Baseball has rules against corked bats, pine-tarred balls and drugged up athletes. Simply put, the idea is that these rules keep the game pure and provide neither side with an overt advantage in the duel between offense and defense. When a batter goes down on strikes, he can’t claim that he needs a corked bat to counteract the pitcher’s pine-tar aided screw-ball. Similarly, when a pitcher gets jacked for a three-run homer, he can’t lobby for the aid of pine-tar or some “foreign substance” to even the odds against the batters unnaturally sped up cork-filled bat. As fans and as a sport, we require equality of equipment. It’s common sense.
So after this past week’s most recent horrific shooting in Colorado, why have we still not come to the conclusion that we need to apply the same common sense to our gun laws? Look, I have no problem with licensed hunters owning guns with which they can shoot deer and other sport animals. The key word here is “licensed,” meaning at least subject to the same sort of procedure we require to operate a vehicle. There also needs to be some sort of sanity rule applied to what constitutes appropriate equipment.
Let’s face it, guns serve only one purpose and that’s to kill. You can argue that they also represent a deterrent in that their ability to kill can deter someone from doing something. But the fact of the matter is that even that ability to deter comes from a gun’s ability to kill. If you’re hunting, there’s a legitimate reason for you to kill. If you’re a law-enforcement officer, there’s a reason for you to carry a visible deterrent. But if you’re a 24-year old graduate student, what possible reason could you have for owning “a military-style semi-automatic rifle?”
This latest incident will bring out the usual hand-wringing from liberals and the usual ignorant denials from the NRA and other gun-rights groups but it’s unlikely that it will provoke any change in our nation’s gun laws. Eventually the furor will die away until the next time someone decides to shoot up a school or movie theater and we have the same pointless debate all over again.
Here’s an easy way for you as a baseball fan to look at it. How would you feel about Jose Bautista or Prince Fielder being able to use an aluminum bat in games? These are guys with a record of mashing long home runs with simple wooden bats and you have to figure it would be madness to give them aluminum bats, right? So why would you allow students, the mentally ill or even just normal everyday people like us access to infinitely more dangerous weapons?
Bats are useful things. Sure, they’re made for hitting baseballs but that’s a pretty narrow view. For instance, you can spin in circles around them and then try to run a race. It’s not all that efficient but it’s sure fun to watch.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSu1yfEeOF0]
Other uses? Well, my brother keeps one in his car just on the off chance he gets in a scrape while driving. You might think it’s silly but, well, this:[youtube http://youtu.be/5SHJE62FKM4]
So, let’s review. Bats: useful for hitting homeruns, also useful for hitting people. Just ask Jose Offerman.