I had heard the term “Rube Goldberg device” in the past but never really knew what it was until my children entered fourth grade. As a science project, they were to create a complex, convoluted process for performing a simple task such as cracking an egg or turning on a lightbulb. Chicagoans who have visited the Museum of Science & Industry have probably been enchanted by its own example of such a device, otherwise known as the Swiss Jolly Ball machine.
The tortuous suggestions I have been reading about for stemming gun violence in public places remind me of these delightful yet impractical devices, named for a Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist who depicted complex machines performing simple functions.
The gist of these suggestions is this: Arm more “good guys,” and you will prevent these shootings. Recommendations such as having teachers armed or hiring Vets as armed security are making the rounds on the internet as an answer to the upswing in school shootings. This just strikes me as insane.
There is no evidence that having guns around will prevent the next massacre and plenty of evidence that it’s a bad idea. For instance, President Reagan was surrounded by highly trained and armed Secret Service officers when he was shot by John Hinckley. Not one of those officers fired his weapon. Furthermore, experienced members of both the police and the military say that armed civilians getting involved in an active shooter situation would do more harm than good.
This is the insanity of the pro-gun faction in this country. Just keep throwing more guns into the mix. All the while the simple solution – to disarm the nation – is scoffed at as unreasonable and unrealistic.
The other illogical trope that I keep seeing is one that compares blaming guns for killing with blaming a spoon for making someone fat. Yet possession of a gun does make violence more likely. As former Navy SEAL Stephen Benson recalls, during basic training his instructor told them, ‘Gentlemen, the first and most important thing you’ve done by putting on that weapon is you’ve increased your chances of being in a gunfight by 100 percent.’(thenation.com, Oct. 5, 2015)
Another ridiculous argument is that other objects, such as knives, are used to kill; therefore, should we ban all knives? The fallacy here is that guns are made for nothing but injuring and killing. No one says, “I need a gun in case I lock myself out of the house and have to shoot the lock open,” or “Just a minute while I use my gun to chop up this cucumber.”
I would like to see one thoughtful, intelligent justification for having a gun. Yeah, I didn’t think so.