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Gun sales rise along with ignorance

By Cory Spiller

Tuesday October 2, 2001

Headline Photo

Cory Spiller

A local phenomena reinforces an unfortunate characteristic of the American psyche. Americans are bloodthirsty, trigger-happy children who don't know how to express their anger.

Although the country moves into recession, although consumer sentiment strives for an all-time low, and although most Americans understand the immature nature of revenge, Tucson gun dealers are experiencing a skyrocket in arms and ammunition sales. First-time buyers drool over cases full of handguns like children staring at candy bars and jawbreakers. And possibly even more disturbing, Tucsonans are queuing up at shooting ranges, waiting for their chance to take a few shots at Osama bin Laden targets like teenagers at the county fair. There are no stuffed animals to win - only fear and death. But this time, it will be our fault.

This is not a healthy way to express anger, and it will harm our community. Fear is the reason people think they need a gun to feel safe. It always has been and, now more than ever, people are looking to guns to help them through sleepless nights. Hey, I'm all for people sleeping well, but a gun under your pillow only puts you, your family and the rest of the community in danger.

Please do not be blinded by the anger and fear you feel. Handguns were dangerous before the attack at the World Trade Center and they always will be. I guarantee you the chances of your home being hit by a terrorist attack are infinitely lower than the chance that your son, daughter, drunken neighbor or idiotic nephew will accidentally kill him or herself with that weapon.

This argument says nothing to the futility of buying a weapon right now. Take a lesson from the terrorists - war has changed. Ultimately, the terrorists took the lives of our fellow Americans with box cutters, not a shiny .45. And what, exactly, do you think you will do with this new weapon? Are you planning on standing guard on top of one of Tucson's three skyscrapers unloading your new toy at any plane that appears to veer in your direction? Do you think al Qaeda paratroopers will swoop down on the Tucson area? Do you think bin Laden and his commando nomads will charge down from the mountains on camels? Do you honestly think your new weapon will have any use whatsoever? I don't.

I think accidental shootings will increase. I think more guns will find themselves on our streets. I think we are put in danger by our na•ve and immature neighbors.

Some people in Tucson get a kick out of shooting at pictures of bin Laden. They set their sights on his forehead and cheer when they hit him between the eyes. I understand that people need, somehow, to release their aggression. I understand that we all want to be heroes. I understand that people subconsciously are murderous animals. I understand - I just don't approve.

When you point your gun at that bin Laden target, you aren't just shooting at the man presumed, suspected, alleged to have masterminded the events on Sept. 11. You are shooting at a man in a turban. You are fantasizing about murdering a man of dark skin, with a beard - a man that looks to us quintessentially Muslim. Does anyone else see where this is going?

Two weeks ago, a man in Mesa screaming patriotic rhetoric murdered a Muslim convenience store worker. The "patriot" is not a hero - he's a monster. And when residents of Tucson march down to shooting ranges with their new guns, they are monsters in training.

Don't buy a new gun. Buy a bat. Take that bat down to the batting cage and hit some balls. Lay that bat next to you in bed if it makes you feel better. And as you fall asleep, sleep soundly knowing that while you are at work your kid isn't showing off the new family weapon to his cowboy-wannabe buddy.

Dealing with our national tragedy is confusing. We don't know whom to blame, and we don't know how to help. Fear runs rampant in our nation, and it has arrived in Tucson in the form of increased gun sales. Don't be confused - guns won't make you safer. They will only bring more death.


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