In front of guns

By: goodislove

Jan 12 2013

Category: Ethiopia

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Focal Length:32mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D200

I was going to write about this sticker on our truck in Ethiopia. Does it mean we’re armed to the teeth or is it meant to fool people into thinking we’re fully stocked*… but then that deal went down in Newtown where some guy jumped into a school and blew away 27 people (mercifully including himself) and I changed my mind.

Fast forward to December 21st.

Like everyone else, I eagerly awaited the NRA’s big announcement following the tragedy. Would they finally agree that easily available assault-style weapons aren’t a great idea? Maybe we would come to agreement that 30-round clips are about 20 rounds too many? Or perhaps they would say that we should work harder to enforce the gun laws we have?

Or maybe they would just jump out there and say that we should put an armed guard at every single school in the USA and create a police database of the mentally ill? Yes, I suppose that sounds like the crazy we’re all used to.

Actually, when you read the screed on the NRA website, it starts to make a strange sort of sense (be sure you click at the bottom to go to the standard site or you’ll be stuck in a hell of Flash crap**). Wayne LaPierre brings it home when he notes that we have an armed detail for our president, but we don’t even offer the same sort of protection for our precious children! Gosh… or wait, this is just starting to sound like the ranting of ol’ creepy Uncle Wayne in South Dakota instead of the mouthpiece of a supposedly influential lobby.

The most inane part is when he states:

Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.

And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

I want to understand the world of these people who believe a bogeyman is lurking around every corner. I want to know the fear that Wayne LaPierre and his brethren live everyday. He seems genuinely convinced that deranged lunatics are running freely searching for gun-free school zones for that one opportunity to kill our pigtailed daughters; similar to the way I seek out signs advertising 2-for-1 double roast beef sandwiches with curly fries at Hardees to inflict maximum damage on my arteries.

Unfortunately I’m doubtful of my country’s ability to do anything reasonable in this situation. I grew up with guns, three shotguns and a few BB guns. We chased after deer and squirrels, they were always on the gun rack in the laundry room. And I always accepted that it was completely normal to have these around. We went to hunter’s safety courses taught by responsible fathers we all knew.

But there’s a disconnect these days between what’s responsible and what’s just plain crazy. The hardline stance against enacting any kind of assault weapon ban is ridiculous. And the argument that teachers should be armed or that there should be an armed guard in every school is also ridiculous. Trained policemen and military folk screw up all the time in high-pressure scenarios, and I refuse to accept that this will make kids any safer.***

And seriously, if Wayne LaPierre and his folk believe that all mentally ill people should be monitored in a national database, I sincerely hope his name is first on the list.***

*The red circle and cross around this gun were actually wore out in the sun, so it means that we are unarmed. And Ethiopia is a really great place.

**Actually the entire NRA site is an affront to usable design; something that should be shot dead and hung out to dry until some content and usability folks come and help them clean it up. Pukeville.

***In a longer post I would outline this better and why these are ridiculous, but I’m tired.

****I realize that his last name is LaPierre and I realize that doesn’t fit alphabetically speaking if we were to make a list.


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