Opinion » Bill Cope

Stand Our Ground

Part One: Just how nutty are gun nuts?

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Thoughtful Idahoans cannot help but ask what those guys who strut their guns around the Capitol are trying to prove. Do they really have a line of reasoning to go with their little performance? Surely, the epicenter of our state governance can't be such a perilous place that they expect to be attacked as they sit looking down on the lawmakers from the gallery, shooter-uppers at the ready. Or might they be trying to show--with that hillbilly panache of theirs--that the best kind of public official is one who thinks he might be shot at any moment?

Seriously, what's their point? Beyond doing it just because they can, that is. Not only can they--as Republican lawmakers dare not try to prohibit such buffoonery at the risk of their own hillbilly cred--but the Statehouse during legislative season is the ideal venue for such a spectacle, isn't it? One can hardly walk through the rotunda without tripping over a television camera or a reporter looking for someone to interview, so might this be their true mission--to expose their big, stiff guns to anyone who'll look?

And listen, if that's the whole, simple truth of it, are they really so different from the sort of individual who can't be around a group of Boy Scouts or a bus station without showing off his genitals? Or the fellow who chooses a city park or a public library to do his masturbating? And wouldn't this, uh ... what shall we call it? ... irrepressible compulsion ... explain why they get so angry, so disturbed, so unbalanced at even the suggestion of anyone telling them to stop it?

And if that is the truth--and I feel confident it is--isn't the epithet "gun nut" a bit too kind, too generous, even too cute a description for what they really are?

Ah, but that's how we've come to know them--"gun nuts"--so we might as well stick with it. Were we to suddenly start calling them "gun pervs," maybe "gun sickos," it could confuse the undecideds. And isn't that what this struggle is about--to bring enough Americans to the thoughtful side of the argument to turn this travesty around?

Still, the question lingers: Just how nutty are gun nuts, anyway? Let us count the ways.

You probably know about those IQ-deprived unfortunates who are convinced that nefarious forces are plotting to take all their guns away, and who furthermore believe that if they can stock up on military-style weaponry, they could actually prevent such a hypothetical confiscation from happening, even though the hypothetical confiscators would inevitably have them out-manned, out-gunned and out-brained by about 40 zillion-to-one. Pretty damn nutty, wouldn't you say?

You've probably also heard about the creepsing rot who, under the cover of Internet anonymity, continue to harass and bedevil the survivors, the grieving families, of the Newton, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., mass shootings, accusing them of participating in a government hoax--which (if we follow their rickety logic) has presumably been hatched to exaggerate the undesirability of mass shootings. That's not only nutty, it's frightening to think people so vicious are living among us, yes?

But this item in particular caught my attention as an illustration of just how phenomenally nutty gun nuts have become: In 2012, careless target shooters started more than 20 wildfires in Utah. One fire alone covered almost nine square miles, caused thousands of homeowners to be evacuated and cost the state of Utah more than $2 million to fight.

Yet this winter, when a bill was introduced in the Utah Legislature that would allow state land managers to temporarily suspend or restrict target shooting in areas so dry there is an obvious danger of fires, the nuts raised such a stink the bill was taken out of consideration. That's how nutty gun nuts are. Not to mention stupid.

But then, of course, that's also how cowardly Utah's Republican-dominated Legislature is, for killing the bill rather than upset the stupid nuts. The story illustrates perfectly how the lesser fraction, the lowest percentile--or as I like to call them, "the brattiest, trashiest, lyingest, most ignorant/selfish/soulless/seeping sewage segment of the total American community"--force all the rest of us to live with their lunacy.

Thankfully, their reign of intimidation and dumbassness may be coming to an end. It is no longer just a lonely few who are speaking out against them. It is now a significant majority who have come to believe there must be some limits imposed on how much firepower should be allowed into the hands of people whose compelling interest in life seems to be how much firepower they can lay their hands on.

Yet even with a significant majority wanting such limits--demanding such limits, I should say--it will still take a Herculean effort to reverse the sickness the gun overlords and their lobbies have inflicted on our society.

Sadly, virtually every dispute in American politics can be reduced to the lowest common denominators of private wealth versus public resolve, and this issue is no different. More than 30,000 people are dying each year because the gun cartel has the money and power to keep it from being any other way. Only a greater public resolve can defeat them, and that resolve must be tenacious, unrelenting and multi-faceted. Next week, I will continue adding my steady drip to the tide which has turned against the gun-worshipping dunces and the industry that feeds off of them.

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