Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Guns are Irrational

I've been shooting (range, skeet, backyard...that last not a good idea) and it is fun.  I can see why people would want to own a gun, whether for hobby shooting or for hunting.  I can even understand the desire to own several including the mostly ridiculous assault rifle. 

On one level guns are not that different from any item.  Compare to a cookie jar.  No one needs a cookie jar, but having one gives you a place to keep cookies that is a little nicer than the original package or a random piece of tupperware.  So one can be functional, even if not necessary.  But some people may have several cookie jars.  This isn't because people need 2 dozen containers for cookies, but because they are collecting them.  Perhaps he/she appreciates the different styles, or because they have some special meaning (or perhaps the person is a little crazy, but that's ok too). 

At this level guns are not much different.  One can actually be useful: if your hobby is shooting at a range or hunting, then owning one-three guns--rifle, shotgun, maybe 1 range gun (typically handgun)--makes some sense.  Owning more than 1-3 guns is the same as owning more than 1 cookie jar: either you are a collector or insane (if you want to know the difference: collectors have no reason to get angry about things like waiting periods or background checks or magazine size...they could be angry about assault weapons bans, but only if it is a ban on appearance and not function). 

The difference between guns and cookie jars is that one can easily kill a person, accidentally or deliberately.  That is a meaningful difference, and that is why guns become irrational.  Even the most insane cookie jar hoarder is mostly harmless.  A crazy person with lots of killing machines is a threat. 

People who own lots of guns are not people you want to live next door to.  They aren't people you want your children to visit.  If you own a lot of guns: your neighbors don't feel safe, they feel threatened.

If you own even one gun, you have dramatically increased the odds that you or someone in your family will be shot.  This is true even if it is that one useful gun.  Owning a gun makes your household less safe.  Owning guns is irrational.

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