Showdown at the common sense corral

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 03:03 AM

On his way home after running some errands, a friend of mine noticed a car he hadn’t seen before, with two people sitting in it, parked on the side of the street. Pulling into his driveway, he saw a man peering through a window into his house.

What’s up? my friend asked as he walked past the man to unlock his door.

Our car ran out of gas. You got any extra around?

Maybe, my friend replied. He also told the man to get off his deck and wait in the yard. Then he headed straight for the room where he kept his gun.

When he went back outside, the stranger was gone and the two people who’d been sitting in the car were taking off through the woods. The police were called; it turned out the car was stolen.

I didn’t know my friend owned a gun until he told me about this incident, but I’m thankful he had the means to protect himself. He’s a good man. He’s also the kind of gun owner I feel safe around – protected, even.

But he’s not the kind that’s influencing gun policies in this country. For these people, it’s not enough just to own a gun for practical use, or to enjoy a little target-shooting with. Oh, no. Society must completely re-arrange itself until every aspect legitimizes their love affair with an inanimate object.

This will require us to behold the gun as benevolent, pure, and absolutely infallible – a view we previously reserved for God.

Example: A 53-year- old gun show organizer and former police chief allowed eight-year- old Christopher Bizilj to hold, handle, and fire a micro Uzi at a gun show. The boy’s proud father was standing nearby with a video camera; thus, film footage was on hand for the manslaughter trial that followed after Christopher lost control of the Uzi and shot off part of his head.

Time was, you’d just assume you don’t put such a weapon in a small child’s hands. But those days are past us. The jury acquitted the former police chief of all charges, agreeing with his tearful defense that an educational event somehow just went terribly wrong.

Example: The Children’s Defense Fund reported that in 2008 and 2009, almost twice as many preschoolers died from guns than police officers killed in the line of duty.

In 2011 the Florida Legislature outlawed pediatricians from asking parents if they had firearms around the house, punishable by a $500 fine. The original bill would have made it a felony, with a fine of up to $5 million or prison time.

A fresher example: An armed neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida got himself into an altercation with an unarmed teenager walking in the neighborhood. It appears the teen may have then proceeded to beat the stuffing out of the self-appointed vigilante, who ended the fight he instigated by shooting the teen in the chest.

In the good old days, it would have been very clear who was standing their ground - and rather admirably, considering he had no weapon except for his own two fists. But today? Florida’s actual “Stand Your Ground” law gives the vigilante a good chance of getting off the hook.

And of course, the most recent example: Some fool woman in Connecticut who thought teaching her crazy son to fire off an arsenal of weapons was more helpful than checking him into the nearest psychiatric ward.

This was not a hardscrabble mother living out in the sticks somewhere; she was a well-heeled divorcee with plenty of money and insurance. That is, until her son killed her – along with dozens of children and teachers – with her own guns.

The soon-to-be even more recent example: Soaring sales of the type of gun used to riddle the bodies of some of these children unrecognizable. It turns out mass murder serves as a profitable commercial for gun manufacturers.

So will the upcoming “Great Gun Giveaway” raffle hosted by the Asheville Tea Party; details of which were posted on the group’s website three days after the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The lucky winner will receive a semi-automatic rifle similar to the one used by the Sandy Hook shooter, plus two 30-round clips, the same magazine capacity he used to kill first graders.

A final word.

To those of us who think the right to bear arms shouldn’t mean we have to enable a lethal fetish, who don’t believe as many would-be mass killers would have the guts to go on killing sprees without a massively destructive gun in their hands, and who are fed up with the delusion that if we all live by the gun we’ll decrease the likelihood of getting slaughtered by it, well…we have the powerful right to say so.

And it’s time to stop being afraid to use it.


Stephanie Janard is a mother and full-time copywriter. She lives in Spindale. To reach Stephanie, email