Point and Click

I recently purchased an iPad Mini, and put some e-reading apps on it. With 1-click purchasing enabled on Amazon, I’ve found that it’s really easy to make an accidental, unintended purchase. Accidentally touch “Buy Now with 1-click” instead of “Add to Wish List” or “Send Sample Now,” and you’re either stuck with something you might not actually want, or you have to go through the cumbersome refund process.

It’s true that I could still make that purchase if there were more obstacles in my way, but it’d be considerably more difficult to make it without putting some serious thought into it, or doing it accidentally.

But whenever gun violence erupts like it did yesterday (and too many other times this year) and sensible people talk about gun control, about putting the “well-regulated” back into our conversation about the 2nd Amendment, we hear the same chorus of responses to the notion: “why not ban cars or forks or some other ridiculous thing? You could kill people with those too! If a person is determined to kill people, they’re going to find a way!”

So, apparently, we should make it as easy for them as possible?

Look, it’s true. If someone is determined to commit murder, they will find a way. But guns, especially assault rifles or automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines, are one-click killing. The ease with which they cause death make it ridiculously easy to kill accidentally, to kill in large quantities, to kill without putting a lot of thought into it.

You’re not going to kill someone with a fork or a pencil or something ridiculous like that without putting a good deal of thought and effort into it, and you’re certainly not going to be able to kill ten or twenty people that way in half an hour. You want to kill 20 people with a knife? You become a serial killer and do it over the span of years. You don’t get to saunter into a school or temple or movie theater and do it indiscriminately and quickly.

Even with a car, it’s hard to cause a lot of death as quickly and easily as it is with a gun. You can’t conceal a car. You can’t bring a car into a building. When a car is coming for you, there’s some warning.

The car is not the preferred weapon of people trying to commit mass murder. That’s not a coincidence, it’s by design.

It’s true that people who want to commit mass murder will find a way. But when you buy lots of fertilizer, you end up on watch lists. When you buy lots of cold medicine, your license is flagged. There’s a reinforced door between you and the pilot of an airplane. When people want to kill in those ways, we recognize the need to put obstacles in the way, to make people have to carefully plan their murderous activities over longer spans of time, to alert authorities to potentially dangerous activities.

Why on Earth does that reasonable impulse disappear when the topic is guns?

One Response to Point and Click

  1. Pingback: Turn it Around « Dubito Ergo Sum

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