Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No, no one needs an assault rifle, but...

I was using StumbleUpon the other night and came across the Hello Kitty assault rifle, which apparently made its internet debut a year and a half ago. A good many of the comments have been archived, but the one still at the top asks the usual assault rifle question:

I've always wondered, where does one actually need an assault rifle? It's military grade weapon and a such has no use with civilians.

I've seen a lot of (virtual) ink devoted to answering that question. And there's certainly nothing for me to add (I've said before that I own one gun, a nonfunctioning WWII-era long gun that I know zip about).

But I've been thinking about it since I saw the AR-15 in question, and you know what? I've decided the question isn't one we really need to be answering.

I'm serious here. Let's take it at face value. No one needs an assault rifle. Fine. So?

Seriously, that's the only response needed. So you don't need an assault rifle. So what? What does that have to do with owning one? There are grown men out there with Barbie collections. Why is a gun collection any less moral? I know, I know, there's an inherent moral question in the mere existence of a gun. But there shouldn't be. There's a store at North Star Mall, Schärfer, that sells collectible knives & swords. I remember going in there once and the clerk pointing at a display and saying it was Strider's sword, but they had all the Lord of the Rings swords. The worst judgment anyone would pass on a person with a sword collection is that he's a geek. But, as local events have shown only too well, you can commit heinous crimes with a sword as well.

I'm not even going with the guns as tool argument, though it's valid. A gun is fundamentally an object and so is amoral--that is, it is possessed of no inherent moral value. To pass moral judgment on a person because of the objects in their possession, rather than what they will ever do with those objects is sheer stupidity. JayG doesn't even shoot most of the weapons in his collection. I don't use most of my crochet hooks. They're morally equivalent to one another. In fact, when used, the moral equivalency doesn't really change. I use my hooks to make knots in fiber. He uses his guns to make holes in targets. In both cases, the action serves to relax the person utilizing the object, and therefore if any moral conclusion is to be drawn, it must be a favorable one. (And yes, I realize the potential exists for Jay to kill someone with one of his weapons. But it's unlikely as hell, and I don't consider self-defense morally equivalent to murder anyway. So I'm going with actual use here.)

1 comment:

Walrilla said...

Very well said!

Oh, and as far as potential goes, it's all in the mind of the person wielding said weapon. Your crochet hooks have just as much potential to kill someone as do Jay's firearms, or mine. In the hands of any one with the proper frame of mind, crochet hooks are as deadly as firearms. Maybe not as fast, or as easy, but still just as deadly.

Love your writing!