First may I thank and congratulate fellow KOS diarist Bob, whose excellent Open Letter can be found here at http://www.dailykos.com/.... Give it a read.
Bob obviously is one of those old time NRA types - the ones who were taken out in the coup that happened some time around the end of the 1970s. I feel sorry for Bob, and all the others like him, as poor Bob gets lumped in with all the nutty Strict Seconders. I gotta say, I like Bob, I like what he says, and my props to him for standing up to the asshats.
Still, as I commented on his diary, and will expand upon here, lets have a honest look at that (I would suggest) oxymoronic term Responsible Gun Owner.
1:- But Its A GUN Bob
No matter what side of the guns or no guns divide you come from, the inescapable fact is that a gun is a gun, and a gun has only one purpose. It is to kill whatever you point it at and pull the trigger. It is a weapon with one purpose, and one purpose only. To Kill.
In that regard it is different to an axe or a knife. Either of those can be used for other tasks they are intrinsically designed for...chopping wood, cutting paper, etc. Not true for a gun though is it?
Yes you can have guns, like target pistols, that are designed mainly to shoot at paper targets. Yes you can use a rifle to prop a door open, or a Glock as a paper weight, but now we are just getting silly.
Look, guns are for killing things. Face it and fess up.
SO..... pray tell what sort of reasonable or sane definition of the word responsible applies to having a weapon whose sole purpose is to kill in your home, your car, or strapped to your belt?
Still not convinced? Try this mental exercise then.
Nuclear Power Stations are run in extremely responsible manners (the odd 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl aside). So are biochemical research laboratories, and especially biochemical weapons research labs. But we don't build any of those in our cities and suburbs do we? Why? Just in case it goes titsy and things get dangerous.
Now lets say Im a highly trained, highly proficient, and highly safety conscious researcher into biological weapons. I spent a mint building a highly secure and hermetically sealed laboratory in my basement, where following all recognized US rules and regulations on working with Anthrax I do my research thing and start developing Anthrax. I have the FBI, the CDC and every other govt department round to carry out checks on a weekly basis and keep an eye on me and my work. Hell, I will even be open and tell all my neighbors in the suburb I live in what I do. I've been as responsible as responsible can be.
Would you want to live next door to Dr Sandman's Anthrax Lab?
Or Dr Sandman's Basement Nuclear Research Lab?
Funny see, cos to do that Id have to jump through lots more hoops and follow many many more rules and regs than what it takes to be an apparently "responsible gun owner". And compared to weaponizing either that Anthrax or pile of fissile material Dr Sandman is developing, weaponizing that gun in the safe in the next house along that belongs to Mr Responsible Gun Owner is lot more easy. The same level of difference between Dr Sandman launching a Saturn V rocket and Mr Responsible Gun Owner starting his car IMHO.
So explain to me again what exactly is responsible about having a weapon in your home that even a sub teenage kid can work to deadly effect?
2:- And you are still a HUMAN Bob
Now I know this upsets some of my American cousins, especially those of the less scientifically literate bent, but if you think you are anything more than a smart ape who has learned highly developed motor and language skills then you my chum are sadly delusional. We are Humans, one and all. The descendents of ape like hominids, and inheritors of all that comes with it, including old hangovers that stay in the ape parts of our brains and bodies....the old timey stuff like fight or flight reactions and your arm hair standing up when you feel cold. Watch a couple of chimpanzees or baboons snarling and having a face off, then watch a pre-punch up shoving match and stand off in the bar. See any difference? Really?
Now, as I pointed out to Bob, the adage said by the Joker in one of the Nolan Batman films is sadly true, and sadly indisputable:
Sanity is like Gravity. All it takes is one small push and wheeeeeeeeeee
I have had a pretty good life, and have been lucky to have spent a lot of it wandering blissfully through this mad rich tapestry we call our world. Along the way I met and know some of the strongest willed and good hearted people on the planet - Im lucky to call some of them my mates. I myself have, on occasion, been complimented on stuff like what a nice guy I am, what a good character I have, how trustworthy and reliable I am. I could say the same for a lot of my mates, and some of the people I have known and worked with.
I have also seen such strong and good men and women brought down by things they could not control and deal with. Sometimes its been a gradual sleet of small things, sometimes a mixed bag of small and big things, and sometimes all it took was one big kick square in the metaphorical nuts. And down they went. And sometimes, when that happened, they flipped and the good person became bad. Sometimes just a bit nusto, sometimes full on scary mary nutso. And sometimes they never got back up. Happened to me as well....I managed to get back up on the horse and ride into the sunset whistling, but while I was down I was mean and dangerous. I could flip out and lash out at small things.
And if you say that could never be you, I will happily brand you a liar.
Fear and hate, loss and grief are terrible, corrosive and insidious things. They turn saints into sinners, and sinners into Satan. And sometimes my mateys they can do it faster than I turn a pint of lager into a puddle of piss.
So, as I suggested to Bob, you can be as responsible a gun owner as you like. You can store the guns in a gun safe complete with trigger locks. You can stash the ammo in a completely separate safe. That is what my shotgun owning mate back home in the UK has to do with his gun and ammo.
I suggest you are also one small push from the wheeeeee point, and one small step from turning the gun on yourself and/or others. The trigger lock and gun lockers both have keys you have easy access to, and the safe has a combination. Those guns are one easy lock step away from You In Satan Mode.
And if you say that could never be you, I will happily brand you a liar.
3:- So what's your point Sandy, Old Bean?
The point is this my US chums, drowning in a sea of guns in which swims a good number of arguably crazy and dangerous individuals like Shitty Pants Nugent.
There is NO such thing as a "Responsible Gun Owner".
There are Careful Gun Owners.
There are Considerate Gun Owners
There are Reasonable Gun Owners.
But each an every one of them is a risk to you, to your family, to your friends, and to society at large.
Because each and every gun owner is just one small push away from wheeeeeeeeee!
A gun is to kill, nothing else, and there is NOTHING responsible about owning a gun.
So lets all stop putting the lipstick on the pig, playing make believe, and using that stupid oxymoron Responsible Gun Owner.
Do that, and you may get one small step closer to a safer tomorrow.
All that said and done Im sad to say my friends that this is never going to be the US equivalent of the UKs Hungerford or Dunblane moments. Wiki either of those place names and add the word "massacre". See what we did when a lunatic went kill crazy with his legal arms. That my chums is never going to happen in the US, no matter how many dead bodies stack up, and I feel sorry for you all.
Face it my mates, if you are still having the same cack ass arguments that were kicked around in the Scopes Monkey Trial over 80 years ago, and GOP legilsatures are still trying to ram Creationism v3.0 into classrooms, what makes you think that there will be any significant real world progress on gun restriction? Optimism? Admirable, I will give you that.
But today's Progressive/Democrat gun law is really just tomorrows or next cycles GOP/NRA/Conservative/Bagger target for repeal isn't it? That assault rifle argument was sorted by Big Dog, let quietly lapse under Gee Didya, and now you are repeating it all over again.
So that is why you so need Bob and all his fellow gun owners just like Bob.
Be Bob's mate. I like Bob. So should you.
Its him, or the asshats like Shitty Pants Nugent and Arm Em All Pratt.