We need to ban more than assault weapons to be safe

Banning things selectively just invites endless argument and debate, so let's ban everything on the National Safety Council's list of things Americans die from every year. Photo: (AP Photo)

DOTHAN, AL, December 20, 2012 — True to his word, President Obama acted on the issue of mass shootings and assigned a task force to the problem. Task force sounds really tough and strident, versus committee, which sounds more effete and irresolute. If you need to have a discourse you form a committee. If you need strong action you establish a task force.

I know all this from watching Hollywood action movies, especially the kind that get awards and have actors who wear colored ribbons and call for world peace on television talk shows.

President Obama loves to form committees because he’s still basically an academic and that is what they do. That’s fine, but he put the class clown, Joe Biden, in charge of the mass shootings task force. It is my fervent hope that Obama was very, very clear to Joe that his job is to stop mass shootings, not incite more. I also hope that Joe learns which end of a gun the bullet comes out of before he tries to demonstrate one.

About five minutes after the tragedy in Newton, CT, Democrats and the liberal media started promoting gun control because they are smarter than everyone and know for sure that is the cure. Even some of those on the right have seen a chance to promote their careers by condemning guns, especially the ones called assault weapons.

You can learn about assault weapons from action movies too. They are black, which shows they are for evil intent, and they fire a gazillion bullets a second. One news person explained they are called assault weapons because they are used to assault people. I am always impressed with such clarity in news reporting.

Bill O’Reilly at Fox News referred to some weapons as the AK-15 and the AR-47, getting the numbers backwards and confusing two different types of weapons from a technical standpoint. He was corrected and then admitted that he would be called stupid for saying that. Some may think that isn’t the only thing he should be called stupid for, but I mention it just to make a point that there is a lot of misinformation about guns out there.

Again, Joe Biden is the one assigned to straighten it out and find solutions. God help us all.

There is going to be a huge battle over banning guns of any type. Just mentioning a ban has stimulated gun sales to their highest level since 2008, and another shortage of ammunition is likely to ensue as well. That is worthy of mention, according to some TV news channels, because guns need bullets to work. Apparently an empty gun can’t do much. The stream of facts about firearms from the mainstream media just continues to dazzle.

There will be endless debate over what constitutes an assault weapon, which is actually a term coined by the media some years ago, and lots of argument about short guns versus long guns (pistols versus rifles). It is interesting to note that the anti-gun folks, once totally against handguns, are now saying they are okay because they can’t spray bullets like water from a firehose. Let’s not ruin their day by mentioning machine pistols like the UZI.

The National Safety Council calculates the odds of dying of various things ranging from heart disease to fireworks. In its latest report (actually 2008 data), the NSC points out that you have a 1 in 321 chance of dying from assault by a firearm.

Other things at the top of the list are heart disease (1 in 6), cancer (1 in 7),  motor vehicle incidents (1 in 98), suicide (1 in 109), poisoning (1 in 126), riding in a car (1 in 368) and being a pedestrian (1 in 701). At the bottom of the risk list are floods (1 in 588,896) and fireworks (1 in 652,046). By the way, fireworks are banned in many states.

There is no denying that firearms are dangerous in the wrong hands. So to avoid arguing and endless debate, let’s keep it simple and ban everything on the NSC list, including things that lead to heart disease and cancer. NY Mayor Bloomberg gets it. He banned big slurp soft drinks and there hasn’t been one death from soda since. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets it too. He immediately called for a gun ban even at the risk of losing the gang vote in his city.

During his re-election campaign President Obama spoke of shared responsibility. He is very big on spreading stuff around, mostly other people’s money, but why not apply that concept to dangerous things as well? If clumsy people can’t use a pool without drowning in it, get rid of the pools. Without cars there would be no deaths from texting while driving. The pedestrian death rate would plummet without sidewalks.

Anyone who ever raised children will probably understand all this. It is well known that if a child does something stupid with a toy or object, you take it away. Since we live in a time when many adults act like children, we should use the same tactic and remove all dangerous things around them. Banning things selectively just invites endless argument and debate, so let’s make it across the board and keep it fair.

As I always said to my whining teenagers, “I’m not interested in truth and justice, I’m interested in peace and quiet.”

(Get The Backstory and more on Rick’s blog at www.ricktownley.com)

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Rick Townley

Rick Townley was a bookseller before switching to electronic publishing with The New York Times, Reuters, Grolier and others. He is the author of a humor book, For Boomers Only – Exploring Life in the New Millennium, a supernatural novel, Stepping Out of Time, and numerous short stories. In addition to contributing to the Washington Times Communities, Rick is working on a fiction series called Stigma and resides in southern Alabama with his 7-year-old granddaughter, Chloe.


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