If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Sunday 23 December 2012
Read gnomica 1-200 here!
I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun.
George W. Bush (6 Jul 1946 – )
If the former president actually said this, it’s unclear to me if he meant it, came up with one of his malapropisms for which he was famous, or was inadvertently being inappropriate (from my vantage) in a rather insensitive (from my vantage) fashion. A juvenile is defined in the states variously as a person younger than anywhere from 19 to 16 (16 in Connecticut, New York and North Carolina), and at the federal level, a person younger than 18. Thus, in, say, Connecticut no person older than 15 would fall into the category of juvenile, and therefore if one wanted in Connecticut “to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun” one could not raise that age on anyone above 14: if you raised it on a 15-year old person it would mean that the person would be 16, and therefore — according to the law in Connecticut — no longer a juvenile. It would appear to me that in Bush’s formulation it must necessarily follow that on someone 14 years old (and younger), one can raise the age of gun ownership without fear of removing that individual from the legal status of juvenile.
It is possible that I am being far too punctilious and pettifogging here for my own good. But even if one should in my view be precise and punctilious in terms of the law, I wonder if the epigraph ought not more reasonably not so much have quibbled about the minimum age for ownership of guns as explored the question of whether juveniles – or anybody else, for that matter — should even have guns?
Exactly one week before the horror in Newtown, the New York Times carried an article about a man in central China who stabbed 22 children in a primary school in the village of Chengping in Henan Province – one of several such attacks in recent years that have prompted the posting of guards in schools in China. Horrifying as such an act is, remarkable by comparison with the 27 people shot in Newtown a few days later is the fact that of the 22 attacked “there were no deaths among the nine students admitted to the hospital.” There is of course a single over-riding reason for this vast discrepancy: one perpetrator used a knife, the other, firearms, among them “a military-style Bushmaster rifle [modeled after the military M-16 rifle] with 30 rounds in the ammo clip and hundreds more at the ready”. What if the damaged people who want to do wholesale murder had only knives … but no guns and certainly no semi-automatic rifles stuffed with clips of twenty or more hollow-points?
On the occasion of the Aurora CO movie theater massacre last July, the current president said that it was a “time for prayer and reflection”, and in his no doubt heart-felt condolences to the families in Sandy Hook over the murder of the children I personally find his observation that “God has called them all home” to be profoundly wanting (and that is a very personal opinion!) … if anything is to be done seriously about stopping these firearms-leveraged rampages the need here is neither for Christian homiletics nor for “a time for prayer and reflection” — but for legislative action.