Hell Yes, Take Them Away!

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!”  With that unequivocal statement, Beto O’Rourke ignited right wing gun pundits who’ve kept some powder dry for just such a remark:

“Who is this “we” he speaks of? Democrats? Liberals? Bring it, fools. Come and try to take my legally purchased guns. I double-dog dare you to come to my house and attempt to violate my Constitutional rights. It’s won’t be nearly as easy as Beta O’Dork thinks. (Def-Con News)

“My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.” (Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain)

“Why do you oppose federal licensing?” Because leading Democrats are threatening confiscation. “Why do you oppose ‘universal’ background checks?” Because they would create a registry. “And why do you oppose a registry?” Because leading Democrats are threatening confiscation. Unwittingly or not, O’Rourke and his acolytes have stuck a dagger into the exquisitely calibrated gun-control messaging on which their party has worked for the better part of 20 years. (National Review)

It’s not just on the right; Beto O’Rourke also seems to have agitated many on the Left.  On Meet The Press, fellow presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg implied Beto’s comments played into the hands of the NRA (though he himself favors the banning of new assault rifles). Morning Joe Scarborough exaggerated O’Rourke’s buy-back proposal, painting it as a “kick in the door” confiscation policy that could never happen. He derided Beto’s words as just more red meat for gun owners.  Senator Chris Coons said O’Rourke’s proposal was “unwise and feeds into the right-wing refrain that Democrats are seeking to take all guns away from Americans”.

The timidity goes on and on: tread softly, or you’ll upset them. It’s like an abused housewife’s non-confrontational stance taken towards a drunken, violent-prone husband. At least in her moment, the reaction is understandable; it allows for her survival. The same can’t be said for those who really want gun reform. Treading softly has neither placated the abuser nor decreased the violence. Fifty years of pandering to the NRA’s problem child has only made him more belligerent and dangerous.  Politically measured “reasonable” proposals keep his toys in place and maybe his threatened tantrum at bay, but little else. We still have nearly 13,000 murder-by-gun deaths every year. The safe, “not-to-extreme” approach maintains status-quo variations of toothless regulation while gun violence continues.

O’Rourke doesn’t really propose “busting down doors” to confiscate assault weapons, but why shouldn’t he? Why shouldn’t anyone? It’s condoned for other recognized dangers and legal concerns. Police are given warrants to enter homes for drug busts and child porn searches.  Authorities knock on doors searching for fugitives or immigrants without papers. “Door busting” warrants are often obtained for even violent free situations (ex. Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort).  So why not rap on the door that hides a killing machine?

The weapons are legal, but shouldn’t be; military assault style rifles provide for what their name implies: an efficient means to assault. Their design is for warfare and the killing of human beings. If you really have a need to kill animals (or even just like to) there are plenty of guns designed and readily available for that purpose. If you really have a need to kill human beings (or even just want to) there are plenty of guns designed and available for that purpose, too. Most of them are referred to as assault weapons, and they’re perfectly legal. Imagine that: they’re perfectly legal. Manufacturers are allowed to sell weapons to civilians that are specifically designed to kill human beings, yet hold no legal responsibility when used for that purpose. OxyContin anyone?

Does the thought of an AK-47 in your husband’s hands make you a little uncomfortable? How about if your young son acquired one? Would you be at least a little concerned? You probably should be; some vivid red flags are fluttering. Statistically, males are prone to violent outbursts.  They commit 70% to 90% of all murders.  en perpetrate about 98% of all mass killings and constitute at least 90% of all modern day serial killers. In domestic settings, 80% of spousal murders are committed by men, and in the workplace, males account for 97% of all rampage style killings. Think about this: your son or spouse with an AR-15 has fantasies of killing a human being; not just in a passing pique of anger, but coolly in a measured way. Yes, that thought is really there; he has an image in his mind.  Before he buys a car, a guitar, a game, or anything else, he imagines using it; it’s what people do.  AK-47’s are machines specifically designed for the potent killing of human beings; their intended use is imagined when the purchase is contemplated. It might not mean he immediately intends to kill scores of school children, innocent co-workers, or that a meltdown of some kind is imminent. But it does mean this: he’s at least pictured himself using that weapon to kill a human being; that for some psychological reason, he has a need to imagine and posses that kind of power; to project that kind of threat. Do you see the red flags flapping? If acquired, three things have come together: a male, a fantasy, and the tool that can make it happen.

