By T.W. Burger
A confession: I love guns.
I had several growing up and into my adulthood. Though I hunted, I wasn’t passionate about it. I just liked shooting.
I never acquired an arsenal, like some of my friends. I know folks who have enough armament in their man caves to hold off the Rooskies or the North Koreans (depending on which version of Red Dawn you watched) for hours on end.
I’m talking, at any given time, a rifle, a shotgun, and, for a while, a pistol. I’ve never been in combat outside of my first marriage, but I have been shot at. It was scary. Happily, so far, everybody who has shot at me trained at the same shooting range as the Storm Troopers in the Star Wars films.
I am a fan of the Second Amendment, though I do not think it says what most of its acolytes think it does. Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger (1907-1995) [no relation that I know of] said, and I quote: “The gun lobby's interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."
At this point, the matter is more academic than practical. Some in the gun lobby claim that the “libtards” want to take away all our guns. That’s just stupid. This nation has more guns than people. For social, political, and practical reasons, removing the guns from our national equation would be a challenge of monumental proportions. That’s a long-winded way of saying it couldn’t be done.
The real problem is hotheads/crazies who terrorize public events, schools, malls, workplaces, etc. You know, places where they can go with whatever weapon makes them feel badass enough and lay waste. And then, usually, they kill themselves.
I don’t get it, and neither does anybody else. The Right is having a field day because one transexual female shot up some people; they are trying to claim that the LGQTB+ community is coming for them. Not that it’s a bad idea, mind you, but no. It is just another episode of a mental case taking out whatever rage has cooked up within them and slaughtering the innocents before exercising their right of extreme self-criticism or self-pity.
I know. I don’t sound very sympathetic. Or empathetic.
I am not. Help is available, if not cheap. But anything is cheaper than slaughter.
Many cultures have one or more gods whose purpose in the universe is to spread destruction. In our culture, it is firearms, and every year the number of our martyrs to that god grows exponentially large.
The last time I picked up a serious firearm was at a demonstration of weapons used in the Battle of Gettysburg. It was a Henry lever-action rifle, the equivalent, in the early 1860s, of an AR-15.
I was surrounded by friends and family. Some of them were children.
The rifle seemed suddenly very heavy. I fired a blank; it made a wan, popping sound. None of the children playing around on the deck around me or in the field stretching out before me noticed.
I have a good imagination. I suddenly was not enjoying the guns at play so very much.
That ticked me off. The pleasure I have had with guns has been apportioned between those joys, horror, and fury.
I have seen gunshot wounds up close. I want to know what question such wounds provide an answer to. Is it simply that the questions behind the violence are too difficult?
Discussion is hard. Reason is hard. Argument is hard.
Bullets are easy.
T.W. Burger was raised in Athens, and he graduated from Athens High School in 1967. He worked as a driver of everything from fork trucks to garbage trucks and concrete mixers, has been an apprentice mortician and an ambulance attendant.
Semi-retired, Burger is still working as a contributing writer for Classic City News and various other publications, and lives on the banks of Marsh Creek just outside of Gettysburg.