Friday, December 14, 2012

Bringing a sword to a gun debate

This past week, a friend of mine from middle and high school was arrested for allegedly assaulting his father with a weapon. The attack came as a shock to myself and my classmates, as did the news that he’d had 13 prior arrests. We all knew him as a smart, quiet and friendly guy. A universally liked gifted student who gave zero indication that he’d turn out to be such a troubled adult. It’s still hard for me to absorb even as I type this.

Fortunately, his dad lived. He suffered cuts to his hands, arms and face, but he was well enough to talk to sheriff’s deputies.

That’s because his son’s weapon of choice was a samurai sword.

A sword is nothing to screw with. It can be a deadly weapon. But it’s survivable, even in a tight, one-on-one situation.

On the other hand, guns are extremely deadly even at long distances, require little to no skill to fire and are quick to reload.

In the wake of the latest school shooting, the usual suspects will blame declining morals, pop culture, the terrible economy, politics or any other convenient scapegoat. The truth is, however, that none of that matters without easy access to firearms. Even if someone was somehow of such weak constitution that some movie or video game compelled them to kill, it doesn’t matter if they don’t have a weapon capable of quick, intense violence. First, let’s curb the epidemic of cheap, accessible guns — then we can bother with the morals question. As far as I’m concerned, the latter is a distant, distant second.

Surely a country that mandates safety warnings on toy guns can have an adult conversation about the epidemic of bloodshed caused by real ones.

Because, goddamn, this is getting old.

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