It’s illegal to knowingly download images of child pornography, even if alone and in your home.  Even in fantasy mode, it’s recognized as dangerous and a threat to innocent children. It’s perfectly legal to load an AR-15; you can even do it in the presence of a child; you can expose him to the beauty of holding a weapon that’s capable of killing forty people in less than a minute.  Is it real, or is it fantasy?

The child pornographer is sexually perverted. His downloads serve no healthy, useful purpose; they feed obscene fantasies and encourage purveyors. At some point he might act upon those fantasies and harm a living child; he’s weird and dangerous; something’s not right in his head.  It’s why we fear, loath, and distrust him. If discovered by authorities, his perversion would be dealt with quickly (unless he’s a well-connected Caucasian billionaire). There would be a warrant, a knock, and if necessary, a “door busting” entrance to seize his computer and arrest him.

The civilian owner of an assault weapon is mentally perverted. His military style firearm serves no healthy, legal purpose.  It simply feeds obscene fantasies. At some point he might even act upon those fantasies and kill real people (a lot of people in a short amount of time). To have the psychological need to possess such a killing device means something is not right in his head; he’s weird and dangerous. It’s why we should fear, loath, and distrust him. Perhaps we do, but we enable his perversion anyway. We respectfully tread softly while 13,000 men, women and children are murdered every year.

We don’t need AR-15’s, etc. for “sport” or subsistence hunting. We don’t need them for target shooting.  We don’t need them for protection. They’re only really “needed” by those who clearly shouldn’t have them; gang members, criminals, and those with the psychological need to project an air of deadly power. Is there a reliable way to recognize those who shouldn’t have an assault weapon? Sure, it’s easy; it’s any civilian who wants to have one (and it’s most likely a male).

So, hell yes, we should knock on doors and get them off the street. It’s the guns; the assault weapons. Their owners and purveyors are moral perverts with unhealthy needs. Like child porn addicts, their gratification is found in violent fantasy. Maybe it remains just that: a bit of fantasy with perhaps some violent underpinnings; maybe it’s only a fluttering passing thought and nothing more; unless it…well…you know… you’ve probably seen the headlines a few times.

It’s the gun, an assault weapon that animates the fantasy and arms the reality. It’s the gun, an assault rifle that provided a means to kill 58 people in less than ten minutes; it’s the gun used in so many mass shootings; the gun solely designed for the efficient killing of human beings; the gun with no essential legal purpose; it’s a supremely lethal gun and it’s still in the hands of three million adolescent adults with comic book fantasies.

So, hell yes, again.  Make them illegal. Take away the AR-15’s. Take away the AK-47’s.  Recognize and call out the perversion. Stop treading softly. Knock on doors. Get rid of them. Beto O’rourke’s plan would make a decent start: a buy-back program. Propose sixty days for amnesty and compensation; cut the compensation in half through the next sixty days; after that, no compensation and no amnesty. Anyone still in possession of an assault weapon would then be subject to arrest and gun confiscation. It’s not so draconian a proposal; the assault weapon holder is offered compensation, amnesty, and most importantly this: a chance to renew his life.  He should feel fortunate; consider how other perverts are treated. The child porn addict gets only this: an immediate arrest and a scarlet letter.

Hell yes, take them away!

Vern Loomis lives in the Detroit area and occasionally likes to comment on news and events that interest him in whatever capacity available. Some of his other musings can be found at Transcend Media Service, ZNetwork, CounterPunch, The Humanist, and The Apathetic Agnostic. Read other articles by Vern.