Day 78. Word count withheld.
The other day, my dear brother-in-law Vuta posted a video on Facebook about gun control, poking fun at the whiny liberal crowd. I wasn’t upset by this – it was actually a clever and funny video and that may not have been apparent from my serious-sounding comment – but I figured there’d been an implied invitation to make comments.
This is, for me, supreme diplomacy and unimpeachable open-mindedness.
I got a bit of private-message flak, friendly-like, for this from Mr. BRKN, who has been known to have difficulty with the “say something on social media, not actually want any sort of discussion or commentary to occur as a result” issue himself. Look, I’m just saying. If you make a statement and say directly that you’re not looking to have an argument or hear other viewpoints or criticisms, that’s fine. I mean, I don’t see the appeal of it, but it’s fine. As a friend, as well as someone who is hopefully not too much of a giant raging arsehole, I will sit on my hands and nod and scroll on. Otherwise, it’s welcome to the jungle, bitch. Or some other expression that doesn’t sound so inappropriately macho.
Welcome to the me sitting on an office chair in my dressing gown with a keyboard in front of me, bitch.
But neither of those cases accurately describes what was happening here. Here, I saw an amusing little dig, a statement of opinion, and the oft-trotted-out “guns don’t kill people” argument.
And I wasn’t even disagreeing!
See, I don’t actually have a problem with guns. Amazing, for a person with hair the length of mine. I know it. Fucking mind-blowing. As a concept, as a weapon, the gun is fucking cool. I know purists prefer axes and swords, and those are cool too, but guns are just fine. If you absolutely positively have to kill every last motherfucker in the room, and so on. I’m from a country that famously took away the semi- and fully-automatic weapons from the rednecks, and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
No, what I have a problem with is bad arguments.
Funnier Australians than I am have gone on the record with the only valid argument against stricter gun-control laws: “Fuck off. I like guns.”
Perfectly valid. And as I say, I have no problem with guns or the people who love them. Some of my best friends love guns, there I said it.
Obviously, the main issue here is that whenever anyone starts a debate about gun control, it’s not about gun control in Australia (“we’re fine!”), or gun control in Finland (“it looks like you’re trying to do a thing. Would you like to do paperwork instead?”). It’s the U.S.A. Centre of the world.
I’m not even being sarcastic. The U.S. is big, and loud, and mostly lovable, and often obnoxious, and Western popular culture and social media would basically not exist without it. Get over it, it’s a fact. The U.S. is part of our lives (at least until the Second Horseman closes the borders), so a silly question like “should there be some sort of control over access to dangerous weapons here in the U.S.?” becomes a question the rest of the world for some reason needs to care about.
Well, sorry. I don’t really care. I’d like it if people were safer and insane morons didn’t have access to anything more dangerous than a pair of those round plastic kiddy-scissors. But I’m also aware that an insane moron could probably kill me with a pair of those round plastic kiddy-scissors. Whether they could kill more people, more easily, with a pair of those round plastic kiddy-scissors than they could with an assault rifle … unbelievably, there are arguments about that online. Unresolved arguments.
More regulation does make us safer, up to a point, but there’s also a point at which it becomes inconvenient, smothery, pointless, even counterproductive. And that point is going to be different for everyone.
I’m living in a country where there’s a level of control I’m happy with. I came from a country where there was (since the ’90s) a level of control I was happy with. If there are countries with different levels of control, levels I might not be happy with, I’m not living in those countries. And that’s fine. I can feel sad about the people who get hurt without feeling the need to get particularly activist about it. That’s their job and I think they have it well in-hand.
Now, there is obviously more control over guns in the U.S. than I had originally assumed from the hysterical (and hysterically funny!) stories about it on the media. Some states have more control than others. Some have licenses and regulations and a bunch of other stuff. It doesn’t really matter. There are so many statistics about mass killings and gun violence and other factors according to population size, it all becomes meaningless.
The video was perfectly funny, and the guy who made it should be perfectly safe with as many guns as he wants and he should have no trouble getting licenses and permissions for them. The scene of him shouting at the gun to go and shoot someone, that was funny.
Is it still as funny when you imagine (and it’s pretty easy because this obviously happens) that there’s a person out there with a guy like that in his head, yelling at him to pick up the gun and go shoot someone?
No, that’s not as funny. That guy? Let’s try to make sure he doesn’t get hold of a goddamn gun.