Friday, November 01, 2013
It's happened yet again. Another person with a firearm has taken out whatever issues he has on people who didn't do a damn thing to him.
Again, of course, it's early days and we don't really know what happened this morning at Los Angeles International Airport, although the report I linked to claims that written material was found on the alleged shooter that indicates he has a problem with the federal government in general and the TSA in particular. I've heard other reports saying the same thing. Several TSA employees were shot in the incident (I hate that word in relation to something like this, by the way; it makes it sound so, I don't know, pedestrian, an event) and most reports are saying that one TSA employee was killed.
And, you know, I don't want to hear the argument, yet again, that it's not the firearms that are to blame, it's the people who use them, that it could just as well have been a knife (that's the alternative implement named in most of these arguments). As far as I'm concerned, that's bullshit. There are other, more benign, uses for knives. Firearms, on the other hand, are specifically meant to kill, and they do so more quickly and more efficiently than a knife. Oh, sure, you can kill somebody with a knife. But, you have to get up close to them (or you have to have a freakishly good throwing arm), and you can't take out more than one person at a time.
And, yeah, I'm angry right now, because this sort of thing just shouldn't happen. My cynical side is thinking, as someone else somewhere on the Internets observed, I wonder how long it'll be before Wayne LaPierre gets up in front of cameras and declares that what we need are more "good guys with guns" in airports. If you follow along here, you know how I feel about the LaPierre Solution to firearm violence.
I'm also frustrated right now, because I've already seen arguments - the predictable arguments - on the 'Net between those who believe that things are still out of hand, 10,000 or whatever the number is now of firearms deaths after Sandy Hook and those who still think that background checks are a slippery slope to the government coming and taking everyone's guns away from them. Well, at this point, I'm beginning to think that some people need to have their firearms taken away from them. Or never given the opportunity to own them in the first place, which is what background checks are all about.
Of course, those kinds of checks aren't going to eliminate gun violence completely, because you can't catch every threat and sometimes people's circumstances change. But background checks are a start, and they should be universal.
I also, by the way, don't buy the argument that it's dishonest people who steal law-abiding citizens' guns who are doing all the shooting. Because, you know, if fewer people had firearms, there would be fewer of them to steal. And if the people who own firearms would practice good security, it would be more difficult for those dishonest people to steal them. It's pretty simple: Lock the damn guns up when you aren't using them for a legitimate purpose, and quit leaving them lying around.
And speaking of that, I used to know some people who owned guns. Left a loaded gun leaning up against the wall next to their front door all the time. With young children in the house, children younger than five years old. When I mentioned this one time, their response was that the kids knew they weren't supposed to touch the guns. Which was probably true. But do you know any three or four or five year old who obeys one hundred percent of the time? No, neither do I.
I did like one thing I saw today on the 'Net. It came over my Facebook feed in a post by writer David Gerrold. He asked the question I have also asked people repeatedly: When did the right to own a firearm become more important than the right to a reasonable expectation that when you walk out the door in the morning to go to work some out-of-control jerk isn't going to gun you down? He didn't put it in just those words, but that's the gist of what he said.
I think it's a really good question.
Sorry. I'm just upset about this latest incident (there's that word again), and I'm thinking out loud in front of everybody on the Internet (which probably isn't a good idea, but that never seems to stop me). I don't have any answers, or at least any answers that my gun-owning friends would accept. But there has to be some answer to this idiocy. There has to be.