Tuesday, November 7, 2017

AR-15 Frenzy

Gun sales are a fear-based enterprise. More so, the fear is irrational. People buy guns at a relatively steady rate based on the presumption of safety against crime and criminals. The statistical reality though is 3% of gun owners own 50% of the guns in circulation. This means the primary motivation for gun ownership is not protection but gun ownership itself.

The sad reality is half of the gun deaths each year are self-inflicted, suicide or otherwise. From those numbers one can deduce the instability of the persons who purchase even one gun. The second most common gun death is at the hands of a friend or relative, spouse or significant other. These are euphemistically labeled "crimes of passion". The least likely cause of gun death is being killed by a criminal stranger.

Strict Second Amendment supporters are wont to cite personal safety from crime and defense against a tyrannical government as their reason for stockpiling weapons.

There are three distinct categories of firearms; Handguns, rifles and semiautomatic assault weapons. While handguns are by far the weapon of choice by most owners, they also are the weapon of choice in suicides and domestic violence. Rifles are a natural for hunting and sport shooting. Semiautomatic assault weapons are the go to choice of the fearful citizen who is told the government is trying to enslave him. They are also the weapon of choice of the unstable American white male who feels aggrieved in some way, many times involving women.

Every time the fear mongers ramp up their rhetoric over the checking of backgrounds of prospective assault weapons weapon sales increase dramatically. Even accessories that are suggested for limitation or outright ban see a spike in sales. Exemplary of this assertion is the sales of "bump stocks" for the AR-15 which makes the semiautomatic firing rate into a fully automatic mode. After the Las Vegas mass shooting which left 59 dead and 520+ injured (he used bump stocks to maximize firing rate) bump stock sales to ordinary citizens who already owned AR-15s, jumped.

His firing rate was so high that the conspiracy propagandists such as Alex jones could not believe one man could have accomplished the level of carnage. Alex insists the death total is fake, there were more than just the one shooter and the government is behind the events to justify taking away assault weapons from honest law abiding citizens.

The shooter in Sutherland Springs, Texas was able to walk the aisles and fire 450 rounds before leaving 26 dead and being wounded by a man outside who had a rifle. The shooter was able to kill his grandmother-in-law. I knew there was a woman in his troubled life.

The bigger issue than who may purchase an AR-15 is the number of AR-15s hanging on the wall in gun shops which call out to troubled men like the legendary sirens of the sea. Buy me. Take me home. Stroke me. Give me love. The level of pleasure cannot be neglected. There is a level of orgasmic response at the rapid fire and kick which cannot be denied.

Then there is all the accoutrement. Tactical helmet and face shield, Kevlar vest, black pants and high laced boots. And most of all carrying the 15 to 45 magazines each lovingly loaded by hand. His was not a cosplay outfit to look cool at Comicon. It also was not merely a one-day outing to complete the outfit and firepower.

All of this lethal weaponry can be had for cash or plastic. While it is a very difficult task to monitor each and every purchase transaction, it is the availability of the product which drives the sales. Arms manufacturers should be discouraged or outright banned from making the weapons for public sale in the first place. Importation should be stopped too.

It would be far easier to regulate and control the manufacture of the weapons as opposed to their sale. Similarly stopping the sales is far easier than stopping the purchase. We are talking several millions of buyers, several thousands of sellers and less than a dozen manufacturers.

There is no reason for the ownership of an AR-15 than to get a thrill of firing it and/or of mass killing with it. American society is so highly polarized and radicalized that some rational solution needs to be implemented before all the apparently random shooting event become aligned with each other and parts of our society topple like dominoes lined up for the Principle of Imminent Collapse to all knock down with the simple Nudge.

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