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?
On a team full of young guns, sometimes you wonder which one packs the most punch. David Price can mow ’em down and the rest of the Rays have been deadly efficient while playing in the toughest division in baseball. But if you have to pick one guy who completely embodies the firepower the Rays have shown, you’d have to go with Evan Longoria…..and his AK-47.
Ok, it’s actually no longer “his” AK-47 after its recent theft but still, there’s no denying that Longoria is packing. And lest the conspiracy theorists start ascribing nefarious meanings in hushed whispers, Longoria legally owned the weapon by all accounts. I guess the bigger question here is, why do Longoria and other sports stars feel the need to own weapons like this?
I get owning a hunting rifle. I own a hunting rifle. Growing up in Michigan, there’s a good reason for gun ownership, especially with the deer overpopulation problem. There’s a big difference, though, between owning a hunting rifle and purchasing a deer permit in Michigan than owning (and carrying) a handgun in New York or DC or keeping an assault rifle in your spring training house in Florida. I’m guessing it wasn’t there because he was planning on single-handedly eliminating the Florida python problem.
I’m not judging Longoria here. It’s quite possible he has a legitimate reason for owning an AK-47. I’m sure that the stress of playing up to a multi-million dollar contract wears on you and sometimes you just got to get your gun on to release a little bit of that tension. However, I am questioning his judgement. You’re in Florida. I’m sure there are half a dozen places within a short drive where you could go rent a gun, purchase some rounds and fire to your heart’s content. For instance, this place also offers air conditioning, a big plus in the Florida humidity, and I found it on the first page of my Google search.
Mr. Longoria, you’re a great baseball player with a wonderful future ahead of you. It would be nice to talk about that future instead of the theft of your assault rifle. So maybe let’s focus a little more on gunning down base runners than mowing down, uh, whatever it is you plan on mowing down with an AK-47. Ok?
The attempted (and partially successful) assassination in Arizona has once again brought the gun control debate to a boil. Both sides have trotted out their usual arguments for and against gun possession and, of course, both sides refuse to admit that their opponents have anything intelligent to say on the subject.
The bleeding hearts on the left want to make sure that no one kills Bambi, conveniently ignoring the fact that when Bambi mates, he produces a bunch of little Bambis whose subsequent population explosion wreaks havoc on farmers’ produce and speeding vehicles alike. Meanwhile, the gun-toting NRA folk are dead-set against giving up their right to assault rifles, extended magazines and dum-dum bullets.
Luckily, RSBS is here to explain things a little better and offer some rational solutions.
First of all, guns do kill. I just want to put that out there. In fact, this is why guns were invented. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that someone has to pull the trigger but the fact is that a gun’s sole purpose is meting out death. Anyone who says differently is willfully ignorant at best. It’s like saying that batting in baseball is defensive because really what you’re trying to do is prevent the ball from making it into the catcher’s mitt. No, you’re trying to put the ball in play by hitting it. When you buy a gun, although you may not have the intention of killing anything, its only power, even as a deterrent, is in the fact that you can kill if you want.
Second, some people should not be allowed to own guns. History of mental problems? You shouldn’t have a gun. Even the army won’t accept you? Probably shouldn’t have a gun. What is so hard about this concept? We don’t allow people with Alzheimer’s to drive cars. Why can that same person purchase a weapon? I’m just saying that maybe we should use a little common sense here and regulate firearms at least as carefully as we regulate motor vehicles.
Third, guns are fun. Have you ever shot a gun? It’s awesome, once you get past that first moment of insane fear. I grew up around guns and I grew up respecting them and learning how to use and care for them properly. Responsible gun ownership, like responsible car ownership or responsible use of alcohol, shouldn’t be open to debate. But if both sides don’t get together and start coming up with some responsible compromises, we’re going to continue with this mishmash of worthless gun laws that irresponsibly sit on the books today.
I’m a realist. I don’t actually hold out any hope that this senseless act of violence will force people to come to their senses. In fact, I have a feeling that after the first few moments of kumbaya, we’re going to see even more of the fingerpointing and polarization that created the climate where this act was possible. But hey, it’s 2011. We may not have flying cars, time machines or even a freakin’ hoverboard but at least we can hope for rational regulation.