Guns Are Not Spoons

Stop denying reality: guns do kill people.


THE GUN DEBATE raging now in our community tests the vitality of the oft quoted NRA slogan “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” It is true that people kill people. And it is equally true that the manner in which our society approaches mental health issues, especially among our nation’s youth, needs serious rethinking. But is a terrible oversimplification to claim that guns do not kill people.  

In fact, guns do kill people. And as is apparent in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, certain types of guns – semi-automatic assault weapons in particular – are capable of killing a lot of people in a very short amount of time. Keeping that in mind, it is easy to imagine that a person who enters an elementary school brandishing a knife will be capable of killing far less children than someone in the same position who wields a semi-automatic assault rifle.

We know the consequences of our current gun regulations: the stark number of gun-related deaths in our country is proof alone that change is needed. But we will never make any measureable gains toward the comprehensive gun reform we so badly need unless gun ownership advocates acknowledge this reality: guns are not the solution to our gun problem; they in fact consume the lion's share of the problem.

Gun right’s advocates, however, want to curtail the public gun debate in a manner that avoids accepting any responsibility for the role guns actually play in (not surprisingly) gun violence. For example, one picture posted in several social media outlets and which is surfing its way across the internet makes this bogus analogy: “If guns kill people then pencils misspell words, cars make people drive drunk, and spoons made Rosie O’Donnell fat.”

This is a clear example of an attempt to skirt responsibility for the role guns play in gun violence with a misleading use of imagery. The comparison attempts to place the relationship guns play in gun-related deaths on equal footing with the relationship between spoons and obesity. But this attempt is not forthcoming: this type of red herring denies the reality of the situation, it tries to conceal the horror that guns inflict on our community.

That is not to say that drunk driving is not a legitimate concern. It is. And that is not to say that obesity is not a legitimate concern. It is. But just because discussions are unfolding about these issues simultaneously with our gun control debate is no reason to turn a blind eye to the thousands of preventable gun-related deaths that affect our friends, neighbors, and family members each year. 

Instead of imagining utensils when thinking about the current unfolding gun debate, the images that must come to mind are the ones that actually happen; we cannot deny ourselves the reality of gun violence.

That is, we must remember the little eight-year-old girl who walks to school one winter morning thinking only about innocent things as the day’s show-and-tell, only to soon be huddled beneath her desk not completely understanding why, but knowing this: she is deeply afraid and she wants her mom. We must remember the terror racing through her mind as she meets her premature death at the hand of an automatic assault weapon. And we cannot forget the parents who will later come to claim her lifeless body; the parents who will come to take her home.


