Gun Control

“Gun control is pointless. If someone wants that badly to kill a bunch of people, they will find a way to do it.”


I was talking to a psychiatrist, once. This guy had been a brain surgeon when he was younger, so he’d essentially been a doctor his whole life. We were talking, briefly, about suicide and he said that he didn’t get why people hanged themselves, threw themselves in front of trains, drove into trees. “Why not just take pills?”

I looked at him like he was an idiot and replied, “Most people cannot get pills.”

He was a bit taken aback, and thought and said – “You know, that’s right. Even I would have trouble getting that much barbituate.”

Suicide is something people do when they have the means and the impulse. In merry olde England, the gas supply used to be what is called “Town Gas”, or “Coal Gas”. I think it was made by the gasification of coal. Coal has all sorts of crap in it – sulfur compounds – and the gas was quite poisonous. People routinely committed suicide by “putting thier heads in the oven” and poisoning themselves.

A while back, they switched to natural gas, which is nowhere near as poisonous. The suicide rate plummeted.

And it has never rebounded to the same levels.

Without easy and convenient means people don’t “find another way” to do it. Fact is – they don’t do it at all, not at anything like the same rate.

You think that alienation and anger in young males is uniquely american? Hell no. There’s plenty to go around, trust me. Plenty of bullied teenagers who’d raze their school if they could, right here in Oz.

The problem is that killing people is hard to do. It is a difficult thing to accomplish. Killing a dozen people is damn near impossible for the average person.

Unless they have a gun.

It is simply not true that if these school shooters didn’t have semiautomatic guns, they’d “find another way”. There is no other way. What can they do? Strangle thier schoolmates one-by-one? Use a katana? Without years of training or a gun, it’s impossible to do what these people did.

The problem is the guns. Now, the USA is awash with the damn things – any sort of gun ban is a practical impossibility. But that they are difficult now to get rid of is quite a different question to “what’s causing the killings?” and “If we fixed it so that angry young men couldn’t get guns, would that fix things?”. Guns are the principal enabler.

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