Wissot: Buy an AR-15 and join the Criminally Insane Men’s Club
Since 1999, Colorado has had more mass shootings per capita than all but four states, according to an analysis by The Denver Post. Sadly, we can’t send our kids to school, or go to a movie theater, or shop at a grocery store, without worrying that we are risking their or our lives.
The battle lines have been drawn for some time now between the overwhelming majority of us who want to feel safe as we go about our daily business in public and a tiny fraction of the population, mostly mentally disturbed young men, who we pray we don’t meet at the wrong time on the wrong day in the wrong place.
If we don’t gain the upper hand in this existential struggle between life and death, we might as well become resigned to permanently flying our flags at half mast.
I simply cannot fathom why any man in his right mind would want to buy an AR-15 after it has been so closely associated with atrocities committed by the criminally insane. We know these sniveling cowards chose to kill complete strangers who never did a thing in their lives to harm them because they are demonstrably crazy. Their motives are irrelevant.
Do you think the 10 unfortunate souls who lost their lives last week at the King Soopers in Boulder cared that they were being killed by a mass murderer because he was bullied, or because he hated America, or because he lost his job, or because he broke up with his girlfriend?
Insanity doesn’t require an explanation because you can’t make sense of a senseless act.
Flashing an AR-15 strapped to your shoulder here in Colorado, after all the suffering it has come to symbolize over the past 20 years for both the victims and survivors of gun violence, would have been like proudly flaunting a swastika in the faces of Holocaust survivors on the streets of Germany after World War II.
Why, pray tell, do any of us who are not insane wish to own and use a weapon that has brought so much misery and pain to so many people? I know why people snort cocaine, having done so myself: They crave a surreal, out of body experience. Does firing an AR-15 (AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, not assault rifle) produce a similar effect? Does it make you feel invincible and indestructible the way cocaine can? I can speak from experience about drugs. I can’t about guns.
I don’t own a gun. Never have. Don’t plan to. But I understand that we are a gun culture and guns are an important part of life for many Americans who want them for protection or hunting or target shooting or just because they like to collect guns like other people like to collect cars.
I have a good friend, Dan, in Montana who is an avid hunter, as proven by the number of deer and elk trophies mounted on the walls of his cabin home. I’m glad he derives so much pleasure from hunting game. My brother-in- law, Rich, lives in Cedar Hill, Texas, and uses a rifle to shoot rattlesnakes who wander onto his back deck. I think having a rifle to shoot rattlesnakes makes perfect sense.
I know Dan would never use a semi-automatic weapon to hunt deer. It would remove the element of skill from hunting. I know Rich wouldn’t use one in killing rattlesnakes.
His goal is to kill not mutilate the snake. Neither would they own one for protection from home intruders. A conventional firearm would be more dependable in shooting someone who doesn’t belong there.
A hunter and combat veteran put in perspective what the one and only legitimate purpose for having an AR-15 is: “I served in the military and the M16A2/M4 was the weapon I used for 20 years. It is first and foremost an assault weapon platform, no matter what the spin. A hunter does not need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt, if he does he sucks, and should go play video games. I see more men running around the bush all cammo’d up with assault vests and face paint with tricked out AR’s. These are not hunters but wannabe warriors.”
Taking that combat veteran’s words to heart, let me make a small suggestion to AR-15 hunters who resent being ridiculed as “wannabe warriors.” Go full throttle and opt for a truly authentic assault rifle experience. March down to your nearest U.S. Army recruitment center and tell the enlistment officer that you would like to sign up to kill America’s enemies. Then trade in your AR-15 for the M-16 military version of it, and ask to be quickly deployed to a war zone.
That is where your desire can rendezvous with its intended destiny. Firing your M-16 at someone who is firing his Kalashnikov back at you is why these weapons were invented.
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.