In our inaugural “Dear Rosie” article, we’re taking on the oh-so-controversial topic of gun control in the U.S. People keep saying that talking about gun control right now amounts to “politicizing” the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. I call BS. When something bad happens people talk about how they feel about it and the circumstances surrounding it, and about solving the societal problems that caused it, and the only time you’re going to hear that accusation is when the accused has said something the accuser doesn’t agree with politically. Guess what? Some things are political issues, and they’re also life issues, and we’re going to talk about them, and we’re not going to agree all the time. So, without further ado, here’s your first Dear Rosie:
Why are you “gun control” nuts trying to take away my guns? Don’t you know that the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees my right to bear arms? If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns! Guns don’t kill people–people kill people! What if we need to rise up against the government? If I had been at [insert horrific gun-related tragedy here] I would have used my gun to stop it! Also, I like to hunt. You probably want to take that away too, don’t you? Why do you hate FREEDOM??
Fictional Paranoid Gun-Owner
It might surprise you to learn that, dirty tree-hugging hippy though I am, I don’t necessarily think guns should be illegal. I mean, first of all, we do have that 2nd amendment thing to contend with, and no matter now long we argue, we’re not going to agree on whether the founders wanted us to have AK-47s. Once when I was working on a mystery novel, I went to a gun range and fired a Walther PP just so I’d know what it felt like. It was fun! And when I was a kid, I went out in a field and fired a big gun that used this ammo and nearly knocked me on my ass. That was less fun. But I understand that shooting is a sport, and it’s part of the culture in some parts of the country, and that some people like to hunt for sport and even in order to feed their families. And guns are a huge part of U.S. history. I don’t believe it’s realistic to expect that guns will be outlawed in this country. I think this poster makes a pretty good case (excerpt below; full post at Reddit):
“You seem like a fair minded person. You don’t like guns. I don’t like alcohol. If you can tell me one argument for banning guns that does not apply equally to banning alcohol, I’ll throw all my guns in the river tonight. Otherwise, we’ll just have to both agree that it’s a matter of personal choice and let each other be.”
“Guns kill people.” Response: Alcohol kills more people.
“Yeah, but guns are used in crime.” Response: So is alcohol. Aside from the obvious drunk driving and addiction related crimes, what % of people who commit crime do you think drunk? Ask a cop how many domestic violence situations involve alcohol.
“But guns are used in terrible murders. Alcohol only causes accidents or health-related deaths.” Response: This is an even stronger argument for banning alcohol. If you banned guns, at least some of those murders would still get committed. If you banned alcohol, NONE of the alcohol related accidental deaths would happen. (i.e. the definition of an accident is that its unintended, unlike murder).
“They tried to ban booze and it didn’t work.” Response: Try to ban guns in the USA. You see what happens. No country with hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation and porous borders has ever successfully banned guns (or anything for that matter: see war on drugs.)
“But drinking is fun and a social activity.” Response: Let’s go shooting on Saturday. Empty a few mags from an AK-47 and then tell me it’s not fun.
You can dice words and split hairs all day long, but as far as I can tell, most of what he says is dead on. Personally, I don’t get why people need to own assault weapons, but if you buy that we might need to form a militia and kick-ass on the government, I guess we’ve got to be able to compete. Fine. Here’s my thing: I say “gun control,” Fictional Paranoid Gun-Owner, and you hear “gun pried from my cold-dead fingers after I tried to shoot you for trying to take my gun but apparently you got off the first shot so I’m dead.” And I know a lot of very rich folks want to make sure people buy guns, and so they help make certain people feel like they’re going to need guns (and that their right to have them is under imminent threat). They watched their profits rise in response to 9/11 and they made damned sure in 2008 the message got out that gun rights would be history if Barack Obama became president. And in 2011 when Jared Lee Loughner shot Gabrielle Giffords, the cries filled the air: Hurry! Get your guns before the lefties change the laws! And now it’s election time again, and another mentally ill person with a stockpile of weapons has ripped a community apart, and guess what? Investors are already salivating.
So, what do I mean when I say “gun control”? I mean that guys like Loughner and Holmes who are clearly not competent to use guns responsibly should not be able to do this without raising a flag and inviting some scrutiny:
Suspected Aurora Shooter Amassed Huge Arsenal Online With No Background Checks
From Huffington Post:
“Authorities say all of Holmes’ purchases were legal — and there is no official system to track whether people are stockpiling vast amounts of firepower.”
We make laws to regulate other dangerous items and substances. Like alcohol. And cars! Which, while they’re not designed to kill people, do it all the time in the hands of irresponsible and unlucky people. So we make laws and we put the irresponsible ones in jail and we make ads about how people shouldn’t drive drunk, but heaven forbid we should say that maybe, possibly, a person ought to have a full background check to purchase a gun and that there ought to be systems in place that throw up red flags when any one person seems to be “amassing an arsenal” (because that’s not worrisome for any reason at all). I mean, shouldn’t the FBI spend some time, you know, observing that person to see whether they might be planning to murder a bunch of people with all those guns? You can’t even stock up on Sudafed anymore without a SWAT team showing up at your house, but guns are apparently not as dangerous as cold medicine. Come on, FPGO, I’m not saying that everyone who owns more than one gun is going to become a mass murderer, but at the point where you have to use the words “arsenal” or “stockpile” maybe we should just have a look, huh? Evaluate their mental state, perhaps? Just a thought. Oh, and while you’re fantasizing about what you would have done if you’d been in that audience carrying your legally concealed weapon, you might want to have a gander at this very intelligent article by a guy who knows more than most people about combat situations.