Trent Latta is an attorney and he can be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe M January 17, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Russ was talking about gun owners who don't take responsibility. Your example talked about one who did take responsibility. I can't fault Russ for not bothering to respond. Nice straw man.
Harborite January 17, 2013 at 02:54 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H8krAcwGnvQ#! what happens if you have a tank :o)
John L Peterson January 17, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Michelle---Most of the handguns sold on the current market are in fact semiautomatics. The revolver type handgun seems to be falling out of favor for the last couple of decades. There are other types of handguns that do not fall into either of the above categories, the derringer being just one of them. If you purchased your weapon recently, it probably is a semiautomatic, but revolvers still do have a place in the handgun market.
Beytier Von Hugh January 20, 2013 at 04:53 PM
If we follow the NRA logic, then nuclear weapons don't kill people either. And so we should stop trying to prevent other countries like Iran and N. Korea from getting them. It's a bit hypocritical to say we shouldn't control guns, but we should control nuclear weapons. If neither kill people, then neither should be controlled. Heck, we should let US citizens have nuclear weapons then.
Joe M January 20, 2013 at 05:18 PM
I strongly disagree with your premise. I have been unable to find the "NRA logic" you refer to, much less follow it. The site "nra.org" appears to be a logic-free zone.
AnaLise Maurins January 20, 2013 at 06:50 PM
If a psycho wants to kill someone they will. I can assure you that death by pencil is highly uncommon but can happen given the right strength and knowledge of human anatomy. And if the victim doesnt die from the injury then they will come close to death with infection. Spoons can kill as well.. even though Ive mainly heard them used for torture (ie: gouging peoples eyes etc) I know these situations are far-fetched.. but my point is that if someone wants to harm someone they will, even if they dont have a gun. Just recently a 12 year old girl in Oklahoma used the family gun to shoot an intruder in her home. The constitution will not change. And people will kill people whether they have a gun or not. This law will only increase criminal rates, because the black market for guns will increase.
Richard Schurman January 20, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Glad I could help better define your pathology that you liberals seem to be doing on your own. When liberals stop distorting and distracting to make their irrational and illogical contradictory positions then perhaps some of us who do have an IQ higher than 100 will stop having to nursemaid you liberal cretins on logic, morality and truth. You cannot intelligently discuss so you resort to 'straw man' arguments. Keep fighting the good fight tho as it is only through experience and knowledge that wisdom manifests itself.
Richard Schurman January 20, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Yes, tell the truth LATTA clan. Seems you brought a relative into the mix to blosteer the disingenuous and inaccurate article. Typical for media hacks. Can't argue facts so bring in the emotions. The fact is that the insane killed in CT used two pistols - neither of which would be affected by your so-called 'assault weapons' ban - but of course since Mr. Latta has no journalistic integrity to simply check facts. Stick to practicing the law Mr. Latta. You are unable to qualify as a 'journalist.' And Pauline -YOU offered to shut up so why don't you. You have not made one comment here based on facts. Every comment was based on emotions or distortions of fact. Please see a psychioatrist at your earliest convenience as all of you liberals who think more legislation will stop a criminal are simply delusionally insane and you scare me because that is the mental state of these crazies that commit these mass shootings - delusionally insane - Thank God yoy do not own a gun. ROFL
Michael Laumbugh January 21, 2013 at 10:22 PM
By all accounts, the shot that critically injured 8 year-old Amina Kocer-Bowman occurred when the gun her 9 year-old classmate had taken went off after he dropped the pack. No hands were on the firearm at the time. So, was it the *backpack* that shot the girl? Would she still have been critically injured that day and time if the gun had not been stashed in the pack? I'm sure the father if the boy who acquired his gun consistently described himself as a "responsible gun owner" who "taught his child" to stay away from his guns. When firearms advocates try to obfuscate the truth that the accurate statement is "guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people" and or try to redefine a weapon as a "tool" or try and twist the purpose of said weapon by denying that it is designed, manufactured and sold with the explicit intent of doing harm to another organism, they are showing how they know that their rhetoric doesn't hold up to reality. Just as the fact that they cannot own rocket launchers and hand grenades means that there are already reasonable and rational restrictions on "the right to bear arms"; the Constitution does not specify "firearms". Instead, they continue to regurgitate the propaganda of Guns and Ammo Salesman of the Year, Wayne LaPierre. Every death and injury by a firearm is reflected in the profit column of firearms and ammunition manufacturers.
christina January 22, 2013 at 01:17 AM
I couldn't agree more! I got to know all my airsoft gun safety at airsplat.com/airsoft-safety.htm
Ronald Long January 22, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Your last paragraph actually makes sense (yes, I'm ignoring your reducto ad absurdum in the first two). But I think that there is a deeper discussion that we never get to. Why the "obsession" with the right to own guns? What is the deeper meaning? To me, it's a concrete way of expressing the belief that you embrace the right to resort to violence as the ultimate "solution" to conflict. I often think that that attitude, and the fact that, in doing so, there is no need to look deeper for non-violent solutions to society's ills, does more harm to us than the actual physical violence that is carried out with those guns.
