Concealed & Crazy

As a college instructor who teaches  speech and media classes, I hear a lot of arguments formally advanced during persuasive speaking rounds. Recently, there’s been a repetition of one “hot button” issue, the controversial “conceal & carry” laws that are in effect in some states, but not all. The majority of speakers who sound off  on this gun control issue are in favor of conceal & carry laws. They’re entitled to their opinions, and the better speakers arm themselves with indispensable argumentative “ammo” known as credible research, typically statistics that seemingly indicate crime rates go down where citizens are allowed to pack heat. Well, statistics are always subject to close scrutiny, but if the source is credible (a study produced by an entity that has no financial or political conflict of interest on the issue) then points can be scored for “cherry picking” the data and putting a particular supporting “spin” on their interpretation. I, personally, however, can’t fathom how more guns equates with greater safety. Unless, of course, we have passed some disturbing point-of-no-return when it comes to the massive amount of firearms already on the streets, legal or illegal. Guns are meant  to inflict serious injury at the least, and fatal wounds at worst (or best, depending on the situation, I suppose). Sportsmen know this, and use their weapons accordingly. Why, however, a mature adult wants to put on camouflage, creep around wooded areas and cap a deer or duck is a matter for clinical psychiatry, I suppose. One could moralize on sport hunting, but conceal & carry laws are supposedly about safety and security. Okay. But still, how does an even greater proliferation of weapons meant to maim and kill make society safer and more secure? I can’t ignore the tortured logic that resides in such a calculus. The USA is rather gun crazy. I know I can find credible evidence that supports that assertion. But this is a blog, not an academic article demanding a bibliography. My instincts and my ability to flag news stories both local and national attest that we are already awash with weaponry of various calibers and heft. Gangs, guns, crime. Freelancers looking for a quick score. Reach for the sky! Put everything in the pouch and don’t move for 5 minutes… Right. Police? Well, they apparently are not large enough in number or competent enough to offset the badasses, otherwise why the call for conceal & carry? Okay, but what about the mindset of some folks? Hot-tempered. Brash. Impetuous. Impulsive. They’re out there. There’s likely one not too far away at any moment. Hell, you or I may be that very angry, frustrated, bitter, alienated soul. (Okay, not YOU, but that guy over there, looking a bit fidgety and snaked-eyed?). I prefer not to have to contemplate hidden heat on all comers. The odds are there’s going to be a showdown sooner than later, folks.  That’s in the abstract, though. When I said I flag the news stories that really give me pause, I refer to recent events such as the 30 year-old mother that gunned down her children and live-in boyfriend, then turned the gun on herself. Then, not a week or so later, on Christmas day, a Santa Claus- costume-clad member of a family shows up, pulls out his concealed gun and kills his family, then himself. VAriations like these unfortunately abound. The high-profile cases, such as Columbine, of course, or more recently Gabrielle Giffords shine a glaring light on what guns can do in the wrong hands of the wrong people at the very worst time. But this is the country  that, in spite of having John and Bobby Kennedy shot dead, along with M.L.King, Malcolm X and president Reagan wounded in 1981, still has a love affair with guns. Did I say love? Well, love is inherently irrational, is it not? So, let’s all lock and load, and carry our hearts on our sleeves, and our Glock 9s in a holster.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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