Where the Mental Health Thing Comes In

James Yeager, the CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee company that specializes in firearms training, posted – and then unposted – a 32-second video of himself swearing into the camera (swearing in both the sense of cursing and making a promise) that if guns are regulated, he will start killing people.

I hardly know where to begin with this guy.  He certainly expands the horizon on my mental image of “CEO.” (Unless those initials stand for something else in this case – “Cursing Execution Officer”? “Crude Expletive Offender”?)  Mr. Yeager – as far as I can tell – hopes to dissuade the federal government from adopting measures controlling the use of firearms by threatening unspecific murder.  This is what happens when we stop teaching Civics in high schools and “Schoolhouse Rock” is no longer aired with the Saturday cartoons.  That’s not how change is made in America, Mr. Yeager.  The koo-koo eyes don’t help, either.

OK, so he’s just one CEO with more tattoos than brain cells.  But turn on CNN and see Alex Jones screaming in the same vein, only louder, longer and minus the overt death threats, although he apparently drenched Piers Morgan with spittle.   Granted, Mr. Jones was screaming at Mr. Morgan, – and who wouldn’t want to do that live on the air? – so maybe I should cut him some slack, but all in all, these are not people I want walking around with weapons.

The argument the “cold, dead hand” crowd makes in the wake of the Newtown tragedy is that it’s not guns that need attention, but mental health.  They make this point by ranting and screaming in a manner that makes me want to take guns away from those particular people.  This is where the mental health thing comes in.  If you scream like a crazy person as soon as the subject of guns rises, you might get nabbed by your own recommendation.

Meanwhile, AS I’M TYPING THIS, there’s been another school shooting, this time in California, where one student shot another before being persuaded to put the gun down by a teacher.  When is this enough?

I was going do some more reporting on this, perhaps mention the 100 people who showed up at the Burlington City Council meeting Monday because assault weapons were on the agenda.  I don’t think gun owners are the majority in America (even though there are 300 million guns and 300 million people).  It’s just that they are loud and well-organized and have politicians intimidated and have their heads stuck so far up their own rhetoric they can’t see that they come across to average Americans as bullies and assholes.  That goes double for Wayne LaPierre.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not a gun owner.  I’m not opposed to gun ownership, either.  I have many friends who own guns; some hunt, some don’t.  I believe in a citizen’s right to bear arms.  I do not believe in a citizen’s right to bear arsenals.  I believe in regulating guns well.  Hey guys, “regulate” – it’s in the Second Amendment to the Constitution; it’s the part you always skip over.

In Switzerland, the government actually distributes assault weapons to many citizens (it ain’t just about knives with corkscrews, you know).  Those many citizen soldiers are part of Switzerland’s defense forces.  They are also issued sealed containers of ammunition, to be opened only a) in case of war or b) during supervised military training exercises.  The legal penalties for opening that canister under any other circumstances are severe, as they should be.  That’s a well-regulated militia.

Bottom line: Gun owners, if you want to protect your rights, grow up.  Stop yelling and threatening and acting irrational when people suggest sensible remedies to the national epidemic of mass killing we now suffer through.  Why do you think you’re called “gun nuts”?

© Mark Floegel, 2013

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