Thursday, December 6, 2012

Revisiting Pat Paulsen and Guns

"Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles," Pat Paulsen, one-time perennial presidential contender said. Regarding Social Security, he said, "Why should old people get it? They just sit around all day doing nothing."

I miss Pat Paulsen, I have to say. The current debates over everything from the fiscal cliff to gun control need him. Regarding gun control, his position was that "guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people," and went on a riff about taxing or banning bullets.

Humor cuts to the chase. In 2012, I'm thinking pro-gun and anti-gun people have it all wrong. I know, or think I do, because I've been on both sides. As with abortion, people on both sides shout the same things they've been shouting for decades.

So boring, so tedious to do the same thing over and expect a different result. (Wait: Did I just say that? No! Albert Einstein did, and he could speak German).

Here's the real issue on guns and gun control and the right to bear arms and yadda yadda: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Sure, they generally do it with guns in the country, but the issue isn't the gun (at least not yet--it may be at some point). The issue is why do people in America kill each other.

Canadian gun ownership compares to America's. But Canadians don't kill each other. Iraqis seem to have a high rate of gun ownership, and they do kill each other.

It may be that people will do something they wouldn't otherwise do if they have a loaded gun in their hands. I remember a newspaper story about a guy in Portland, OR, a bystander to a crime, whipped out his pistol and fired at the tires of a fleeing burglar. The bullets bounced off the tires and hit a pedestrian. His Clint Eastwood moment was brief.

The question isn't the degree to which guns need to (or don't need to) be controlled. The question is why is ours such a violent society.

About which--well, maybe, anyway, Pat Paulsen said, "All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian."

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