Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Gun Commitment Ceremony

So it's finally happened, folks. Conservatives warned us that same-sex marriage was a slippy slope to letting people marry their toasters, and I didn't believe them. But in Pennsylvania last week, a bunch of men (wearing pink robes and tiaras, I might add) married their guns. Even though the gun debate involves some pretty serious issues, this reminds me so much of Stephen Colbert "sharing his life with a gun named Sweetness" that I have to laugh.

With state police and a smattering of protesters standing watch outside the church, brides clad in white and grooms in dark suits brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World Peace and Unification Sanctuary for a religious event that doubled as an advertisement for the Second Amendment.

The church, which has a worldwide following, believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons. An AR-15 was used in the Florida high school massacre on Feb. 14.

The Rev. Sean Moon, who leads the church, prayed for “a kingdom of peace police and peace militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing.”

Moon is the son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, which critics regard as a cult. The younger Moon’s congregation is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church, which had distanced itself from Wednesday’s event.

Because of course it is. These cults have more schisms than... well, they have a lot of them. At any rate, yes, I realize I'm being a little flippant here. These guys didn't actually marry their guns. They just dressed up in pink robes and tiaras and took wedding vows while holding their AR-15's. So it's totally different, right? Still, the pink robes and tiaras look pretty gay. I wonder if that was deliberate on their part, or some aspect of their religion that just happens to look like something you might see at a (really bad) drag show.

But I shouldn't mock. This is a serious issue! I even happen to be one of those oddball lefties who supports gun rights, so I should say something worthwhile besides pointing and laughing. Shouldn't I? I certainly shouldn't go on and on about how these people warning about marriage to inanimate objects were issuing those warnings precisely because they wanted to do it themselves. Just to guns, not toasters. Toasters, after all, are way too domestic.

But there's more! Does this also mean there are a bunch of Republicans out there who want to marry box turtles, but worry about how to raise their kids? You know, their half-human, half-box-turtle kids. "Daddy, why don't the other kids have shells on their backs like I do?" "It's because you're special, son. Don't worry about it. Now help me field-strip this AR-15, and someday you could grow up to be Senate Majority Leader..."

So I'll leave you with this. The "assault weapons ban" that Dianne Feinstein apparently keeps in her top drawer and rolls out every time there's a shooting was pretty ineffective, even after ten years. It was introduced at a time when shootings were already declining, and they continued to decline long after 2004 when it expired. The idea of banning weapons based on how they look rather than how dangerous they are was an especially silly part of that law.

But I'm not necessarily opposed to new gun regulations that (1) do not violate due process and (2) have been shown to work. This recent article from Scientific American proposes four laws that fit those criteria. They require a little tweaking here and there, but the general approach seems pretty reasonable - they would help keep guns out of the hands of violent people. That is convicted violent people, meaning that due process has to be followed.

Obviously there's no legislation that is going to eliminate gun crimes. That's as silly an idea as banning rifles that happen to be black. But I'm pretty confident of at least one thing - a bunch of weirdos marrying their guns sure isn't going to help.

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