Jason F. January 23, 2013 at 01:44 PM
No offense Trent, but you don't look like the type of guy that ever served in the military or had a dad that taught you proper gun etiquette. It's ok, I don't hold it against you. But you must realize that you lack valuable experience to have any sort of opinion on this topic. It's just that you are so out of touch with reality on this subject it just makes me chuckle. You know nothing about guns or any other inanimate object for that matter. It's actually physics, remember the whole objects at rest stay at rest...ect? A rifle sitting on the table will just sit there. It will not get up and start murdering your family. If undisturbed, the rifle will sit there forever without hurting or killing anybody. Just like a spoon would.
Jason F. January 23, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Amina was shot by her classmate. Her classmate made the weapon discharge. To suggest that the weapon did it all by itself is to question the motives of a hunk of metal. Maybe lay off the peyote?
Jason F. January 23, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Nuclear bombs don't kill people by themselves. It requires a human action. We shouldn't let countries like Iran or North Korea gain this capability because we don't trust the humans behind the bombs. It has nothing to do with bombs or guns...Root Cause will tell you this is a human interaction problem.
Michael Laumbugh January 23, 2013 at 02:31 PM
J-Rod, the bullet that struck Amina was discharged by the handgun when no hands were on it. Trying to claim that an inanimate object requires "motive" in order to do harm is nothing but reductio ad absurdum in order to propagate your myth. Does snow need a "motive" when killing people in an avalanche? Did the tsunamis that struck the coasts along the Indian Ocean and Japan require "motive" in order to cause death and destruction? How many people are killed by "hunks of metal" during earthquakes? How gloriously idiotic to make the case that inanimate matter cannot kill. And compounded with the drug-use comment, you just perfectly illustrated how firearms advocates must rely on dishonesty, absurd exaggerations and unfounded accusations to obfuscate the truth.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I don't know what color the sky is on the planet of Trent's birth, but here on earth, guns do NOT kill people. I have never once see a gun all on its own load itself, aim itself at someone and then discharge a round. Maybe our government has developed an autonomous killing robot or drone, but that is not what the gun debate is about. So Trent, here on earth, people kill people, guns don't. All this emotional hysteria about the Sandy Hook killing is prima facia proof that some people are not intellectually equipped to vote. We don't let children vote because the assumption is that those under 18 years of age do not posses the intelligence to make decisions based upon truth reason and facts. The erroneous corollary is that everyone 18 or older does posses the intelligence necessary to vote wisely. Also, the second amendment says that the right to bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. If those who think guns are bad had any decency, rather than try to violate the law of the land (US constitution) with unconstitutional weapons bans etc. they would work to amend the US constitution rather than work to violate it. Have you no sense of civil decency? Lastly, President Obama has murdered many more innocent children then were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Where is the indignation over the NDAA, the Patriot (sic) Act and the drone murders? Oh hypocrisy runs deep in the minds of those who worship BIG government.
Joe M January 24, 2013 at 07:23 PM
You're right, guns don't kill people, except in rare instances. But have you ever seen a death certificate that said: Cause of Death: Person. If you are going to make a meaningful contribution to a gun debate, you need to learn something about firearms: Bullets kill people.
Edward A. January 24, 2013 at 07:34 PM
So people who believe it is reasonable to have some gun-control laws are of inferior intelligence? You probably don't do very well in arguments using "reasoning" like that, do you? :)
Joe M January 24, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Take it easy on Mark. He's apparently just learned that guns don't aim themselves. I'm trying to teach him about bullets. Next I want to break it to him that people who get emotional when children are slaughtered are the normal, well-adjusted ones. He shows some signs of understanding reason - we just need to go slowly.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Joe M: I don't make it a habit of reading death certificates but in doing but a cursory internet search I did see that a common cause of death listed on death certificates as "homicide. Joe, homicide is when a P E R S O N kills another person. I have never heard of a death certificate that lists the cause of death as "firearmicide." however.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Edward A: I was being kind. The O N L Y other alternative is that they are wicked, evil, rotten, uncaring, hate-filled miscreants. I would rather assign their wrong actions to something outside of their control like low IQ than to assume they are pieces of garbage who care not how many innocent people will be assaulted and murdered and be unable to defend themselves. There is another name for "GUN-FREE" zones and that is killing zones. If guns are bad, why do police have them? If guns are bad, why do soldiers have them? If guns are bad, why are there armed members of the Secret Service surrounding BO and stationed in the school where his daughters attend? Oh the hypocrisy of the anti-gun crowd knows no limits. That is why the gun grabbers have zero credibility. Again, to all those who want to control access to firearms, stop with the efforts to break the law by violating the US constitution and work to amend the constitution. While you are at it, work to abolish the entire Bill of Rights.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Joe M: Where is the emotion about all of the children President Obama has murdered with his illegal drone attacks? Sure it is a tragedy when anyone gets shot. Actually is is more of a tragedy when adults get killed since society has a lot more invested in them and their education etc. I don't discriminate on the basis of age. Oh the hypocrisy of the gun-grabbers.
