Guns Have Feelings Too

Guns Have Feelings Too

I just heard another simple-minded gun rights groupie on TV say: “Guns don’t kill people; the wrong people with guns do.” (Sigh)

As a headline or a bumper sticker, the factual basis of this statement is virtually unassailable. As a practical matter – and considering the trouble with truth in the Donald era is it’s many varieties – the intellectual dishonesty of this statement reveals itself every day in the form of gun-wielding assailants who run the societal gamut of doctors, drug dealers, military veterans, addicts, cops, rapists and robbers, children, the mentally ill, religious and political zealots, family members, etc. So who exactly are the “wrong people”?

The next time you hear a pedestrian of thought propose that: “Guns don’t kill people; the wrong people with guns kill people” – aside from thinking about how in the hell would you ever identify the “wrong people” in advance? – I ask you to think about lawn darts. Yes, lawn darts.

In the 1970s, every kid in my neighborhood had at least one set of lawn darts. I had a few sets myself. Although lawn dart advertising was sparse – perhaps because the love of lawn darts was so intense that they proliferated themselves – lawn darts were everywhere, and there wasn’t even a Constitutional Amendment giving us the right to own and bear them! Millions upon millions of lawn darts were made for and sold to American children in the 1970s, meant and manufactured to be purposefully tossed in a low yet broad arc through the air, across a manicured lawn to plunge deep in the green grass inside a circular target. These innocuous darts would have enjoyed a certain American, symbiotic relationship amongst the hotdogs, flip-flops and frisbee at any Brady Bunch of Cleaver clan cookout.

But this being America – the home of the brave and the land of the free – we also have to acknowledge that America is also the home and land of the often mischievous; the sometimes devious or even malicious, the downright stupid, and the impulsive. So it should come as no surprise that a good many of these lawn darts were recklessly, carelessly, intentionally, impulsively wung high in the air above relatively soft and penetrable skulls and torsos. The gravity of those reckless/careless/intentional/impulsive acts is that, countless Americans were grievously wounded (many died) by lawn darts falling like mortars from the sky.

In 2017, whether by law or fear of liability, you can’t buy a lawn dart anywhere. Not even at Wal-Mart.

You can buy guns and ammo at Wal-Mart, despite the fact that over 30,000 of Wal-Mart’s potential customers die from gunshots each year. (National Safety Council 2011-2017)

Yup, the free-market forces fessed-up and faced the fact that freedom failed the fate and fondness for lawn darts. (alliterative sigh) Remember, even though the lawn dart enjoyed spectacular commercial success (and millions of fools like me loved them with a pious fervor) our politicians failed to enact a constitutional amendment to blindly protect our mischievous/devious/malicious/stupid/impulsive rights to fling lawn darts high in the air above unsuspecting people, or above ourselves when we’re having a bad day.

We the people, the lawn dart enthusiast of America (conservatives call us lawn dart nuts) deserve our very own Constitutional Amendment. I am proposing the following to King/Collins and Pingree/Poliquin:

Amendment 2.0

Right to Keep and Fling Lawn Darts

A non-regulated mob, being the unfortunate fate of a free state, the right of the irresponsible, impulsive, malicious masses to keep and fling lawn darts shall not be impinged.

This blog is collecting “Petitions” in the name of the N(l.d.)R.A. (National (lawn darts) Rights Association). The mission is serpentine and subject to change (and dollars):

  1. To convince a loyal cadre of gullible, dues-paying Americans of the looming threat of black government helicopters swooping in the seize all of their unregistered lawn darts.
  2. To quantify a numeric score for politicians based on an average of their voting records on lawn dart issues, and their last verifiable lawn dart score.
  3. To “persuade” politicians with promises of max campaign donations and SuperPAC shenanigans in exchange for blind puppetry and the title to their souls.
  4. To further “persuade” politicians by the promise to chum the waters of the N(l.d.)R.A. voting block with a high N(l.d.)R.A. score that will be proactively proliferated nationwide.

I apologize for going astray with low-hanging parody; this posting is really about the insidious scourge of handguns in America. It is a deadly serious issue that can not be dismissed by a two line retort. Moreover, the truth about handgun deaths in America – and to a lesser degree, assault rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines – must never be marginalized to a comparable squeak by the deep pocketed N.R.A. The N.R.A. is nothing more than a predatory profiteer and purveyor of fear and conspiracy propaganda. And yes, I know that I shouldn’t be so emotionally invested against a capitalistic con game; against a corporation; against a counteragent of the very first paragraph of the United States Constitution, but I am.


We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.

I also apologize that my clunky lawn dart analogy is fundamentally flawed; indeed, lawn darts are only dangerous or deadly when they are used in a way that they were nut intended to be used. In contrast, handguns were specifically made to kill people.

“Handguns are made for killin’, they ain’t no good for nothin’ else.” (Saturday Night Special, Ronnie Van Zant (1973) of Lynyrd Skynyrd) The song was Van Zant’s bitter condemnation of handguns after “some ole fool” shot him with one.

At this point in my screed I am hoping that any vocabular or grammatical purists out there will take issue with my choice of ‘scourge’ to characterize the handgun issue. Admittedly in search of a viable segway, I’m also trying to bait you, if not also to out any 2nd Amendment prejudices you might harbor. Yes I’m aware that my ‘scourge’ usage implies that handguns (and not the deranged, angry or impulsive souls who point and shoot them) are the root cause of handgun carnage in America. Sorry, I just felt it was better to be argumentative than to be wrong. In any case, it’s a damned easy theory to test, and you don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to test it yourself.

I mean, “IMAGINE” – in the vein and spirit of Beatle-brother John Lennon (shot and killed on NYC sidewalk, with a handgun, by a deranged fan on Dec. *, 1980) – “…a world without [handguns]” Can you imagine this “…more perfect union”?; this “justice”?, this “domestic tranquility”?; this “general welfare”?; these “Blessings of Liberty”? Now ask yourself how many handgun deaths would there be in a world with no handguns? And at what cost, more fist fights and rock fights?

After recording his smash hit “Sticks and Stones” in May 1991, country superstar Tracy Lawrence was mugged and shot 4 times with a handgun.

Again, I Have implied that handguns (and not the deranged, angry, impulsive souls, who point and shoot handguns) are the root cause of handgun violence in America. I implied it, because I believe it. I have had dozens of handguns in my hands over the years. Each time I cradled one of these finely crafted pieces of steel in my hands, I felt something. I felt different. More confident. More capable. More courageous. Empowered. Fearless.

Those who perceive handguns and inanimate objects (objects not endowed with life or spirit) do so – perhaps unwittingly – based on the observable laws of the scientific method. This misplaced perception is not based on any particular psychodynamic of each person who might take up a gun to feel more confident, more capable, more courageous, empowered, fearless. And when the potentially bloody results of those individualized needs ultimately matter more than any metallurgical arrangement of molecules, handgun victims and their loved ones are eternally right to reject this as a mere matter of metal.

Religious peoples of all stripes have – from time immemorial – claimed their own version of the spirit emanating from tangible, scientifically inanimate objects from a talisman to a Bible. We err if we quibble over their belief; all that matters is that they believe it. Whether real or imagined, idolatry (the worship of a physical object as a god) has produced some really cruel and bloody results through the ages. It continues today.

Idolatry with handguns as the object, is a scourge in America. No we don’t need to characterize zealous handgun ownership as an equal to religious fervor, or brand the handgun as a god, to state unequivocally that the motions and feelings perceived as emanating from the talisman and the handgun, are simply in the hands of the beholder/holder. In sum, guns have feelings too.

Steven R. Schoff Jr.

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