In the light of what’s just happened in Connecticut (this is a photo taken at the scene of the shooting, which says it all), I have found myself in a weird online argument with gun apologists in the US.
I accept that not having grown up in a country where owning a gun is as normalised as owning a garden rake, I can’t get myself into the mindset of people for whom civilian ownership of a rapid-fire assault weapon is a “rights issue”.
And at this point, some people seem to want to get into hair-splitting in order to dodge the issue, so to make myself unambiguously clear: I define “rapid-fire assault weapon” as including any handheld gun capable of mowing down a bunch of people just by holding down the trigger and waving it around indiscriminately.
It really doesn’t matter to me that there are degrees of “rapid-fire” or “assault weapon”. Any weapon that falls under the above description is designed specifically to kill multiple people, and therefore doesn’t belong in the hands of anyone not currently fighting in an actual war (leaving aside my opinions about warfare itself).
Come on America, be selective.
It’s really bothering me that in the wake of this shooting, I’m seeing a lot online of people making unwarranted assumptions about “what kind of person would do something like this” and pointing the finger at people with mental health issues in general, rather than just accept that the problem is that sometimes “apparently normal” people just crack, and then if that happens when there are assault weapons around, well, you know the rest.
When you consider the number of gun deaths that occur simply because someone loses their temper (and has access to guns), it’s the idea of the average civilian having any access to assault weapons that seems insane to me.
If home owners have these weapons around in order to “protect their home”, the likelihood that they’re going to make them hard to get at and use quickly is, let’s face it, pretty low.
Don’t stigmatise the mentally ill – anyone capable of losing their temper in the presence of guns is capable of doing something like this.