30 Days: Gun Nation
(S03E04) I have never been a fan of guns. Sure, I enjoy movies where gun violence plays a major part. I've always held a fondness for Dirty Harry and the few times I held a gun, I definitely thought it was cool. All that being said, I don't know if I could ever shoot a gun at another living being. I don't really care to find out.
What I would like to know is if there is some way that responsible Americans can enjoy hunting and feel protected while at the same time, psychos won't be able to walk onto the playground of my daughter's school and shoot innocent children. This was an episode I was really looking forward to.
From the beginning of the episode, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful Pia was and I found it disturbing, quite frankly. Last week's subject, Kati, was a very nice lady but it seems to me that a hot aerobics instructor who wants to stop gun violence is bound to be more sympathetic than a middle-aged housewife who wants to ban gay marriages. As much as I love this show, I think it was a mistake to put these episodes back to back, if only because it makes the liberal slant a little more visible than it should be.
At least they made a point of showing us Pia's bigoted preconceptions about gun owners. I found it ironic that she was afraid of arguing with someone who didn't have all the facts, but already assumed her host family would be uneducated and insensitive enough to fly a Confederate flag on their porch.
Upon meeting Ken and seeing how he lives, I couldn't help but wonder why he doesn't spend a little less money on guns and finish building his freaking house? I'm going to assume that's why his wife left him. Who in their right mind wants to live in an unfinished tornado magnet while her son and husband are spending all their spare time blowing holes in things?
I have to agree with Pia on one point. What is it that Ken feels he needs defending against? Is his "shotgun shack" really that attractive to life-threatening criminals? I grew up in Arizona where the law still states that anyone can own and carry a firearm as long as they don't take it into a bar or a church. When I was a kid, my parents knew this guy who had a lot of money and a lot of free time and he loved to walk around the city of Tucson with a hand gun on his hip. Now, while some parts of Arizona are still desert, Tucson is a major city and it's changed quite a bit from the days of Wyatt Earp. Yet, every citizen still has the right to carry a gun. Oh, I should also mention that this friend of my parents was blinded when he was fighting in Vietnam. I wish that I could travel through time to explain to myself the irony of a guy who lost his sight while defending democracy and basic human rights, one of which is the right to bear arms strictly as a fashion statement.
I really enjoyed watching Ken and his friend at the fun shoot. He made a lot of good points about gun safety starting with blaming the gun itself. It really does seem foolish to demonize an inanimate object. Moreover, seeing all the different types of weapons being fired was kind of cool. It's not all that different from a person who digs motorcycles and gets together with his biker buddies on the weekend to ride around and make noise. I don't know the statistics, but I'm guessing more people have died riding a motorcycle than firing a gun. I guess the question is how many people have been killed by a motorcycle being ridden by someone else?
I don't really know what to say about the segment on the University of Utah except that I found it really disturbing. If you were in a class with the kids featured and you knew they were packing, how would you feel? I definitely would not ask to borrow a pencil, that's for sure.
I was shocked to find out that half of the criminals who use guns get them from dirty gun stores. Maybe I'm simple but it seems like stricter punishments for shops that sell to criminals would go a long way towards ending gun violence. It also reinforces the "one bad apple" truism that seems to be more and more prevalent in the world today.
I thought the lady from Cease Fire made a really good point about Ken only lobbying when it affects him, it's too bad that her point was so clearly lost on him. I was hoping it wouldn't happen but I heard way too many platitudes from Ken about the second amendment and criminals getting guns. My feeling is if you have to use the same old arguments over and over to defend your point of view, it's time for a revision.
Pia's interview with the guy who defended his family with his gun was awesome. I can't imagine what that experience must have been like. As far as I'm concerned that guy can have as many guns as he wants. I can't help thinking, however, that his experience has to be uncommon.
At the end of the thirty days, I didn't feel that much was accomplished outside of Pia having a better insight into the mind of a gun enthusiast. It's clear to me that nothing will change until the gun lobby stops spouting the second amendment and makes some concessions and those who favor gun control stop demonizing a hunk of metal and admit that guns can be fun.
|Get a maid||9 (6.1%)|
|At least finish the drywall||66 (44.9%)|
|Looked cozy to me||14 (9.5%)|
|I'd move in tomorrow||19 (12.9%)|
|If I had to live there, I'd use a gun on myself||39 (26.5%)|