Friend Friday: Everyday Gun Safety by Mike Leon

Mike Leon has been a good friend to me and to the blog here since day one. He wrote a nice piece on guns, a topic he’s very passionate about, and he makes some solid points on how the public is being emotionally manipulated on the topic. Check it out and check out his Postmodern Adventures of Kill Team One — urban fantasy thrillers.  

I’m going to share an uncomfortable truth here. The Second Amendment wasn’t written for self-defense or hunting. The Second Amendment was written so everyday people could potentially assassinate politicians.

What brought this statement on? The current political inferno over gun rights on social media. Ever since Facebook rose to the status of foremost ideological gladiatorial arena in the Rome of American hyperreality, the dispute over American gun control has raged online in increasingly frequent intervals directly corresponding to each statistically insignificant mass shooting event. Despite the infinitesimal (and shrinking) likelihood of mass shootings or school shootings in the United States, media coverage of them seems more prolific than ever before. Schools commonly have drills to practice surviving an active shooter event. Lobbyists, children, nitwits of all ages, and politicians all demand legislative action. The internet is aflame with their cries.

Here are some numbers for you: 1 in 2,273,000. Those are the annual odds of your child being killed in a school shooting according to the Cato Institute. Your child is 3 times more likely to be struck by lightning. The annual odds of there being a bona fide Columbine-style bloodthirsty mass shooting at your child’s school are less than 1 in 100,000 according to these numbers from Northeastern University. The odds of anyone discharging any firearm at school, even by accident, even if no one is injured, are about 1 in 2000. You’re twice as likely to hit the Pick 3 lottery. I even calculated that last probability using dodgy figures from Everyday Gun Safety, an outspoken group of gun grabbers. If I were as snaky as the mainstream media I would post a headline like “Everyday Gun Safety Shows Americans are Twice as Likely to Win Lottery than Experience School Shooting.” That would be misleading, and misleading people is CNN’s job, not mine.

The point of those numbers is to show that school shootings are an outlier. They don’t matter. They’re incredibly rare, and making public policy decisions because of them is stupid. I realize that’s a cold and insensitive statement, especially to the tiny number of recently bereaved parents out there, but it’s true. If you called up your accountant and he told you he knows a guy who won the Powerball so he just put all of your money into the Powerball, you would fire your accountant. It doesn’t matter who he knows. I know a guy who drank himself to death twice and was resuscitated with the paddles both times. I also know a guy who survived a skydive when his parachute didn’t open. I’m still not chugging two fifths of Wild Turkey and jumping naked from an airplane.

And yet the debate still rages. Why? Because too many people put their feelings in the driver’s seat. CNN knows that. MSNBC knows that. Fox News knows that. If it bleeds, it leads, and they’re making a mint. Conspiracy theorists often claim mass shootings are government-run false flag attacks, but they’re failing to follow the money. If you told me CNN secretly hired mercenaries to shoot up a school, it wouldn’t faze me. It just makes sense. More dead kids = higher ratings = more advertising dollars. It’s not rocket science. They certainly have a more visible motivation than the government.

So the news media magnifies these events as much as possible. The bigger, the better. The higher the kill count, the more sweet cash they get from Pepsi, McDonalds, and Rosland Capital (I’m looking at you, Fox). Unfortunately, their over reporting is creating a false reality—a hyperreality—in which school shootings are common, and people want something done about this terrible threat to their children’s safety (which isn’t actually a threat at all). They take their rage into the streets…well, except all that Pepsi and McDonalds has them feeling kind of fat and lethargic, so they settle for making aggressive Facebook posts. #slacktivism

That’s how we got where we are—the point at which every other post is a screed about gun control one way or the other. They all make the same talking points.

This stuff goes on endlessly because no one can articulate the reason Americans need guns in simple terms. So I’m going to lay it down right here. It is about fighting tyranny, but not in the visceral sense that most survivalist gun nuts seem to cling to. It’s not about mowing down the jackboots that come to put you in a camp, or shooting down drones and helicopters. It’s not a Rambo Red Dawn fantasy. The truth is much more subtle.

It’s about fighting tyranny with fear. It’s about making sure every politician knows that we just might kill them. It’s about the Sword of Damocles. It’s about them having that lingering thought in the back of their head that the next thing in the back of their head might be a 6.5x52mm Carcano fired from a book depository.

We want them to think “If I ban violent video games, somebody might fire a .308 through my aorta” and “If we pass that abortion bill somebody might get angry enough to kick in my suite door and riddle me and my $3000 escorts with 9mm rounds while we’re in the Jacuzzi” and “If we vote ourselves another pay raise, somebody might nail me with an FN-Scar while I’m on the course at Martha’s Vineyard.” All of those things are in the realm of possibility because all of those guns are perfectly legal.

In the UK, politicians don’t have to have those thoughts, and now they’re throwing comedians in jail because they don’t like their jokes.

In the US, officials need more restraint than in the UK because we don’t need to overhaul anything. We don’t need an uprising or a rebellion to keep them in line. We just need one raving lunatic with a gun—and we let every raving lunatic have guns. He doesn’t need a reason. Maybe he wants to impress Jodie Foster. Maybe it’s just Monday. Who cares? When it’s over, we lock him up or give him the needle, and we look at all the other politicians with the same crazed-eye twitch that guy had, and we say it was just him. He acted alone. It happens sometimes. Nothing you can do about it.

That’s how we do things in America, and that’s why we need an AR-15.

Mike Leon is the raving lunatic responsible for The Postmodern Adventures of Kill Team One. The fourth book in the series, #Justice was just released in February.

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