Lots of people buy lots of guns in the United States every day - that's a fact. Even people who should not have guns, such as those who are mentally incompetent or have a history of criminal actions, buy guns. Spouse abusers buy guns, chronic drunks buy guns, psychopaths buy guns. The U.S. is, in fact, the easiest industrialized nation on earth in which to acquire a gun. The gun industry, much like its big brother, the arms industry, makes money by arming both sides - the bad guys and the good guys - them and us. It is a never-ending spiral of stupidity guaranteed to eventually end in disaster.
Surprisingly however, it looks as though the gun market in America is finally beginning to get saturated. Sales are slowly dropping off, and that has those good patriots who constantly whip up paranoia to sell more guns to the country's boobs and rubes worried. To sell more guns requires the expansion of markets, and the gun companies have begun doing what the cigarette companies did to combat similar dips in sales: they are beginning to target children. (Pun intended.)
The gun industry's propaganda arm, the National Rifle Association, has, according to an article in yesterday's New York Times, begun rewriting classic fairy tales to show how much safer children would be from witches and wolves and such if they (the kids) were armed. They have apparently published new versions of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood in which the kids and even Grandma are packing heat. The new versions don't address the fact that in loosely regulated societies like ours the villainous witches and wolves could also get their hands and paws on guns without any difficulty at all.
Of course, both sides being fully armed is the gun industry's wet dream.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a group supporting sensible controls on the easy availability of firearms, reports that last year there were 278 unintentional shootings by children in the United States. Filling the heads of kids with firearm fantasies such as those being cranked out by the NRA can only serve to increase the number of unintentional, and often fatal, child shootings. Much like the original stories by the Brothers Grimm, these stories will necessarily end badly.
Tomorrow in this space I will look back at one of the many horrible school shootings which have plagued our country over the past couple of decades - a shooting where one of the young shooters in particular had been tragically immersed in a local and family culture which glamorized the use of firearms.
Wayne LaPierre, how do you sleep at night?