FPGO, if you take nothing else away from my response to your fictional letter, take this: “Gun control” doesn’t mean we want to take away your guns. Sure, some people are dead-set against them, but as I said, they’re fighting what is very likely a losing battle. Some of us, on the other hand, just want to know that there are laws and checks and balances to protect the public, and that includes better gun laws as well as taking a serious look the availability (or lack thereof) of mental health services. We should all be in favor of making the world a safer place.
I’ll leave you with this quote, which sums it up poignantly for me:
“Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as, say, a gun.”
Me too, Andy. Me too.
OK, back to the lighter side of things for a bit.
I thought about calling this post Sports Sammich 2012 because of how seldom I expect to write sports-themed posts, but with material like this out there, I can’t guarantee anything. So here’s a Sports Sammich for you, and we’ll see if you’re still hungry after.
This first bit is about equal pay, which is a thing for me, and I think it ought to be a thing for everybody else, too. Unless you’ve been listening to Fox News with headphones on for the past several years, you probably know that on average, women in the U.S. make about seventy-five cents for every dollar men earn doing the same work. For a long time we didn’t really talk about that, because you know, we’d made so much progress and it’s not polite to look a gift horse in the mouth or whatever. Laurie Anderson did, though:
You know, for every dollar a man makes
a woman makes 63 cents.
Now, fifty years ago that was 62 cents.
So, with that kind of luck, it’ll be the year 3,888
before we make a buck.
So, anyway, when I saw the headline, “France’s Gilles Simon says men should be paid more than women at tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments” I had to look. Here are the key phrases:
Simon [who is on the ATP Player Council] told reporters at Wimbledon in French that he thinks “men’s tennis is ahead of women’s tennis” and “men spend twice as long on court as women do at Grand Slams.”
He also said men “provide a more attractive show” in their matches.
And here’s a photo of Monsieur Simon providing “a more attractive show.”
I know, but come on, really? Talk about doing more work, sure, if that’s the case, but what kind of a guy… Wait, I’m getting an update…
One female player asked about Simon’s comments, 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, said: “I don’t care what he says about anything. He hit me with a ball the first time I was a ballkid. He hit me in the chest, because he lost a point and lost the set. He turned around and slammed the ball with his racket and hit me … and I’ve never spoken to him since then.”
Yeah. That’s about what I thought.
Also in tennis, women in the WTA will be prohibited from excessive grunting on the courts according to a WTA spokesman. An article by the Washington Post was curiously edited before I could link it here to exclude a phrase stating that men are not subject to any similar rules. Either this is part of some vast conspiracy to ensure that only men are allowed to grunt, or the copyeditor realized that the WTA doesn’t regulate men’s tennis. (As far as I can tell, W is for “womens.”) It’s also possible I read the line in this Fox News article which still states that men are not subject to the new rules yet. (According to the article, the WTA is pushing for a “sport-wide plan.”) Fear not, Tony Manfred at Business Insider assures us that this is not sexist. Women’s and men’s grunt’s are not created equally according to Manfred, but regardless of gender, “the ritualized, tactical grunting that exists in the game right now needs to go.” (Is he right? Or is grunting important to performance? I don’t know. Chime in if you think you do.)
USA Today reported the plan includes developing a device for umpires to measure grunting during matches, and a rule to set limits on how much noise is acceptable.
Yes! What’s called for here is a specialized grunt-detection device! A grunt-o-meter! I mean because measuring sound is a new science, right? It’s not like there’d be…say…an app for that.
Next up is the linkbait headline from the inimitable New York Post: New poll shows women would like to cheat on spouse with Tebow
I’m going to say it again: Really? Ok, I get it: different strokes for different folks. But I’m pretty sure I don’t know any women who would answer that poll “Tim Tebow.” Curious, I clicked. You’ll be as fascinated as I was, I’m sure, to learn that Tebow was actually #2 on the list behind David Beckham. A-Rod and Derek Jeter also made the cut. What kind of poll was this? Who were these women signing up to break their wedding vows with athletes? Then I went back and found the punchline:
According to a new survey released by AshleyMadison.com, the Jets backup quarterback ranked second on a list of athletes women would most likely cheat on their husband with.
I somehow missed out on the “phenomenon” that is AshleyMadison, “the most recognized name in infidelity.” Yeppers, it’s a dating site for people who are married but want to cheat on their spouses. So, among women who are married and want to cheat on their spouses, nearly half want to cheat with David Beckham, but not a few wouldn’t mind being unfaithful to their husbands with a guy who has vowed to wait for marriage before having sex. To that I can only say, “Um…”
Oh, also? Tiger Woods came in last. <sad trombone>