A few weeks ago, Stephanie, a Danish woman I met at a party, arrogantly announced that American laws were all stupid. She demanded that I explain to her why our laws allow anyone in the U.S. to own and use guns.
I opened my mouth repeatedly to smush her argument, to belittle her point, and to quote from memory out of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in case she didn’t know that it was an infallible document. But only pitiful little squeaks came out. Occasionally, a feeble “but…” or “I don’t…” slipped out, but my normal ability to defend American culture to Europeans failed me.
Worse yet, I couldn’t even begin to explain why U.S. gun laws are great. Because U.S. gun laws baffle me. Shouldn’t all thoughtful, law abiding people agree with me that loaded guns should not be just carried around in case you get pissed off or you decide you have one too many toes? Guns should especially be kept out of bars, political rallies and churches, places that don’t always bring out the best in folks.
In fact, it was hard not to say to Stephanie, “Our gun laws are completely inexplicable and incredibly stupid.”
Stupid people — even certifiably crazy people — can buy guns legally, with fewer identification demands than a 20 year old buying a 6-pack. It’s especially easy here in Virginia, where I live. After talking with Stephanie, I looked up a few facts. I discovered that guns bought in Virginia are subsequently used in the highest percentage of crimes. Go Virginia!!! Yahoo!!! Doesn’t that just make you want to whistle Dixie?
The study was done by The Americans for Gun Safety Foundation shortly after a crazy person at Virginia Tech used legally purchased guns to shoot 32 students and professors and then himself.
I’m actually glad that I don’t have my own arsenal. I do tend to get pissed off. Remind me not to stick a Smith and Wesson into the glove compartment, because I get pretty annoyed at each and every other driver on the road. Have you noticed what jerks they are? The lane hoppers, the texters, the adults turning around to rough up grandma. They should all be shot, or smacked, or, when push comes to shove, pushed and shoved. If I’d “packed heat” on my recent drive to and from Maine, I’m pretty sure I’d have used my guns repeatedly, on the drivers who cut me off, the ones who tailgated, or on those damn Tea Party folks who sport a “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker on their car. Because it makes me especially apoplectic to see folks who don’t think taxes are necessary driving their crappy, environmentally hazardous cars on roads built by U.S. taxpayers.
Now that I’ve found my voice, I need to get in touch with Stephanie, again. Because she is under the misimpression that our gun laws make it so guns are the only way we Americans can abuse each other. And I want to let her know that we have other options. Automobiles, for instance. And who knows, the one I drive might just accidentally ram the back of that ’95 Buick with the “Bachmann for President” sticker on the left side of the bumper.