Friday, April 17, 2009

Ban the Assault weapons!

If the movement spreads, we may be faced with a movement to ban Jedi-style "assault flashlights" in the United States. After all with some 400,000 or more people in the UK declaring themselves to be Jedi we just have to ban something.

Meanwhile Barak Obama has re-affirmed his support of banning "military style" weapons, which are ordinary rifles that look like the real military rifles that have been banned since 1934 but are not. The plan is to keep Americans from the lookalikes so that Mexico won't have a problem with the real thing. Doesn't make sense to me, but I haven't had my morning loco-weed yet. Perhaps we have to evoke the scary drug-war straw man once again to obscure the lack of evidence that the previous ban had any effect whatever on crime in the US. Evidence to the convinced, after all, is like garlic to a vampire and so must not be talked about.

"The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons--anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun--can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons."
-Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988-

Sugarman, although he is a licensed gun dealer himself and should know better, seems to have pioneered the tautological term " assault weapon" and admits to using it solely for it's ability to deceive the public, not for reasons of honesty. The concern that police departments are "outgunned" can only be seen as fictitious propaganda (I'm trying not to call it a lie, since I'm such a nice person) when we note that even the tiny town of Jasper, Florida, population 1795, with its seven man police force equips every police car with top of the line fully automatic military weapons: machine guns.

Yesterday, in the affluent nearby community of Palm City, Florida, a woman home alone was assaulted by a man who used a shotgun to blow open her back door. Somehow she managed to use the family .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol to wound and drive off the assailant, who is now in custody. That pistol of course fires a more powerful bullet than the semi-auto 9mm Uzi "assault weapon" the banners would like to ban and has the same rate of fire. Still, we don't call it an "assault weapon" since it doesn't look like one. Pass me the loco-weed please.

Even better: we don't call a shotgun an assault weapon either even though it was used in an assault. Any way, the woman is alive, thanks to her "defense weapon" and the "shoot the Avon lady law" that was passed in 2006 over the hysterical objections of the anti-gun lobby. So far, none of our Avon ladies are missing and Mrs. Russo is still alive.

What's in a name? asked Juliet. In magic-thinking America: apparently a great deal, and unlike the immutable rose, the same firearm can be different things. Whether it's an assault weapon or a self-defense weapon has nothing to do with the weapon or its use, yet we think of one as much deadlier because people are spending a great deal of money making us think that way. Too bad our president has given them his large ear.

No comments: