It's about responsibility in firearms ownership, and Liberal Angst, and one Liberal's desperate attempt to put a 'nuanced' (or 'balanced') face on the story of a little girl killed because he (another child, in the guise of a man) left a handgun where his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter could just ... pick it up off the table, and pull the trigger.
As you will be, I am struggling to deal with the sheer outrage at an "adult" who is so irresponsible that he allows the tragic death of a child to happen because he likes playing with guns.
Yes, many of us consider firearms to be the means by which we can 'play' (at competition, or in other hobbies such as collection) or be a sport (again, competition, and hunting). Most of us, I imagine, have a more serious attitude toward firearms: they are a tool and like a handaxe or a hacksaw they are capable of causing injury.[
But never the injury of a child. We never assume that a child this young is capable of a responsible attitude toward firearms. At 18 months, everything is a curiosity .. everything is a toy.
In response (or perhaps as a follow-up) to this tragedy, "Sutten" goes to a gun show where strange people and stranger shooting-related products are for sale.
Sutton (a gender-neutral name, but I'll refer to the author as 'she') strives valiantly with the demonstrations of Bill of Rights displays which, to her, are obviously shocking. Her distaste is clear, but to her credit she attempts to describe rather than criticize:
This was my first time at a gun show, and I didn’t know what to expect, exactly. I knew that gun shows are something of a flash point in our ongoing national debate about guns. The opportunity to sell guns to each other is important to a lot of gun owners, and gun shows are widely considered to be next on the chopping block when it comes to gun-control policy. If, for example, the federal government were to impose a nationwide three-day waiting period (which it’s not entirely clear the federal government would have authority to do, but still), gun shows would effectively cease to exist, since only sales initiated on Friday morning could be concluded before the weekend were over.
Meanwhile, to the “other side,” the people the gun enthusiasts refer to as “antis” (as in “anti-gun,” or maybe even “anti-freedom,” and of course, as the t-shirts for sale at the gun show advised, “freedom isn’t free”), gun shows are murky and ominous-sounding affairs where, it is assumed, people who somehow couldn’t buy guns otherwise are able to obtain them, not to mention the fact that the events gather concentrations of people who are really into guns, an enthusiasm that is frankly hard for many outsiders to understand.
It’s not hard for me to understand, at least on some levels. I shot for the first time in Coast Guard boot camp and carried a sidearm regularly (and long arms less regularly) when I operated as a boarding officer in the Florida Straits. I found I was passably good at target shooting, which was a thrill for a city kid who hadn’t grown up around guns, but that wasn’t the only attraction. Certain other powerful emotions took hold of me during those early experiences, emotions related to the high-stakes feeling of responsibility and the focused concentration necessary for safe gun handling, as well as the aesthetic pleasure of using one of the last categories of well-made things. Short of fancy sports cars, after all, one is not likely — in our increasingly disposable world — to become intimate with very many other mechanical devices that are machined and assembled and tuned to such precise and narrow specifications. .
So it’s not so hard for me to understand the enthusiasm some people feel for guns. There are some other things in the gun world it is harder for me to understand, however.
Really? She seems uncommonly introspective for one who is experiencing her first gun show.
At 10:30 in the morning, the show was already well-attended. The crowd was overwhelmingly male and tended toward middle age and girth, lots of plaid and fleece stretched over lots of ponderous bellies and wide backs, which made it hard to squeeze through the narrow aisles.
Sutton treats a 'trip to a gun show' as if it were a city-kid's school field trip to the farm. She holds her nose against the smell and watches where she steps, trying to ignore the porcine bodies bumping against her.
Gun Shows are a two-pronged affair, and participants have tried hard to accommodate those who don't understand them and who are uncomfortable with the concept that a private citizen may (usually) trade freely with another private citizen in exchange of personal firearms.
In fact, that accommodation is entirely one-sided, as those who believe firearms should always be controlled by the Government will never reciprocate, never attempt to really understand the concept of personal responsibility.
As Sutton says: "The question is whether we have any good way to prevent gun sales to the stupid at the policy level, as opposed to, say, harshly punishing the Smails of the world."
That's a good question. Stupid, but deserving of response.
Should the person who sold a pistol to "Smails'" vendor have declined the transaction? Certainly, but how is a seller to know that the buyer is an irresponsible mutt except by current actions? How would the grocer who sells a mop-pail know that the purchaser would leave it on the floor, full of soapy water, for an inquisitive toddler to fall into and drown?
I find it disturbing that when Sutton writes this piece, she casually mentioned that:
"The girl’s mother, who was away from home on Wednesday evening, was quoted as saying that Smail was in the habit of handling the gun around the house."Yet she ... Sutton ... wastes no column inches discussing the responsibility of "the girl's mother" for her willingness to leave her child alone, unsupervised, in the sole care of a man who was "... in the habit of handling the gun around the house."
The fact that an unnamed *(?)* daughter is left in the care of a known irresponsible adult is more telling, to me, than that the identified "irresponsible adult" acted as he is known to act: Irresponsibly.
Should she ... the Mother of this child ... have left a toddler alone in the care of a six-year-old child? Probably, not; but why not?
It is at least arguable that the person of "Smails" had demonstrated no more sense of responsibility than another child, and an inexperienced and unthinking child, at that. The degree of responsibility is similar. Who's the responsible adult here?
Sutton has about exhausted her primary theme of the tragic and needless death of a small girl. But she isn't done yet. Instead, she harps on the theme of "Gun Shows Are Bad" ... as if the tragedy of a Little Girl Dead is only the catchy lead-in to a Liberal Anti-Gun Policy Statement.
Sutton goes on to list the characteristics of the Gun Show which disturb her.
But, Oh, I don't really want to go there.
To Sutton, this tragedy is a Talking Point. This is just another way to support a Liberal Political Statement about gun control, and how people who go to Gun Shows are unfeeling, uncaring, irresponsible jerks.
I know people who go to gun shows; this does not describe them. More, I know the people who sponsor, organize and run gun shows; this does not describe them.
Everyone that I call 'friend' is appalled by this story, by the death of a child. I know people who probably aren't so affected by the story, but they are not my friends.
They're people like Sutton, who is indistinguishable from an opportunist with an agenda; willing to make political hay while the societal sun shines ... and when the story is no longer Page 1 news are entirely willing to forget about that 18-month-old who died because her mother wanted a Man in her life more than she wanted to protect her child.
Why does Sutton write an article about a Little Girl Dead, then use the majority of her time talking about a gun show and how odious it is to her?
Because the child isn't important to her.
Except as a lead-in to a slam on Gun Shows, for Christ's Sake.
I have no sympathy for Sutton's Liberal Angst; it's as phony as her name.
And I have no love for the Walmart Blogger, whose societal awareness is less deep than John Edwards' $600 haircut.
A pox upon the "Sutton", for her false concern about the death of a child.
And another pox on her, for her touchy-feely article.
Also for her attempt to turn this story into a Liberal rant on their Liberal political platform.
I have no affection for dissemblers and liars.
I have no respect for those who would feed upon the blood of innocents.
I have no patience for those who disguise themselves as loving, caring people when they are vultures of the political spectrum.
Thank you, host Xavier Thoughts, for being so wise as to restrict your response to: "In the end, it's all about personal responsibility." You said the same as I, but didn't have to think it through to reach the true perspective, as I did.