Mark Steel in The Independent
After yet another shooting in a school in America, surely the time has come when we have to listen to the arguments of ordinary Americans and issue every child over the age of six months with a gun.
The only way to keep kids safe is to make sure they’re heavily armed as soon as they’ve developed the ability to grip. Obviously this leaves smaller babies vulnerable, so they should be given voice-activated flame-throwers that scorch anyone within 20 yards whenever there’s a gurgle.
Then the teachers can get on with the job of teaching kids how to shoot things. When a college student goes wild with a Heckler and Koch 9mm pistol, instead of telling them off like we do at the moment, they can offer advice, and say, “Watkins, WHAT have I told you about lining up your target? You did very well to murder three boys in the doorway but you completely missed Mr Nolan the caretaker.”
This shooting in Florida was the eighteenth such event in an American school this year. Soon there will be so many they won’t be news; they’ll be read out like the football results each Saturday afternoon. The announcer will say: “Here are this week’s shooting sprees in schools: Kansas 3, Wyoming 1, Montana 2, Texas FOUR.”
Then, instead of moaning about these incidents, they can be incorporated into lessons. A maths teacher might say, “This morning there were 28 of us in the classroom. Now four of us are lying in a pool of blood. Express as a fraction the amount of us who have survived.”
The National Rifle Association and opponents of gun control used to be a bit sheepish after each shooting. They’d stay quiet for a week, then mumble a statement such as, “In the light of events, maybe we shouldn’t say anything until we know the facts, as it might be that the gunshot wounds weren’t caused by a gun.”
So it’s good to see they’ve got over that timid phase, and now they respond to a massacre by saying, “Yeeeehahhhh, did you see what that dude was using? Awesome.”
Then they emphasise that a critical clause in the original constitution of their country asserts the fundamental right of every citizen to carry a gun. That makes sense, as the founders of the nation ensured the common man should have the right to oppose the tyrant, and protected the right of the colony to defend themselves against a foreign dictator, by enshrining in law the power of the governed to resist unfair governance. And that’s exactly the same as protecting the right of a bloke who sits in an attic for eight months at a time playing computer games who thinks he’s been sent to earth by the Mighty Thor to buy a semi-automatic rifle so he can blast everyone in a shoe shop in Wyoming.
Americans’ insistence about their right to own guns is sometimes difficult for outsiders to comprehend. But it’s linked to their fundamentalist Christian beliefs, and we should respect that, because when Jesus was asked what he would do if someone slapped him on the right cheek, he said, “Load my A15 semi-automatic rifle and fire at random strangers in a shopping centre in Nazareth.”
Indeed if there is a cheery side to this latest slaughter, it’s the excellent publicity it’s provided for the AR15. Because it was not only used in this shooting, but in the Sutherland Springs school shooting in Texas, and for the one in Las Vegas. So the manufacturers will rush out an advert that goes: “Hi, I’m a lunatic who eats raw squirrels and lives in a bedsit with the Devil, and when I go crazy in a school playground I always take my AR15 – it’s guaranteed to slaughter like it oughta.” Then Charlton Heston can say: “AR15: the choice of nine out of 10 fruitbat gunmen across the United States.”
The main argument we’re used to hearing from gun-toting Americans is that each new massacre proves not how dangerous guns are but how dangerous it is to not have a gun. Because the best protection against a wild gunman is a gun.
And this is true. Similarly, not many people get killed by crazy people driving their tank through a school or a shopping centre. This might be because it’s quite tricky, even in America, to buy a tank. But there is a more sensible way of looking at this, which is that if someone were to go berserk with a tank, the rest of us would have no protection. So we should immediately make it legal to possess your own personal tank.
Within a couple of years, tanks would be as easy to buy as guns are now. You could get 2 for 1 during happy hour at Hank’s Tanks, and some days you’d get one free when you bought an Aero, and before long, millions of people would have tanks so no one would need worry about tanks.
So the only problem is how to make us as safe globally from the danger of guns as they are in America. The answer must be to give other countries more guns. Trump must start giving shiploads of them to Syria and North Korea, so we can all stop worrying.
And the National Rifle Association, along with the rest of the gun lobby, will all join Isis, as the Islamic caliphate is the nearest to a society where everyone has a gun.
Then at the current rate there will soon be thousands of shooting sprees a day, until there are only three people left alive in the whole of America, each pointing guns at the heads of the other two, unable to work or hold any food, so they live by nibbling berries and never falling asleep, and at last they’ll be safe.