The Suicide Iron, revisited.

Once upon a time, I had a roommate named “Keanu.” Long story short:

1. Keanu took certain medications for his emotional and behavioral problems.
2. The lease forbade firearms.
3. He kept a handgun under his mattress anyways.

Items 1 and 3 became especially inconvenient when his girlfriend dumped him and… well, click here for the longer version of that story.

Anyhow, over the course of that day, from the moment Keanu walked into Loopy’s house in suicidal tears until the moment I laid my head down to rest in a town far away from all the lunacy, at no point did any of the following thoughts cross my mind:

“Gosh, I hope Keanu’s handgun has fewer than 10 bullets in it.”

“Will that gun accept a barrel shroud or a second grip?”

“They should stop manufacturing semiautomatic rifles in this country.”

I did not think those thunks because they would not have made a dime’s worth of difference. Now, here are some of the thoughts that did cross my mind:

“How did somebody on that much medication get a conceal-and-carry permit?”

“How could his folks, in good conscience, give him a gun knowing his mental state?”

And the thought that nagged at me the most:

“Why didn’t I tell Keanu to get rid of the gun, or tell the landlord about the gun?”

Senator Feinstein recently proposed a bill aimed at “stopping the spread of deadly assault weapons.” I think that’s a wastefully imprecise goal. Here’s a summary of Senator Feinstein’s bill. Set aside for a moment whether it passes constitutional muster. How much of her proposal actually deals with keeping guns away from people who shouldn’t have them, considering there are already hundreds of millions of guns in the country?

There may have been laws against Keanu’s ownership of the gun, and he definitely violated the lease by keeping it gun in the apartment– and yet, he still had the gun. Maybe we need more laws, maybe we need different laws, maybe we have the right laws already but they need to be enforced better. But regardless of the law, our society needs to work harder at keeping guns away from the people who, given their mental or emotional state, shouldn’t have them. That may mean having some difficult discussions with our families and friends, and it may mean using some tough love– but such action might’ve saved me and my friends some gun-related anxiety all those years ago, and it might’ve prevented some of those mass shootings. Lord knows the laws didn’t.

By the way, all persons involved in the events of “The Suicide Iron” are still alive and are presumably happy and sane.

5 comments

  1. I agree with what you’ve got to say! Very insightful. An analogy for gun control could be marijuana, although it was illegal in most states many many people still got their hands on it.

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  2. LOL. An analogy for gun control CANNOT be marijuana. Marijuana is victimless. You smoke it, you get happy, and sleepy, and hungry, and you go to bed. The legality and decriminalization of it will actually make it a victimless “crime” or action once cartels are less active in its growth and distribution. But having marijuana in your possession does not make you a danger to society. Having a gun in your possession possibly could.

    Back to actual gun control, I see nothing wrong with increased regulation, laws, and enforcement of preexisting and new laws. The worst thing that will happen is law-abiding citizens will have to scale back their existing gun collection. The law-abiding citizens who hoard firearms and amo are, frankly, probably not law abiding citizens with stable mentalities who should be able to own said weapons.

    This mentality of not wanting to concede small individual freedoms because of a belief that regulation, enforcement, and overall increased gun control will be ineffective at stopping the problem, or that it’s some grand government conspiracy to weaken us, is silly and selfish. Any action that we can take to decrease the chances of another massacre, of children or of any other American, should be taken. Just because it’s difficult, or may take trial-and-error, doesn’t mean we should have a defeatist and apathetic attitude toward it.

    The regulations you pointed out are not designed to stop individuals from killing themselves or a single target, I’ll concede that. But they are designed to make massacres like the one in Colorado and the one at Sandy Hook less realistic to pull off. They’re designed to slow down the killer. Creating a law which would effectively address suicide/targeted homicide would have to actually repeal the second amendment; which is in reality impossible and generally unwanted.

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  3. 1. “LOL.” As far as I can tell, nobody has used “LOL” on this website since October 2005. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    2. “An analogy for gun control CANNOT be marijuana. Marijuana is victimless. You smoke it, you get happy, and sleepy, and hungry, and you go to bed.” Person’s analogy involved availability despite illegality, not danger. It’s a valid analogy.

    3. “But having marijuana in your possession does not make you a danger to society. Having a gun in your possession possibly could.” Having a gun “possibly could” make you a danger, but having marijuana “does not”? Why not “possibly could” for both? Or do you believe that no violent crime is committed under the influence of marijuana? You have to acknowledge that marijuana makes some people more violent, otherwise some prohibitionist is going to make you look awfully silly next time you’re in a talk show debate.

    4. “The law-abiding citizens who hoard firearms and amo are, frankly, probably not law abiding citizens with stable mentalities who should be able to own said weapons.” Please clarify, are you claiming that most people who hoard (forget what consitutes “hoarding”– we’ll just go with it) firearms and ammo are probably not mentally stable? Would you also claim that people who hoard firearms and ammo are more likely to commit violent crimes, or that they are responsible for a disproportionately large amount of violence? And if it turned out that hoarders are more stable than non-hoarders and/or that the average hoarder is responsible for less violence than the average non-hoarder, would your position on the issue change?

    4a. Better yet, if it turned out that marijuana users were responsible for a disproportionately large amount of violence, would you favor keeping the current anti-marijuana laws in place, or perhaps even cracking down harder on marijuana possession and use?

    5. “Any action that we can take to decrease the chances of another massacre, of children or of any other American, should be taken.” Any action, or any action within reason, i.e., one that considers and weighs the cost of the action? I’m willing to listen if you’ll consider and weigh the costs of various gun control measures.

    6. “Help me proofread my paper now, and I’ll give you a doughnut during pre-planning. And by pre-planning I mean at my ten-year reunion.” I see.

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