Idiots With Guns

Walter Rhein by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

Imagine a teacher who brings a gun into a classroom. Imagine he accidentally drops the gun causing it to fire and kill a student. Most rational people would regard that situation and conclude that the teacher was guilty of criminal negligence and manslaughter.

Not gun rights advocates. First they’d insist the scenario was impossible because, according to them, a gun can’t have an accidental discharge when dropped. Then they’d go off about how anyone who would suggest such a thing clearly doesn’t know anything about guns. Finally, they’d storm off without ever addressing the topic.

Gun rights advocates like to present themselves as “responsible gun owners.” However I’ve never heard one gun rights advocate criticize a gun owner who does not safely handle his/her weapon. Lately, they’re even defending the behavior of murderous shooters. Gun rights advocates take every opportunity to puff themselves up and repeat their insane, cowardly mantra about how their presence in society protects us from a tyrannical government. The truth is that if the government ever became tyrannical, the gun rights advocates would be the first to march against us.

Americans are killing one another

Since the start of Coronavirus there have been no mass shootings in the US, and Americans seem to be getting an itchy trigger finger to go out and kill their fellow citizens. I actually got into a social media argument with a person who tried to claim Trump should take credit for the downturn in mass assassinations.

“There have been no mass shootings because the government has prohibited mass gatherings you blithering idiot!”

However, assaults on minority groups have been on the rise as Trump seems to capitalize on every opportunity to incite more rage, division and hatred. Riots have been ongoing, and in the last few weeks gun rights activists have been marching into riots looking for a fight. Shooting deaths have been the result in Kenosha and Portland.

I've been vocal about insisting that we can’t stand for domestic terrorism in the form of public shootings. A right wing activist accused me of being a bigot because, according to him, “I decried the shooting of left wing protesters and not right wing protesters.” I informed him that the point of myactivisism is that NOBODY should be shot. I’m still awaiting his retraction and apology.

Hunting season

I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, guns have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. During deer season, dad would pack us all into a truck and we’d head out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere for a week of stalking through the woods.

I quit deer hunting not because I have any moral objection to the pursuit. Meat has to come from somewhere after all, and the human race has virtually eliminated all the natural predators. However, I won’t hang around deer hunters because, in my experience, those men do not handle their weapons safely.

I can’t tell you how many times a fellow hunter has swung a rifle off his shoulder only to have the black void of the barrel trace right across my eye. They’ll stand there scoping something in the distance with no awareness as they turn and point their weapon directly at the man beside them. The first rule of hunting is to not point your gun at anything you don’t want to kill. Yet, I found myself looking down a barrel a dozen times a day.

Scared boys who can’t handle their weapon

“If you point that gun at me one more time I’m going to shoot you!”

It’s funny how if you make that statement to a gun rights advocate, they get offended. They start to bluster. “Well, my gun is completely under my control.”

“Then don’t point it at me.”

“It can’t go off by accident.”

“Yes it can.”

“No it can’t!”

That exchange right there should disqualify a person from owning a gun. I’ve met far too many hostile gun types who insist that they can never have an accidental discharge. That foolish pride is exactly the wrong attitude you want to cultivate in a person who is handling any lethal object.

We all understand that we have to be on guard against losing control of our vehicle so it doesn’t crash into a pedestrian. You could hit a slick spot on the road, you could have a blowout, you could experience any one of a thousand different variables that might contribute to an accident. Responsible drivers know this and are constantly aware. A driver that thinks he could “never” lose control is an idiot and a menace who shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel.

“My gun could never go off by accident.”

You fail. You don’t get to own a gun. You aren’t showing the proper respect. You aren’t responsible.

If the police came to take my guns…

There is a large population of gun owners in Norther Wisconsin that indulge in the self-delusion that they are modern day cowboys. They’ll tell you exactly what they believe, and you instinctively know that if you challenge them on a thought they’ll resist your criticisms with every fiber of their being.

“If the police came to take my guns I would fight back. Nobody is ever taking my guns!”

“But how does that make you a law-abiding citizen?”


“Well, the police take the guns of criminals don’t they? I mean, that’s the argument the right used to defend child separation. When a parent goes to jail s/he is separated from his/her child right? The same is true when a person commits a crime, they’re separated from their gun.”

“I’m talking about if they came to my house to confiscate my weapons.”

“But if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you’d have to comply, true or false?”


You’d think you could have this conversation with a person, but it becomes very uncomfortable. Whenever you push against an individual’s self delusion, they respond with violence and hostility. But the truth is that all these people who claim they’d fight the police simply would not do so if the scenario every played out. The police would knock on the door, they’d hand over their weapons, and it would be over.

The danger of fantasy

Part of the problem in our society is that we don’t call out the insane delusions of gun rights advocates when they start to speak. The second a reasonable person starts to dismantle the proposition, the gun rights advocate tears up like he’s going to start crying.

It’s very much like telling a five year old he’s not allowed to play cowboy.

So we leave the fantasy to fester, and sometimes these lunatics decide to put on the discount body armor they got at the army surplus store, shoulder their AR-15, and head out to a riot where they can shoot people and call it self-defense.

Have some respect for your weapon

The next time you’re driving, take note of the number of idiots you encounter that you don’t feel should be on the road. People cut you off, speed, tailgate, and are simply a menace. A car is a potentially lethal object and people need to treat it with respect.

Now imagine all those idiot drivers are gathered with you in a large auditorium and every one of them has an AR-15. Is it really so hard to comprehend that some people in our society are too stupid and too irresponsible to be allowed to carry weapons that are designed to quickly and efficiently kill everyone in a room?

We instinctively understand in our society that some people are too incompetent to drive, yet we still allow those people to go out and buy guns? We allow people to indulge insane shooter fantasies where they discuss assassinating the police? What part of any of this represents “responsible gun ownership” to you?

Why aren’t “responsible” gun owners speaking out?

The United States of America is a nation of idiots with guns indiscriminately assassinating each other. They bluster about “responsible gun owners” but where are they? Where are the individuals who respect their weapons and decry the morons who can’t swing a rifle onto their shoulder without pointing it at six people in their immediate vicinity?

We don’t have “responsible gun ownership” in this country. That would mean people are NOT getting gunned down in the street. That’s not the case. Go turn on the news.

Murder by self-defense

We’ve got a nation of cowards and child-men filled with false bravado. They’ll spend all day arguing that a shooting was “justified,” but whatever happened to personal responsibility? If you bring a gun to a protest and somebody ends up dead, then you’re the one who was negligent. A truly responsible individual understands that as a fundamental concept. Quit contributing to the deaths of your fellow citizens.

It’s not a “peaceful protest” if you’ve armed yourself for war. When you bring a gun to a gathering with the intention of shooting somebody it’s not “protection.” What you’re doing bears the designation of premeditated murder.

A responsible person would not contest that argument.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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