Friday, May 03, 2013

Things I Will Never Understand* About The Gun Culture

Those are many, but these two I truly don't understand:


City-sponsored gun buybacks are about to be a thing of the past in Arizona’s largest city.
On Monday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a bill into law that spares guns turned in during government-run buybacks from being destroyed. Instead, the law requires the guns to be sold to licensed gun dealers.
Now, a police official in Phoenix has told TPM that a series of buyback events scheduled to start Saturday will probably be the city’s last. Phoenix scheduled the buybacks following the December elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead. The last of the events, scheduled for May 18, will be held weeks before the ban goes into effect.
“Obviously a gun buyback event is an effort to reduce the amount of guns that are out in the community,” Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos told TPM. “And if we were to get involved in a gun buyback event and then resell those to an authorized dealer … [that] again might, you know, defeat the purpose.”
Martos said the police department still plans to have the guns destroyed, despite the spirit of the coming law. Guns that were stolen or are still needed for police investigations won’t be destroyed, he said.
You can't kill guns because "guns don't kill people, people kill people" (using the slogan of the NRA)? 


As Stephanie Sparks cleaned the kitchen, her 5-year-old son, Kristian, began playing with a rifle he was given last year. She stepped out onto the front porch, poured grease out of a frying pan for the dogs and “heard the gun go off,” a Kentucky coroner said.
Authorities said the boy had fatally shot his 2-year-old sister, Caroline, in the chest.
In rural southern Kentucky, far removed from the national debate over gun control, where some children get their first guns even before they start first grade, the accident stunned the community.
Kristian’s rifle was kept in a corner of the mobile home, and the family didn’t realize a bullet had been left in it, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said.
“Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation,” White said. “You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.”
What is more unusual than a child having a gun, he said, is “that a kid would get shot with it.”
In this case, the rifle was made by a company that sells guns specifically for children — “My first rifle” is the slogan — in colors ranging from plain brown to hot pink to royal blue to multi-color swirls.
That story is heart-breakingly awful.

But what both of these seem to demonstrate is the mythical role of guns in certain parts of the US.  Guns stand for something different than what they actually are, and that something different is so valuable that even dead children do not change those basic values.
*I use the verb "to understand" in a different sense here from intellectual understanding.  I don't have the background to emotionally feel the reasons for such rigid adherence to guns, and thus I cannot really "get" the gun culture.  I don't know whether fear streams through the gun proponents when they read about the need for background checks, I don't know what that fear is about and so I cannot really know what alternatives would work to reduce gun violence.