The horrors of ‘gun violence’

As promised, we will now take a look at the term “gun violence,” a term often used by those who believe that the key to protecting the citizenry is to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, civilian access to firearms. When people who hold such beliefs use that term, their obvious intent is to imply that “gun violence” is inherently, fundamentally different from (and much worse than) other types of violence.

Why is that, though? How is being stabbed or bludgeoned to death preferable to being shot to death? Presumably, those who single out “gun violence” as the “worst” type of violence would acknowledge that dead is dead, however the death is brought about. I don’t normally consider the old sit-com, “All in the Family,” a source of great wisdom, and of all the characters, Archie Bunker might be the last to go to for enlightenment, but in the following exchange, I think Archie was right on the mark:

GLORIA: Do you know that sixty percent of all deaths in America are caused by guns?

ARCHIE: Would it make you feel any better if they was pushed out of windows?

By the way, where Gloria got her “60 percent” figure is a real mystery–but it certainly wasn’t from any real numbers.

One would think that we are expected to look back with nostalgic longing to a time before firearms–the early medieval period (also known as the Dark Ages–sounds lovely, doesn’t it?), for example. Sure, there were vast amounts of violence, but none of it was “gun violence.” Ah–to have worries only of disembowelment by sword, or decapitation by ax, or the crushing of various important body parts by mace–sure beats the hell out of having to worry about someone popping you with a 9 millimeter, doesn’t it?

Similarly, I suppose that Rwanda in 1994 was the setting of the “best” modern genocide. Sure, close to a million people (perhaps more) were slaughtered, but most were killed in “machete violence.” How nice for them! I bet that as they lay on the ground bleeding to death, they thought to themselves “At least there aren’t guns around, since guns only make things worse.” One can only wonder how differently events would have turned out if, say, 10,000 of the murdered Tutsis and moderate Hutus had each possessed an AK-47 and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition.

Another interesting thing about the way those who hate guns have of looking at the world can be seen in how they quantify “gun violence.” Most of the statistics they cite count suicides as “gun violence.” I wonder if suicides committed by the deliberate ingestion of a vast overdose of sleeping pills would be considered “pill violence.” Some even count accidental shootings as “violence.” By that kind of accounting, we certainly live in a violent world, with all the car accidents (automotive violence), falling accidents (gravitational violence), drownings (aquatic violence), etc.

They also refer to justifiable self-defense shootings and police shootings as “gun violence.” Certainly such shootings are violent, and obviously a gun was used in the violence, but are we to categorize the shooting of someone who was about to beat his wife to death the same way we could categorize a drug dealer carelessly shooting a child when trying to shoot a rival drug dealer? When some one with murderous intentions and a knife or a bat comes after you, “gun violence” just may be the only thing that can save your life.

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