage by an intruder and resolved when the homeowner uses a gun. Ever. And if it did (or ever does) we would know about it, because that would be a fucking great story. The NRA would love to have it on their website. It would also make a great scene in a movie.
So what’s the point of the MNSS?
In a word, fear. It’s a psychologically loaded situation which is designed to get people thinking with emotions rather than reason. When someone you love is in danger your first instinct isn’t to take a deep breath and examine the situation, you want the problem neutralized. Once your mind switches gears into emotional, the question is no longer â€œcould this really happen?â€, it becomes â€œshoot or don’t shoot?â€, and (in public especially) no one wants to admit supposed weakness or rationality when talking about their families safety.
The problem with hypotheticals is that there are never any consequences. Let’s say someone does break into your home (which is a situation that does actually occur) and awakens you at two or so in the morning. Are you trained well enough with a firearm to ready your weapon, stealth your way into the strangers area, identify him or her as a hostile target (as opposed to a relative who forgot the key, or your kid sneaking back home after a party) and get off a few clean shots before they can retaliate? Answer honestly now, because when I get up that early I sometimes have trouble finding my own goddamn bathroom. If the intruder is armed and dangerous, who do you think is more likely to be â€œcombat effectiveâ€ in that situation, the hardened criminal in a state of paranoia, or the civilian who just woke up? Are you prepared to kill a person for the crime of breaking and entering, or theft? To kill another human with a family, possibly children, because they want to steal (or happen to be stupid and drunk)? You know who says yes to something like that? Someone who’s never had to take a life, or someone who’s never lost anyone important to them. Also bloodthirsty psychopaths.
The truth is that over 96% of conservative gun-owners have a penis that is less than 3 inches long when erect and have never truly satisfied a woman. Most have a strange odor to their testicles which is reminiscent of stale breakfast meats and horse urine, and they consistantly fantasize about getting fully nude massages from famous religious figures.
The above paragraph holds about as much truth as the fantasy that guns save lives. The whole myth is designed to make people feel like real badasses, to mentally masturbate about being a hero in order to escape the daily mundane details of life, to be like the guys in the movies! Grow the fuck up. The real world doesn’t work like that. Your gun is statistically far more likely to kill your own child than a criminal. You know what effectively (in reality) reduces crime? A well funded police force and a strong local school system. Instead of buying a gun and worrying about strangers taking your loved ones, financially support the systems we as a society have put in place as a bulwark against crime and poverty.
How about this for a plan: Man (or woman) up, let the intruder take whatever trinkets they want while you call the police and hide your family from danger. Who gives a shit if you lose a goddamn television or computer? Anyone who would chance accidentally shooting their friends and family (which does happen quite a bit) to protect their posessions doesn’t deserve cool stuff like that anyway.