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Gun Control & Personal Responsibility

Moore [1]

Michael Moore needs to grow up

888 words

I grew up outside a small town in the inland Northwest, a town steeped in the gun culture. Both my parents were crack shots. I can’t count the number of guns in our house. Everybody we knew hunted. I grew up on a diet of wild meat. 

But my parents, my mother especially, taught us from an early age that guns were not toys. One family friend had a hook instead of a left hand due to a hunting accident. So as a child, I had a strong, almost superstitious fear of guns. I knew they were inanimate objects, but an air of danger and malevolence still clung to them.

Of course the best way to dispel such a fear is to actually learn how a gun works and how to use it. Then one has actual concrete awareness that guns are inanimate objects, and whatever danger they pose lies in us, in how we use them.

But when I became old enough to learn to shoot, I took one lesson from my father and then refused to go further. It was a rite of passage, a stage on the way to adulthood. But I did not want the responsibility of handling weapons. And, frankly, I just didn’t want to grow up. And because my parents were a little too liberal, and I was far too stubborn, they didn’t force the issue. So I went out into the world with a child’s salutary fear of guns intact.

A few years later, I went to a screening of The Terminator on a college campus. Now, if The Terminator teaches us one thing, it is that the police and the authorities can’t really protect us against a determined assailant — any assailant, not just a nigh unstoppable killer android from the future.

Yet, at the end of the movie, after Sarah Connor finally crushed the terminator in a giant industrial press and the red lights in its chrome eye sockets died, we heard the sound of sirens off in the distance . . . and all around me there were audible sighs of relief. Thank goodness the authorities are coming! Just in time to draw chalk lines around the corpses.

Naturally, that audience was smarter, better-educated, more liberal, and probably more anti-gun than average. And yet, after all they had seen, they had a deeply ingrained and essentially childlike response to the sound of sirens: the government is coming to save us. What a relief!

I laughed out loud. But I didn’t laugh long, because a serious resolution dawned: I needed to learn something about self-defense.

People advocate gun control for many different reasons. But, as the debates about gun control in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre have shown, the most salient trait of gun control advocates is their unreasonableness.

By and large, the moral, political, and historical arguments offered against gun control have been tightly logical and based on copious and well-documented empirical facts.

But none of it matters to the gun grabbers, most of whom are so convinced of their moral and intellectual superiority that they feel entitled to behave like vicious morons, dispensing with facts, arguments, and manners altogether in favor hysterical demagoguery and rhetorical thuggery.

There is something infantile about it, and I suspect that at the root of much of the hysteria is simply the refusal to grow up and take personal responsibility for their own safety, and the safety of those they love.

I am not anti-cop. But the police generally cannot protect us from crime. They usually show up too late to do anything but file reports and try to catch the perpetrators. Reasonably, that’s all we can expect of them.

Thus it is the responsibility of adult citizens to know how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from violent crimes. We need to know how to reduce the likelihood that we will be targeted, and we need to know how to defend ourselves if something happens. When one takes responsibility for one’s personal safety, learning how to use a gun, and store it safely, is a natural step.

Liberals react to such notions with hostility and panic because most of them simply do not wish to grow up.

Outside of politics, of course, most liberals are lovely people. I like nothing better than sitting in a fair trade coffee bar with my liberal friends, planning concert and museum outings and comparing notes on organic bakeries, microbrews, thrift stores, and pet friendly hotels.

But when it comes to gun control, immigration, and a host of other issues, liberals don’t think or act like responsible adults. So under no circumstances should they be entrusted with political power.

Mao Tse-Tung famously claimed that political power flows from the barrel of a gun. He was able to murder millions, because he made sure that the state had the guns and the people did not. The best form of Tyrant Control is to have a well-armed populace. If the people are to have power, the people must have guns.

In our society, one can exercise political power simply by turning 18 and registering to vote. But if political power flows from the barrel of a gun, then shouldn’t we limit the franchise to those who learn how to use guns responsibly?