Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boot Hill USA, circa 2012

By Dan Hagen
The difference between the United States of America now and the USA in Wyatt Earp's day is that in Wyatt Earp's day, he took away people's guns by law. Then, when they got drunk, they didn't have them.
Earp's ordinance #9 was put into effect on April 19, 1881. This regulation forbade the carrying of weapons, including knives, inside Tombstone city limits.
Look, nobody is trying to confiscate anybody’s guns, okay? That's just Fox News lying bullshit. Americans have a Second Amendment right to own guns, but they should do so with the knowledge of the price that society pays for that right, and it is steep indeed.
The rate of deaths caused by guns in the U.S. is many times what it is in England, with its strict gun control laws. So, despite the talking points that right wingers parrot, gun control obviously does work. You can argue that it's a violation of fundamental rights, but the facts speak for themselves.
The U.S. leads the world’s developed countries in per capita gun deaths at 14.24 gun deaths per 100,000 people. England is way down the list at 0.41, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
So gun control reduces the deaths caused by guns, obviously. Duh.
They know it in London now, they knew it in Tombstone, AZ, in 1880, and they know everywhere that people don't have their heads shoved straight up their ideological asses.
Any discussion that suggests that we might have problems not solvable by guns prompts an immediate attack of the vapors among right wingers, along with calls to be carried to their favorite fainting couch.
Funny. I have walked the streets of central Illinois for decades without feeling the feverish need to carry a gun for protection, and yet I'm still alive. Not even a flesh wound.
But, according to the right wingers, the streets here and everywhere are just teeming with murderous, armed criminals.
I must be awfully good at dodging bullets.
But why stop at the right to carry handguns? Doesn’t the Second Amendment cover flamethrowers, too? If you're confronting a gang of armed criminals who are trying to take your lunch money, you're going to need to exercise your God-given right to bear flamethrowers. And hand grenades, of course.
You can have my hand grenade when you pry it out of my cold, dead hand (something I wouldn’t advise, by the way).
Right-wing gun nuts are now insuring that not only lunatics but FELONS retain the right to CONCEAL and CARRY guns in the U.S.
Who pays the price for our refusal to rationally discuss guns in this nation? Here are some of the people who did:
— In June 2008, a 4-year-old girl shot herself in the chest after snatching her grandmother's handgun from the woman's purse while riding in a shopping cart at a Sam's Club store in Columbia, SC. And America became just that much safer.
— In April 2009, Richard Poplawski of Pittsburgh shot and killed three police officers, telling friends he feared that President Obama planned to confiscate weapons. He expressed fear about a supposed plan by FEMA to herd people into concentration camps, which he had seen discussed by Glenn Beck on Fox News.
— Also in April 2009, Joshua Cartwright of Florida killed two sheriff's deputies at a gun range before police officers killed him. His wife told police he was “severely disturbed” by Obama's election. 
— One Saturday in 2010, in his rural eastern Kentucky trailer park, Stanley Neace snapped over how his wife cooked his eggs and killed her and four others with a shotgun.
— In February 2012, a 20-year-old minister’s daughter was shot in the head and killed in a St. Petersburg, Florida, church when a man who was showing off his gun accidentally fired through an interior wall.
Funny how no Republican ever mentions the fact that President Ronald Reagan supported the Brady handgun act. Reagan did, of course, have the advantage of the additional insight that is provided by the experience of having been shot.
Only in private, hypocritically, will right wingers admit the truth about American guns. Republican Iowa State Rep. Jeff Kaufmann was caught joking on a hot mic that a proposal which would allow state residents to carry weapons in public without permission from a sheriff and without any training or a background check might better be called the “give-a-handgun-to-a-schizophrenic” bill.
Back in the late 1930s, songwriter Harold Rome penned a satirical song “(When I Grow Up) The G-Man Song,” wherein a barely pubescent protagonist sang: "Gee, but I'd like to be a G-Man and go Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! I'd be a brave gang-busting he-man and go Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! I’d put on disguises of all different sizes and would I win prizes for telling who spies is!"
Yes, Americans have a right to own guns to protect themselves, but a disturbing number of them seem to be irrational gun fetishists who talk about America as if it's one big running gun battle, and who regard gun ownership as a panacea for all their problems. It isn't.
Few of life's problems can be solved with a gun, and only extremely immature people think otherwise. A feverish obsession with guns reveals that the person obsessed is compensating because he feels so frightened, powerless and small.
Unfortunately, the placebo of a handgun will not really give such men the courage and self-confidence for which they hunger.
The fact remains that guns belong in the hands of adults, and not those of children, whether chronological or emotional.


  1. Well ... getting the eggs cooked JUST right IS mighty important. : /

  2. Nebraska has the right to carry a concealed weapon. Just about everywhere I go there's a sign on the door saying "no concealed weapons allowed on this premises''. The entire law needs to get tossed out. Nebraska, like Arizona & Texas still fancy themselves "The Wild West". In South Dakota, you can get a gun permit to carry a concealed weapon faster than it takes to get a drivers license...

  3. I hear you. The hardest part of all is changing the minds of those who think they are losing a gun rather than gaining a liberty.