What is a gun raffle raffling?
By Justin Isherwood
I was abiding by one of my favorite rituals, the Sunday morning café as translates as legitimate church-going to my mind. I was struck on this particular morning by the placemat on the table that announced the Steak Night Raffle at the local kirk following the 4 p.m. Mass. Among the numerous $100 raffle prizes were 25 guns. The confluence of the Mass, the steak night raffle and that gun list suggests how embedded is our American gun culture, to quickly note the guns listed were all sporting arms, .22 caliber, shotguns, deer rifles, a few crossbows. The coincidence being 59 had just died in Las Vegas.
Facts demonstrate that the bulk of our modern gun culture is fear-based, if on a nonexistent threat, combined with a flawed sense of the appropriate tool. America is not for the most part a dangerous place to live, the actual threat of robbery and assault are reasonably rare and probably no greater than other modern countries, to suspect we are a ways behind China, Japan and Europe.
It is fair to say the very presence of our American gun sense reconfigures the standard background of criminality and violence to something profoundly more dangerous. Where normal enough events, normal disputes, normal arguments, normal road rage turns into that something else. To suggest at the base of the rash of police killings is the enforcement level fear of an armed public, and why a minor traffic stop ends up as a tragic execution. Why a family brawl ends up in murder and a kid with a toy gun in that wrong part of town gets treated as an active shooter.
Our America has yet to confront the gospel of the gun foisted on us by the NRA that took the plausible enough Constitutional right to bear arms and in the space of a generation has elevated it to jihad status, ever after in Holy War against any reasonable limitation on firearms.
The Las Vegas massacre vividly illustrates the basic failure of the Second Amendment to match up responsible gun ownership to the obligation of citizen security. Nowhere in the debate has the NRA or its bought and paid-for Congress taken a stand against the kind of weapon that made the Vegas massacre possible. The bump-stock “gun toy” reveals the inability of Congress to even marginally address Second Amendment freedoms.
Spokespersons for the NRA following the revelation of the use of the bump-stock could not agree this was an illegal weapon. Purporting the bump-stock is not an automatic fire weapon because “the trigger has to be mechanically pulled each time.” Senator McConnell thought it “too early to make any judgment about the legality of the weapon.” To produce here the audio of that gun’s rate of fire might convince the Senator, more pointedly so if his kids were at the concert.
Here is where the Second Amendment and the standard perspective of gun/gadget/tool-guy gets complicated, because that bump-stock thing is pretty darn neat. To suspect the bump-stock’s popularity is its novelness, because as a sporting arm it is perfectly useless. Attaching this cheap plastic bump-stock to any standard semi-auto rifle renders it full auto, a machine gun in sheep’s clothing.
It was while the blood of 59 dead and 600-plus injured was being washed down with a fire hose that the NRA argued their obtuse point that the bump-stock wasn’t an illegal automatic weapon. “The trigger is pulled every time” they chanted, not mentioning a rate of fire the same as a military machine gun. Mikhail Kalashnikov said that the worst thing for marksmanship was automatic fire. The AK-47 was designed to slow the rate of fire to marginally remedy this.
The NRA argues semantics so our cherished gun culture can toy with all those novel devices, just another toy for the gun culture. But a toy that in the hands of a diseased mind can kill and wound hundreds in the space of seconds using an array of after-market ammo clips. Again, for the vast majority of gun owners, just toys until some unfortunate soul vents his demons with the fire power of a military strike.
What for the most of us is a novel toy made the Las Vegas massacre possible. Had that poor diseased man been confined to a standard repeater he would have killed but not in car-lot quantity.
The American gun culture continues to hold to the myth of the gun as personal protection. This simply isn’t true. Nothing makes a household more dangerous to its occupants or its neighbors than a thin layer of firearms. Guns are four times more likely to kill a family member or neighbor as a perpetrator, 10 times more likely to kill a kid. If we let the perps do every crime they wanted, without a gun in sight, we would be a safer America.
The NRA is to be compared to the other jihadists of this world, they share a similar motive. Each tend a Scripture so holy they willingly exchange countless lives for the upholding of that Scripture, whether that Scripture is holy war on all infidels or “the right to bear arms shall not be abridged.”
To believe it is time for our treasured gun culture to reach out and bridge that gap. Automatic fire is an automatic weapon. The gun culture needs an exorcism, needs to be rehabilitated to save a vital margin of sanity in America. Yes, we will always have individuals who go off the rails. Yes, they will have their weapons, but for the sake of some new toy, we don’t have to make it so bloody easy.
To peruse the back pages of any gun magazine is to know what’s available out there; high volume ammo clips, devices to increase the rate of fire, silencers, undetectable plastic pistols, explosive bullets, armor piercing ammunition. Is it any wonder American policing has grown nervous and trigger happy?
When our founding fathers established that Second Amendment, the so-called household gun was like as not stored at the community armory. Most households in colonial America had no gun. As for the Wild West, it was never as “gunned” as portrayed on “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.”
The political greed of the NRA and American gun culture is not going to end any time soon. We can predict another Las Vegas massacre sometime in the next weeks and months. The scene is set, the method has been codified, the tools to do it are available.
Until we address our American gun jihad, where the gun has become too holy to criticize, to control, we can only hope that next event is somewhere else, not in our town, our street, our school, our church.