Thursday, July 26, 2012

Guest Post: The Grumpy Bulldog: Night of the Gun

Grumpy Bulldog is back..with a vengeance...
In the wake of the shootings last week in Aurora, Colorado, I needed to let my alter-ego the Grumpy Bulldog out of his doghouse to rant about gun control.  If you're in the NRA or anything like that, you should probably just check back here Tuesday for the next post.  Just warning you, it'll get a little grumpy.

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What happened last week in Colorado was a terrible tragedy.  And as many people are quick to point out, a tragedy that could easily have been prevented.  Not only with tighter security around movie theaters and a ban on assault rifles, but with a change in our mindset about guns.

As someone who lives in the Detroit area, stories about gun violence are nothing new to me.  Just about every day on the morning news there's another story about someone being shot and usually killed by a gun.  The usual story is that two people are arguing over something (a woman, custody of the kids, a pair of shoes, hell by now there's probably been a case of people arguing over the remote control for the TV) and eventually they whip out their guns and BOOM! we have at least one more body in the morgue.

The real problem in my mind is that all your usual suspects--the NRA, their Republican lackeys, rap music, Hollywood--all encourage the frivolous use of guns.  It's what I think of as the "Clint Eastwood Complex" where people think the way to solve their problems is to whip out a gun like they're Dirty Harry or some Old West gunslinger.  Inevitably that leads to the gun being fired and someone winding up dead.

Whatever the issue this Holmes guy in Colorado had, he clearly thought his solution was to whip out an assault rifle and mow down a bunch of innocent people trying to watch a movie.  (Ironically a movie about a character who's a victim of gun violence and refuses to use guns to settle his scores.)  Not that I would consider him a victim, but he is another of the deranged psychopaths our gun-obsessed culture produces.

Another irony is that Hollywood, along with the music industry, are huge enablers of gun violence.  The NRA and their Republican lackeys keep it legal for everyone to own guns but Hollywood and the music industry are the ones who make it look cool.  I mean just go through the list of gun-toting "heroes":  the aforementioned Dirty Harry, pretty much every John Wayne character, James Bond, Jason Bourne, Robocop, the Terminator, even Han Solo or Captain Kirk if you count ray guns.  So in all these different genres through all of history we have "heroes" who demonstrate that if there's a problem, the solution is to pick up a gun and fight back.  I'm not sure if it was just a coincidence or some kind of statement that the guy chose a movie theater but it is a sadly appropriate place for a shooting rampage.  If you don't believe me, the trailer for "Gangster Squad" featured gangsters firing through a movie screen, INTO the crowd.  (That trailer has now been removed and that scene might even have to be removed from the film in the wake of this tragedy.)

So in my final analysis at any rate, we reap what we sow with these rampages.  We endlessly broadcast this idea that guns are necessary to solve our problems and then we make it super easy for people to buy assault rifles and then we're shocked when a delusional person goes too far and uses that assault rifle for evil.  What we need then is more than a ban on assault rifles, but to change our thinking and realize that whipping out a gun should be left to the police, military, and other professionals, though not even they use those guns appropriately all the time.

And I'm not saying this as some fuddy-duddy Bible thumper or anything.  I mean I grew up playing with Transformers and GI Joe action figures.  I have a whole collection of violent action movies.  I played some of the early first-person shooter games like "Wolfenstein 3D" and "Doom."  I've written plenty of violent action stories, such as my story "Chance of a Lifetime" where a girl gets some guns (including an AK-47) and goes to hunt down the people who wronged her.  Really though the difference between me and Holmes or those gun nuts who think everyone should be packing heat is that I still know that stuff on TV, the movie screen, etc. is fake.  Those are just stories for entertainment; they aren't real life nor should they be viewed as some kind of life philosophy.

It's not that I want to be a total tree-hugging hippie and say we need to toss all our guns into a smelter.  I think it's fine if you have a rifle for hunting deer or whatever, though I personally see no fun in that.  I'm not even opposed to you having a handgun in your home for protection if you can use it responsibly.  And therein lies the problem; people don't use guns responsibly.  The reason I don't own one is I always say if I have a gun then I'll be tempted to use it.

