The only question now is how to ban all firearms

Stephen Paddock booked a suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. He brought 17 weapons with him, including four Daniel Defense DDM4 rifles and three Sig Sauer FN-15s. Paddock knocked out two windows in his suite and then began shooting concert goers 300 yards away. He killed 58 people and injured another 525.

The great gun control experiment is over

Some people have already begun talking about more gun control. The time for that particular conversation has passed. Stephen Paddock saw to that. The only thing worthy of a conversation today is to talk about the best way to remove every firearm from circulation. Every single one. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, or any other mechanism designed specifically for killing people.

It’s time for them to go.

The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

People have inalienable rights. At the very top of the rights pyramid is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Guns and civilized society do not mix. We now know that to be true. There’s no disputing it. Politicians can talk about limiting the size of magazines, improved background checks, or closing the gun show loophole all they want. Those are not valid discussions to have today.

The discussion we need to have

The discussion we need to have now is the best way to remove all firearms from our country.

It may not be easy. When we decided people should not own other people, it took a civil war to accomplish that idea into practice. Will it take another civil war to remove every firearm from society? It might, but that should not be a factor in deciding what to do. If our ancestors allowed the threat of a civil war to factor in when deciding if slavery should be abolished or not, people today would still be allowed to own other people.

Some things are so important they’re worth almost any price. Removing guns from our country is one of those things.

How I would do it

If it were up to me, I would implement a one-time buy back program for all firearms. I would then melt them. After the one-time buy back, possessing a firearm would be a felony. A conviction of possessing a firearm would involve mandatory minimums. We could take our existing laws on drugs and cross out the words “crack cocaine” and replace it with “firearm.”

That would be a good start.

Update

I’ve reconsidered my opinion on gun ownership.

18-year-old girl kills herself over cyberbullying

Brandy Vela, an 18-year-old high school student from Texas City, Texas, shot and killed herself this week. Her family believes it was in response to the online bullying she had been receiving from her classmates. From CNN:

Brandy’s sister, Jackie, says the teen had always been bullied for her weight, but the cyberbullying ramped up in April.

“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her,” Jackie said.

“They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”

Jackie says her sister changed her phone number and reported the bullying to police, but was told they couldn’t help her.

“They couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” Jackie said.

A non-traceable app? Even if they were using a VPN is mask their actual IP address, you have to use a working cell phone number or email address to sign up for Facebook. If the police didn’t care enough to work the case when the family first reported the bullying, perhaps that will change now that the girl is dead.

Is cyberbullying even a crime? Last time I checked, you can be mean to someone else on the Internet. You can say that someone is fat and ugly, just like you can say someone is thin and attractive. I found her Facebook account and looked for examples of people being rude to her. I didn’t see any. All that means is that she probably deleted the mean comments.

Almost all of her Facebook posts are her posting a photo of herself and then her friends telling her how gorgeous she is.

None of her posts are restricted to only her Facebook friends. They are all open to the public. Then again, considering that she had 1,969 Facebook friends, I’m not sure private or public would make a difference. It seems to me that she could have stopped the cyberbullies in their tracks if she had made her account more private and restricted her friend list to her actual friends.

She was also a member of a public Snap Chat Facebook group. I imagine if there was cyberbullying, it probably started there. There are currently over 100,000 members of this Facebook group. The object of the group seems to focus on posting selfies for the enjoyment of strangers. If I were a parent, I wouldn’t want my child contributing to or spending time with a group like that.

Speaking of being a parent, where were this girl’s parents? It didn’t seem like they were monitoring her Facebook activity. Here is a post she wrote two years ago:

If you take what Brandy Vela said at face value, if the girl she’s talking about is her cousin, she is referring to her own aunt as a slut. That’s not very nice. Some would even argue that it was cyberbullying. If I was the child’s parent, I would have insisted she remove that post when it was first posted, two years ago.

I find it hard to believe that it was cyberbullying that caused Brandy Vela to kill herself. Could it have been a contributing factor? Sure. I’m just not a big believer in single-reason suicide. I think it’s more of an accumulation of things that leads a person to take their own life. I have to wonder what would cause someone to post so many puckered-lip selfies online. Why would someone want complete strangers to tell them how attractive they are? That doesn’t seem very healthy to me.

According to CNN, Brandy Vela killed herself with a handgun. Where did she get that? I think people need to be held responsible for their guns. I’m not against gun ownership, but I am against irresponsibility. If you own a gun and that gun falls into the hands of someone who uses it to harm themselves or others, you should be held responsible.

The gun had more to do with Brandy Vela’s suicide than trolls on Facebook.

The assault rifle, the safest of all guns

Assault rifles, semi-automatic rifles designed for use on the battlefield, have been in the news as of late. They were the type of weapons used by Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino and most recently in Orlando. An assault rifle was also used by non-Islamic terrorists in Aurora and Sandy Hook.

Assault rifles are generally easy to use, feature a high-capacity magazine, and can be quite lethal. With that said, the common belief that they are responsible for a large number of gun deaths nationwide is wrong.

According to the FBI, in 2013 (the most recent year reported) there was a total of 12,253 murders. Of that number, 8,454 involved a firearm. A majority of those murders were carried out with a handgun, 5,782 to be exact. That works out to be 68.39% of all firearm murders. When it comes to killing people, handguns are used more than any other firearm.

The assault rifle, the safest of all guns - Bent Corner

What I found quite remarkable with the FBI’s numbers is how few deaths are attributed to assault rifles. They don’t even get their own category. They’re grouped in with rifles. An assault rifle is a rifle, but not all rifles are assault rifles.

Even if you pretend that each and every rifle listed on the FBI crime report is a banana clipped, pistol griped assault rifle, they only account for 3.37% of all murders committed with a firearm.

If you really want to do something to curb gun-related murders, then you have to look at handguns, not assault rifles. Statistically and historically speaking, assault rifles are the safest of all guns in that they pose the smallest threat to public safety.