Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The post where I talk about guns and make everybody mad

Back about the time of the Virginia Tech rampage killing, I staked out some precarious ground, and I promised someone I respect and admire as a fellow warrior in defense of Democratic Ideals that I would defend that position.

Well, here goes.

I think I have had enough to drink tonight to wade into that swamp. (The kid went to sleep and I didn't.) Lets see just how far afield I can roam, shall we?

Let me start by saying that I think I am probably just about the only person on the planet who should have unfettered access to firearms because nobody else respects them properly. When I have a gun in my hands, I know just what the fuck kind of power I am holding.

My mother is a woman of few sentiments, but one of hers is a replica of a .50 Caliber Sharps Buffalo Rifle that I built when I was 14. I also learned how to make gunpowder from charcoal, guano and saltpeter; and how to cast lead. To this day, I reload my shotgun shells and all my casings .270 and above.

When I say I know something about guns, I am not some chick who bought one wuz, like the kewl thing to dew...cuz...I like...had this boyfriend…

I know what the fuck I’m talkin’ bout…m’kay?

Gunpowder changed a lot of things, but guns themselves – personal firearms – changed everything.

Guns are the biggest god-damned deal that mankind has ever conceived of.

Guns changed everything.

The gun made the prince as vulnerable as the peasant.

Indeed, a mail-order deer rifle killed a president and a handgun started World War I.

Got that?

If you don’t think about the fact that you have in your hands an instrument that has the raw, unbridled power to change the course of history in the blink of an eye every time you touch one…you should not have access to a gun.

Got that?

Guns are the biggest god-damned deal mankind ever unleashed upon itself.


The moment lead, propelled by black powder pierced the chest of another human being, and spilled blood from a distance – the instant it became possible to kill without looking your adversary in the eye - without making contact and feeling the living flesh of the person who would perish –

that instant –

punctuated as it had to be -

in that stillness.....

Have you ever thought about that?

Because if you don’t think about it in those terms every time you touch a gun…I don’t want you to be able to touch a gun.

Did that genius, who saved his people that day know what he was doing? What would eventually result from his stroke of brilliance? How that web would spread to ensnare all of mankind?

What horrors would be realized – some of them witnessed by me in inner-city trauma centers over the last 20 years.

Have you ever seen a GSW?

[Graphic Content Ahead]

Let me enlighten you. The smell of a gunshot trauma is distinctive. It is a co-mingling of olfactory offenses. The blood and the urine and the emesis and the bowel content…and the lingering aroma of the black powder. The sickening sweetness of the cologne of a young man, mingles with his blood and body fluids, to generate a sickening hybrid of a smell; and it is the only thing emanating from his lifeless body. His eyes are usually not closed, his tongue is purple and protruded. The sponges and bloody sheets and clothes litter the floor of the trauma bay and the victim lies there, waiting for the medical examiner, or if we need the room - and we always need the room - security to take the body to the cooler.

You need to think about what guns do to people, too, every time you touch one. Not just the people who die, but the people who love the people who die. And the people like me who clean up the mess, and the people we love and who love us.

The question is...what the fuck do we do about it? We live in a somewhat free country, and the fact that ordinary citizens have that power I just waxed poetic about enshrined in the Constitution is ostensibly a pillar of our freedom - but most of the folks packin' today I quite frankly can't imagine as patriots and freedom fighters, so can we take the tri-cornered hat off the second amendment?

We all need a gut-check.

We need to start by fully enforcing the laws on the books, but we also need to bring a basic framework of laws into standard compliance across all 50 states, with common sense adaptations. States need to share information. Thorough background checks for all firearms purchases should be mandatory, including psychiatric/psychological occurrences. I would go so far as to mandate that private sales, those currently unregulated, would have to take place through the county sheriffs office; and any unregistered sale proven in a court of law carry a stiff penalty, with mandatory prison time.

We can't make guns go away. And I don't want them to. But we can make new ones harder to get and we can control the ones that are out there by actually enforcing the laws that are on the books right now and getting serious about bringing the ones that are out there currently untraceable into the system one-by-one. (It ain't ideal, but it's a start - until smarter people than me can get serious about this. Which will require standing up to the NRA.)

Let me finish with a bit of unvarnished truth…every god damned one of us who has the proper reverence and respect and can be trusted with the kind of power that a firearm represents - every one of us who really deserves to own a god damned gun – knows some fucking body we (at least secretly) wish would give all their guns away and become vegans because one trip outdoors with them scared the living shit out of us.

Admit it.

And DJO – I guess I’ll think about this some more …Because I still haven’t really answered your questions.


Guns changed everything.

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