I can kill you
I can kill you.
It’s not difficult. I’ve got multiple firearms on the premises. I have a box of bullets sitting here on my desk. I could load one of my guns, rack a round into the chamber, slip the safety on and shove it in my pocket. Then I can drive to your house. I could lie in wait until I see you pull into your driveway, home from a busy day at work or school. I’ll get out of the car before you do, reaching into my pocket and slipping the safety off my handgun. And when you step out, perhaps I’ll distract you by asking you a mundane question. Directions. The time. Have you heard the good news? And right before you open your mouth to answer, I raise the pistol and fire three quick shots directly into your chest.
The impact feels like a sledgehammer. Takes your breath away. The pain is like lava. The exit wounds hurt worse than the entrance ones. You feel your lungs squeezing and breathing becomes difficult. You’re on the ground and you don’t even recall falling. You’re in shock. Your vision starts to fade away, with darkness creeping around the edges. The only things you can think of is the shock that you’ve been shot and the love you have for your family members and the fact that your time is up. Soon you become one with the blackness.
When I say that I can kill you, I’m not speaking metaphorically. I can get up from this desk and end your life. Who is going to stop me? If I don’t write a 137 page manifesto, if I don’t make raging videos or cryptic social media posts and I don’t tell a soul what I’m planning to do, then how can I be stopped?
I’ve never been convicted of a felony, never been admitted to any psychiatric facility and I’ve never been charged with domestic violence. There’s nothing that prevents me from buying a gun with every paycheck. I can load my office up with boxes of ammunition. I can legally purchase guns that are virtually equivalent to what SWAT teams and soldiers carry. Yes, even with the supposed “assault weapon” ban in California, you can still find a variety of perfectly legal semi-auto AR rifles.
Last week, I went to see the legendary Johnny Mathis in concert at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael. It was a great show and Johnny can still evoke gooseflesh with his rich tenor even at 78 years old. But there was absolutely no security. In fact, the only concert I recall having tight security was a Run-DMC/Beastie Boys concert I went to in 1987 at Cal Expo in Sacramento. I had to walk through a metal detector, be patted down and then be wanded by another person!
Any nutcase could’ve walked into that auditorium and shot Mathis dead.
Think of all the places you go. Work. School. Starbucks. Wal-Mart. The bank. Post office. The movies. Your kid’s graduation. None of these places are secure. Anyone can walk right in behind you with two handguns in a laptop bag with multiple clips and proceed to empty those pistols in seconds. And even with a limit of 10 round magazines like we have in California, reloading a semi-auto is astonishingly fast.
What’s my point? I applaud groups who want to close the gun show loophole. We should ban private sales unless they go through a licensed gun dealer. That’s the way 40% of weapons are bought in this country. Those private sales can be to mentally disturbed individuals, because no one’s checking. These are common sense changes that the overwhelmingly majority of Americans agree with. Even the majority of gun owners agree. But while it may prevent some violence, we’re kidding ourselves if we think it will come close to solving the problem.
At the same time I respect the rights of Americans to responsibly own guns. The fear of a “gun grab” is an NRA fiction. To think the government, which couldn’t disarm Iraq or Afghanistan, could seize the guns of the most heavily armed population in the history of the world is laughable.
My point is about the stark, chilling reality that we live every day with the threat of gun violence. There is no way to prevent it. There are things we can do to limit mentally disturbed people from getting weapons and we have to get better at profiling threats. We need laws that will help people intervene when they fear someone is planning a shooting. But most shootings are unplanned. And plenty of them involve shooters who were “law abiding citizens” up until they weren’t.
Last week, Joe the Plumber said dead children don’t trump his right to own a firearm. And for some, no number of innocent victims could make them want to enact even one law that might help, because a certain segment of gun owners live in fear that even one new law will start us down a path to black helicopters, ATF storm troopers, concentration camps, aliens and whatever else they’re quivering about.
We are at the mercy of the mentally disturbed, the angry, the jealous, the suicidal who think they might as well kill you since they’re killing themselves. We’ve got to get beyond the erroneous thought that shooters are crazy. No. Most are pissed. There are a few things we can do, but in the end, we’re not stopping all gun violence. This is our reality. This is obviously what we want. Death, taxes and the possibility of being murdered while eating Raisinettes at the movies. That’s who we are.
Click. Click. Boom.