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Volume 70, Issue 122, Tuesday, April 5, 2005


Guns are something for everyone

Sarah Morgan
Opinion columnist

In light of the recent shootings -- the church in Wisconsin, the school in Minnesota, the family of a federal judge in Chicago, the courthouses in Atlanta and Tyler -- I thought I would stray from the topics I generally address and turn to something that seems more important of late: guns.

They're a touchy subject in America, especially in Texas where we like our guns almost as much as we like our trucks and our barbecue. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I think the time has come for a modest proposal.

A recent New York Times article reported that many of those affected by these tragedies feel they have the answer to such shooting incidents -- more guns. 

Paul Bucher, the district attorney for Wisconsin's Waukesha County, told the Times, "We need to put more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Whether having that would have changed what happened is all speculation, but it would level the playing field. If the person you're fighting has a gun and all you have is your fists, you lose."

But I propose that Bucher's idea is only the tip of the iceberg.

We are on the right track. Since 2003, five states, most recently Ohio, have approved laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons. Alaska and Vermont already allow concealed weapons without a permit. But we can do so much more.

We should start out gradually. School principals should receive guns, perhaps an entire arsenal of varying calibers that can be handed off to teachers when all hell breaks loose. Now that Congress let the ban on assault weapons expire, a semiautomatic pistol with a silencer, or perhaps even a bayonet (all categorized as assault weapons) would be ideal for those school settings.

Education majors at UH should begin their gun training now, so that by the time they graduate, they are ready to take charge of any dangerous situation when they get that job at HISD. By 2015, every teacher should be equipped with a handgun.

In Texas and Illinois, there is a new proposal to allow judges and prosecutors to be armed, and in Texas, a bill proposed at the beginning of the year would allow district attorneys to carry weapons in court. But wouldn't it be better for all government employees to carry guns? Judges, clerks, and especially those cheerful postal workers should receive training and a .45. This would give a whole new meaning to "going postal."

Even better, the Times reported, "bills proposed in Arizona and Tennessee would allow guns in bars; one in Georgia would allow them in restaurants, after people complained it was dangerous to leave guns in their cars while they dined." The Tennessee Senate has already approved the bill on guns in bars, 29 to 3.

What's more American than guns and beer? Guns should be doled out to patrons as they enter a bar or restaurant. When a bartender notices a patron might be getting a little tipsy, they should be rewarded with a larger gun. This way, when a patron needs a refill or another round, they can shoot the waiter or bartender in the foot to get his attention. 

But since we want to make sure that only "law-abiding citizens" get their hands on shiny new weapons, minorities, those that make less than $30,000 a year and anyone with a past criminal record should probably be excluded from these measures. We don't want powerful weapons in the wrong hands.

We've already decided that airline pilots should be equipped with guns. But what about the stewardesses? They're the ones out there with the passengers. If an unruly passenger has one too many vodka and tonics, a gun in the face ought to quiet him right down. And those crying children that keep the rest of the passengers awake? Well there's nothing like a 12-gauge to lull a child into a very deep sleep.

This is why I propose that by 2050, every child in the United States of America be given a gun the day they learn to walk. There are already proposals in Texas and New Mexico that would lower the age requirement for carrying concealed handguns. Why not eliminate the age requirement all together? Of course, the gun manufacturers would have to create something light enough for a small child to carry. Diaper companies could manufacture diapers with little holsters attached to the sides, and Baby Gap could create stylish holsters with dancing ducks or tiny tulips embroidered into the leather.

After all, guns don't kill people -- people kill people. Clearly, the answer isn't to take a closer look at society. God forbid we question the American way of life. That can't possibly be the reason for so many senseless, violent crimes because we are the greatest nation in the world -- ever. Why don't we prove it by being the most heavily armed nation in the world? Wait -- we already are.

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