Joe M January 24, 2013 at 08:14 PM
No, you won't see firearmicide because coroners don't get to make up words. They list the cause of death as "gunshot wound". I'd like to also correct one of your other misunderstandings about firearms. They do indeed load themselves. If you were right, we'd only have one victim at Sandy Hook, because nothing would have happened the second time the killer pulled the trigger. If you do own a gun, please take a class before you hurt yourself.
Joe M January 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I agree that the drone attacks are not only immoral, but illegal. The UN is finally investigating. Of course no meaningful change is likely to come of that. Presidents rarely suffer for their illegal or immoral acts.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Joe: It is time for you to either put-up or shut up. I challenge you to meet me at any regularly established shooting range in the King or Pierce County area and I'll bring along a pistol, a revolver, a bolt action rifle and an semiautomatic rifle as well as ammunition for each. We will set all onto a table and see if any can load themselves without any intervention by a human being. We will give each of the firearms sixty seconds to load themselves. If any of them do, I'll give you ten $100 bills. If none of them are able to load themselves without human intervention, you hand me ten $100 bills. If you choose to decline my offer, that is proof that you know absolutely nothing about firearms and should refrain from commenting on them forever more. Well, what's it going to be? How sure are you of your preposterous goofy claims?
Joe M January 24, 2013 at 08:44 PM
If shutting up is the only way to stay far away from you and your guns, I will be happy to do so. But I do stand by every one of my claims. You are welcome to have the last word. Don't hurt yourself.
Trent Latta January 24, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Mark, You’re incredibly oversimplifying the issue. My original post was not to make the point that only guns kill people; I fully acknowledge that people have a major role to play in gun violence. And reform is desperately needed to our mental health system. But your abject refusal to admit that guns play any role whatsoever in gun-related deaths and gun-violence is a prime example of the exact reason why our society cannot have an engaging, adult conversation about this issue. This kind of ear-plugging, nah-nah-nah stubbornness in the wake of a sea change of public attitude toward guns hurts, and does not help, the situation. Trent
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Joe: If you had even so much as a scintilla of firearm knowledge, you would understand the difference between a gun being loaded and one with a live cartridge chambered. But a lack of knowledge or understanding never stopped ignorant gun grabbers from shooting off their big mouths. Thanks for agreeing to never commenting publicly about gun issues again.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Trent: We could eliminate all crime by exterminating every human being. Is that something you would support? Do people misuse automobiles and kill people? Yes? Why don't you call for eliminating cars? More people get murdered by blunt objects than semiautomatic rifles. Why don't you call of the elimination of golf clubs, baseball bats and all other blunt objects that could be used to crush a skull? I do understand that a tiny, miniscule percentage of firearms are used illegally to harm others. That is the price of freedom. It is a small price when one has perspective. Occasional acts of violence by people spaced-out on anti-depressant drugs have been a problem lately. Perhaps the cause isn't the existence or availability of the weapons but the effect of the drugs. Maybe the drugs should not be so readily prescribed. Lastly, the impartial studies done show that guns reduce crime, not increase it. About 33 years ago I was in a nightclub when Larry Moore entered and shot 24 people, killing four. He had enough time to step outside and reload his weapon and then re-enter and start killing again. Several weeks later, another man entered a tavern several hundred miles away and started shooting people. Two patrons pulled their sidearms and sent the miscreant straight to hell. I wish I had been armed the night I saw all of those innocent people murdered. You want to deprive honest people of the right and ability to defend themselves and I find that deplorable.
Ronald Long January 26, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Mr. Bennent seems to be having much fun with his cleverness, now that pretty much everyone else has left this conversation. Unfortunately, he revels in half truths. Yes, guns don't kill people --- directly. A gun is a non-autonomous piece of technology, and requires a human "user". Guns are an enabling technology - making a task we would otherwise have to be done by hand, or with other technology. And that task is killing/disabling a living something. The quality of being semi-automatic, and of having a large magazine, also have specific purposes . They enable the task of killing many of these somethings (usually humans), with a minimum number of steps, and in a short period of time. Who benefits from this technology? Does the NRA's mythic "good guy with a gun"? I would argue no. S/he is well trained, skilled with their weapon, an accurate shot. From them once expects one, at most two carefully aimed shots to kill another person. This is a very asymmetric technology - killing a large number of humans/animals as easily as possible is almost always something done by "bad people", and by supporting this technology being accessible, that is who you support. And - as "gun rights" supporters correctly point out, as long as these tools circulate in the public marketplace, "bad guys", who are the beneficiaries of this technology, will find ways to get them.


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