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GUN CONTROL – A Compromise We Can All Live With

Today is March 24, 2018, and as I write this thousands of people have taken to the streets to push for gun control. This March For Our Lives movement is lead largely by young people, instigated by survivors of the most recent slaughter of innocents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, young people who are eager to impress sitting politicians with the promise that the vote will soon be theirs. An excellent time for those same politicians to decide whose support they most cherish, the NRA’s or the soon-to-be voters. As is often the case, which way these politicians swing may not be decided from the depth of their spiritual hearts, but rather something more practical – keeping their jobs.

No matter which side of the line you stand on, it is difficult for anyone to go against the image of dead children, and those left scared and scarred by surviving the nightmare.

Much is made of our precious Second Amendment right to bear arms. It says so right there in our inviolable Constitution, and any argument that our Founding Fathers may not have had assault rifles in mind when they wrote this into Biblical Law is conveniently swept aside by those who refuse to think beyond the most superficial reading of its interpretation. Yet the very thought that any law-abiding citizen needs a weapon-of-mass-destruction such as those used in the most terrible mass shootings in our inglorious history of same is anathema to the NRA and those who would challenge us to pry their assault weapons from their cold dead hands, (and the massive fortunes put at risk to their manufacturers and purveyors.)

Well, I have a solution. Bear with me arms bearers, and those that oppose them.

My father was a hunter’s hunter. Twice he earned bragging rights for taking the first registered kill, minutes after the start of the nascent deer season in Pennsylvania, not because he wanted to kill deer, but rather to put meat in the freezer for our growing low-income family. My father would not take a shot unless he was certain it was a “kill” shot, and on the rare instances of an animal being hit and not dropping, he’d track it for as long as it took to put it out of its misery and into the pot.

There is a story less-told in the annals of my family history about my dad, that staying awake one night to dispatch a troublesome rat that had been seen perched on my infant chest in broad daylight, he shot that rat with one shot from his .22 as it hid across the room in a case of glass soda bottles in our family-owned store. My dad took extra time to get his one kill shot, so as not to break any bottles, thus losing the deposit on the returnables. My father would also have been loathe to waste a bullet.

There is an unaddressed shame to assault rifles and bump stocks that needs to be confronted head-on, an embarrassment that any user and protector of our right to own and bear automatic weapons need examine. The elephant in the room is this. A weapon that indiscriminately sprays a room with death requires no real talent or skill beyond the wish to do damage. Who needs to hone their marksmanship when it’s so easy to piss all over the landscape with hundreds or thousands of rounds, letting volume do the work of hours and hours of practice?

My solution to ending all gun violence is simple. The only entity to suffer in its implementation are those that profit by the culture of “more,” the NRA and the gun industry. It is this.

Let everyone who wants a gun, have one. A “concealed carry” handgun for personal protection, a .22 for bagging small game / target practice, a hunting shotgun. Even an assault rifle. Your choice.

But here’s the kicker. With only one bullet per usage.

To be clear let me restate that; one gun, of one’s choice, with one bullet for same. Sort of a nuclear deterrent, in miniature. If we all have one, does anyone want to use theirs first and be left without one? Think what this would do.

Lin-Manuel Miranda may have figured out a solution to gun control when he wrote the HAMILTON lyric, "I am not throwing away my shot!"Imagine if everyone had one, and only one, shot each time one went hunting for deer or people. Would anyone be in a rush to use it? No one would want to be left without their one bullet – whether to hunt, or murder, or defend themselves. Wouldn’t one want to preserve their personal protection for when it was really needed? Wouldn’t you wait till you were absolutely certain your shot would bring down the squirrel for dinner? Would a trophy hunter be as eager to stand in front of his charging rhino or wary leopard if the one shot was not guaranteed to bring it down?

I dare say we’d all become much more selective in the decision to pull the trigger. That one shot, left in the chamber, would be as one nuclear device remaining on the shelf. Technically, the rights of a Second Amendment-minded shooter would be upheld, albeit the ability to do real harm would be severely limited. Instead of twenty-two dead, (Sandy Hook), or seventeen, (Marjory Stoneman Douglas), or thirteen, (Columbine), or twelve, (Aurora) or fifty-eight, (Las Vegas), or nine, (Charlestown Church, SC), or forty-nine, (Pulse Nightclub), or, or, or… four, (Asheville, NC, where one of the four was a beloved family member, lost to a disgruntled fired employee. Frank was collateral damage. The shooter din’t mean to get him. Where, in response to my saying that ‘we all wish to go peacefully in our sleep of natural causes,’ a jaded detective told me, “These days, dying of a gunshot is dying of ‘natural causes.’”

Remember, these are “only” kill numbers, not including the teeming thousands wounded, and left damaged and disabled for life. Those numbers swell the statistics exponentially.

The NRA tells you guns don’t kill people. People kill people. True that. Anyone who’s ever played Clue will tell you the Professor did it, in the library, using nothing more innocuous than a paperweight. But isn’t it also true that people with automatic weapons kill more, many more people, than people with paperweights do?

There’s a scene in one of super-macho John Wayne’s flicks where the Duke is fleecing a dandy in a card game, in a saloon. The dandy, realizing it, reaches into his boot and pulls out a derringer, a delicate lady’s gun, and places it on the table. The Duke looks at it and says, “You know, if you shoot me with that, and I find out about it, I’m gonna be mighty upset.” But, would the Duke have felt the same if that weapon was an AR-15?

So okay, fine, sportsmen and civilian militias, keep your gun, any gun, but only one gun, of your choice. With only one round for it. Then, if on a bad hair day you decide you really, really, really just gotta go kill somebody, go ahead. But you better be able to do it with one shot, skillfully placed, not hundreds or thousands of sloppily sprayed bullets from a weapon-of-mass-destruction into a crowd. That’s shooting fish in a fish bowl. Any coward or nut case can do that. Where’s the sport, where’s the courage, where’s the skill to kill in that? Take your shot. With any luck, you’ll miss. But beware. Whoever you’re shooting at might, like the Duke, be mighty upset, and might just kick your ass once you’ve shot your chicken-shit wad.

Better yet, use your one bullet on someone that deserves it. Use it on yourself.

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