The thing that strikes me about the Trayvon Martin case is that, to some extent, the issue of gun control has been ignored. Make no mistake. I know racism was the cause of this young man’s death. Given that the only dirt defenders of the shooter can come up with is, “He [Martin] was suspended for possessing pot residue,” you know this kid was targeted for the color of his skin.
But what’s also clear to me, is that Florida’s lax gun control laws are responsible for letting a murdering racists like Zimmerman off the hook.
I own guns. I like ‘em. Unlike gun owners on the Right, however, I don’t lay in my bed at night, my sheets wet with night terrors brought on by the fear that Obama is going to take my guns. I don’t rage against an unkind universe when I have to wait a couple of weeks to purchase a gun. Most importantly, I don’t for one minute, deny that guns are designed for anything other than taking the life of another living being.
“But guns don’t kill people. People do,” wails the gun nut.
You just made my point, Bubba. This is precisely why we need reasonable restrictions on when and by what sort of people, guns can be carried. Because guns make it much easier for fallible, stupid and volatile people to murder other people. Case in point, George Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin.
Opponents of gun control, of course, love to claim that guns, in the hands of the law-abiding (read “white) populace, are as harmless as a de-clawed kitten. As with most right-wing fallacies, this utopian notion operates on the naive belief that people (again, “white people”) will always do the right thing.
My experience with a couple of middle America’s finest would suggest otherwise.
Five days a week, rain or shine, I walk my greyhound early in the morning. By and large, the other dog walkers I encounter are a wonderful, polite bunch who keep their dogs leashed or leash them when they approach me and the hound. Tis what civilized folk do.
Twice, however, I’ve encountered jerks who not only refused to leash their dog, but got aggressive when asked. Both, by the way, were older, white, upper middle class, men. With one, the altercations were confined to R-rated yelling matches, that circled, but never quite escalated to violence.
The most recent jackass got in my face and tried to intimidate me. I shoved him out of my space. The scene ended with him muttering something about assault, and me, yelling, “Assault? Let’s call the cops, motherfucker, and see what they say?” at his retreating back as he skulked away. (I’ve only seen him once since, and amazingly, he seems to have found a leash for his mutt.)
Bullies will be bullies, but I’d bet a few pesos that this creep wouldn’t have tried that crap had I been a black or Hispanic male. He saw a woman and though he could get away with acting like a teenage douchebag. The problem with his assumption is that while I may weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, when you mess with me and mine, my enraged self swells up like the Hulk. It’s hereditary; my teeny grandma was also a firebrand.
Something to consider. Had either one of us had a firearm, someone could have easily ended up bleeding in the sand.
My point is that people, even normally law-abiding humanoids, when worked into a lather over the stupidest shit, turn into lizard-brained, irrational morons. People kill people at an alarming rate, particularly when outfitted with devices that make the job push-button (trigger) easy. A couple of hours in a “gun safety awareness” class isn’t going to turn the average hype-reactive human into a person with the crisis management skills of a veteran police officer.
This is where the gun nut will argue that an armed populace would be well-behaved because the threat of getting shot would prevent misbehavior. An interesting assumption, given that your average gun nut is also a conservative, deeply afraid of minorities, feminists, and other variants of “other,” precisely because “those” people can’t be trusted to act in a rational manner. In other words, they claim that people will act in a rational manner all the while believing that a chunk of the population is anything but rational.
Of course, the solution for those people, the gun nut says, is to be taken out by an armed “citizen.” In this little slice of crazy pie, the gun nut imagines himself shooting the armed gunman in the bank, the hero of the day; superman, no cape (because capes are teh gay), and instead a beer belly and beer-stained NRA T-shirt.
In the real scenario, two children, a schoolteacher and an eighty-year-old man would be killed in the crossfire of the ensuing battle. The bad guy would get away. That’s because, in the real world, bullets don’t always obediently embed themselves in the “bad guy’s” flesh. They fly in whatever direction they’re shot, ricocheting and careening off in new directions. Truly, in the Bizarro universe of the gun nut, we’d be more at risk of getting shot by Bubba and his Rambo wet dreams, than a genuine “bad guy.”
Racism certainly killed Trayvon Martin. But so too did a law that allows armed loonies to march around the streets, slaughtering other human beings like a hillbilly Judge Dredd, never facing judgment for their crimes.