I think if we really want to solve the problem then first we do need to reinstate the ban on assault rifles.  There is just no fucking reason a guy like Holmes should have been able to buy an AR-15 machine gun.  You don't use those for deer hunting and you don't need a fucking assault rifle to protect yourself unless you're expecting an entire army to come after you.  That should just be common sense.  Really we should ban everything except your basic hunting rifles and handguns.  Nothing automatic, no machine guns or machine pistols.  I mean, come on, what's the justification for letting people carry around automatic weapons?  And don't give me that Second Amendment bullshit either.  That amendment was designed in another time, when the US faced the threat of another British invasion or attacks by Native American tribes and police forces weren't very organized.  Ironically it's the "conservatives" who like to get all liberal about interpreting that amendment.

The second thing is that if you want to own a gun you should only be allowed ONE.  You should also have to take mandatory classes to know how to use said gun.  I'd make mandatory anger management courses too just to help educate people on controlling their tempers.

Of course we also have to stop glamorizing guns in our media.  We have to stop making it look cool to have the lone gun-packing guy (or girl) take on whoever's done him or her wrong.  And stop with all the rap songs about great it is to be packing heat and whatnot.

It's either that or we end up in the Wild West with everyone living in fear everywhere they go.  That seems to be the vision the NRA and their Republican lap dogs would prefer.  It's sure as hell not the country I want to live in.  I mean do you really want to live in a place where you have to live in constant fear of someone drawing out a weapon because they disagree with you?  I don't know about you, but I know I'm not Wyatt Earp or Billy the Kid or any of that shit; I'd be more like Barney Fife if I had to draw on anyone.  So really I'd like to keep the guns in the hands of professionals.

Of course if you want to write a rebuttal or anything, you can always Contact Me and write your own guest post.

Tuesday is another Two-Fer...

9 comments:

  1. You know, I'm not sure I want gun owners taking mandatory gun classes that will teach them how to shoot better. I figure if they just went down and bought one and really have no idea how to use it, I'll have a better chance of getting away.

    All humor aside, this is one of those controversies that I don't have my own good answer for. I think people should have the right to own a gun, but we need to be better about whom we let have guns.

    I think I agree with you about the assault rifles, though. What are you going to use that for, making venison burger right on the deer?

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  2. I think it's about time that America stopped making it so darned easy for folks to purchase firearms. I understand that gun control wont stop all the atrocities, but it's a start.

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  3. We have a large population. People will fall through the cracks, because we make it incredibly easy. When they do, they do things most of us would never consider doing, with exactly the same stimuli.

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  4. This country is never going to give up its handguns so that's a lost cause. But assault weapons exist for only one purpose, to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. In spite of what the NRA would have us believe, the Constitution doesn't give us the right to these any more than I have the right to build a nuclear bomb in my backyard. This latest shooting really depressed me, not because of the tragic loss of life, but because I'm becoming cynical and no longer expect change any time soon.

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  5. Forgot to mention that I've really missed Grumpy Bulldog!

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  6. I'm tired of gun violence. America has so much blood on its hands, and the problem is only going to escalate as a divide between liberals and conservatives grows.

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  7. First of all, I agree. Second, I always hear the argument "But then the good people won't be able to defend themselves." Here is the thing about that. Most ordinary people won't carry a gun into a movie theatre (or anywhere else) just in case. Most people do not want to carry guns because they don't know how use them. How many are going to sign up for lessons in fear of being in a mass shooting? How many are mentally capable of pulling the trigger if faced with that sort of situation? Even if someone did have a gun in that theatre..the psycho had so much armor on who knows if he could've even been stopped? So the whole thing is the normal people can get guns, but obviously we're not carrying them around because we're not paranoid enough..yet. Now if I had to go into a bad neighborhood on a regular basis, then it would be something to think about. But in a your usual suburban mall/movie theatre etc, nobody is thinks "Better bring my gun"

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  8. I'm with Stephen - I missed Grumpy Bulldog too. And I'm getting cynical about things getting better. This time last year, one of my daughter's friends shot his ex-girlfriend in the stomach. Just like that. On a beautiful day in early August. One bullet was too many.

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  9. Grumpy Bulldog is hilarious. Great points Pat...I mean Bulldog.

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