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Saturday, December 22, 2012


I saw a video clip the other day of Tutuola (aka Ice-T) talking with someone on the subject of guns. The someone asks Tutuola if guns don't make it easier to kill people, and Tutola denies this, giving suicide bombers as a counter-example. This is the old 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' argument. I've used it myself. Suicide bombers are a poor example of an alternate method of committing mass murder. It requires explosives and detonators and assembling a bomb and then blowing yourself up, something not all mass murderers intend. A hammer or a kitchen knife is certainly easier to obtain and can be just as lethal, though possibly more easily stopped.
    The thing is, making it easier to kill a person is the whole point of a gun. You can do it at a distance, you don't have to come within hammer swinging or knife slashing range in order to eliminate a person from your sphere of existence.

I've been reading some of Elizabeth Moon's books from the series Vatta's War. In these stories our heroine comes up against some very bad characters and occasionally finds herself in a serious fight wherein she kills the bad guy. The first time it happens she is surprised to find herself absolutely gleeful.
    This is the first time I can recall encountering such a description. I am used to finding all kinds of regretful introspections, or more likely, no mention of feelings at all. We see the same kind of dicotomy in news and entertainment. The news always focuses on how bad people feel when somebody gets killed or hurt. Nobody ever celebrates a death on the news. For some reason it isn't proper. Gunfights in entertainment more often focus on eliminating the bad guy and the joy and relief when he is finally done in.

Most people would agree that there are some people who should be killed. Yes, there are some died-in-the-wool pacifists who believe killing is wrong, but they are a distinct minority. Oh, there are a lot of people who will pay lip service to peaceful co-existence, but it you were to look into their hearts you would find their secret black list of people who should die. Most people would agree that killing someone who is trying to kill you is a perfectly reasonable course of action. Some people think child molesters should be killed. Some crazy Arabs think all the Jews should be killed. Some people think smokers should be shot. You poke around in people's hearts enough and you will find a black place.

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