Essay 5: Summary-Response
December 8, 2011
Molly Ivins' "Ban Them. Ban Them All."
In "Ban Them. Ban Them All", Molly Ivins states and supports her opinion that a gun is meant only for one who is trained to use it. Ivins' essay explains that she is not against self defense. She seems to be very practical in her approach when she uses the fact that she is "pro-knife" as the opening to her essay. Many individuals believe passionately in their right to self defense and feel that guns provide that defense for them. I feel that her opening paragraph would attract many individuals that would not normally read this essay and it supports her idea that a gun is not a necessary tool for self defense. She goes on to compare and contrast knives and guns and continues on to support her opinion that guns create power that, in the wrong hands, is very dangerous. She feels more steps should be taken to determine which individuals qualify as the right hands. Ivins also discusses the 2nd Amendment and supports her theory that its true meaning is being misconstrued by today's society. I completely agree with Ivins and feel that the topic of guns should be taken much more seriously.
The decision to kill should not be taken lightly and a gun, unlike a knife, enables its users to detach themselves from the seriousness of taking a life. Ivins' first paragraph states that she is "not anti-gun but "pro-knife". She feels that a knife does not ricochet and is insinuating the elimination of the possibility of hitting the wrong target. Ivins also states that an individual cannot accidentally kill himself while cleaning a knife therefore making it safer for him to maintain. She also manages to give her readers a break from the serious tone by joking that the individual using the knife must run after his intended target and that we could be a nation of healthy, fit runners. I feel that Ivins is trying to show that the individual wielding the knife would have to take their mission to kill much more seriously. The individual would not be able to "shoot first and regret later". I feel that she is trying to show that guns give their users a sense of detachment from the seriousness and finality of the decisions that they make.
Ivins views the 2nd Amendment in a very different light than most people today and I completely agree with her opinion that it is being severely misconstrued. The 2nd Amendment states that "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Ivins feels that the phrase "well regulated militia" specifically translates to only those that are well trained in combat and weapon use such as police and military officers. She explains that too many individuals without training,, such as 14 year old boys and cult leaders (those that should never have guns), find ways to obtain them. I believe Ivins is trying to show that the violent nature of this country is being fed by the government's lack of regulation toward the gun industry. Ivins questions whether the writers of the 2nd Amendment would agree with how it was being interpreted today. Why do American's feel that guns are necessary? I personally feel that civilian gun ownership and use are the causes of many of today's tragedies. Small children have been known to find guns in their parents' bedrooms and accidentally kill themselves because it was left loaded or because the safety wasn't on. As tragic as this is, would it have happened if the child's parents had taken the ownership of a gun more seriously? Criminals are buying their guns from legal gun shows and going on to wreak havoc and violence in city streets. If the purchasing and use of guns were limited strictly to military and police officers, it would eliminate much of the gun violence in our country. The guns that were still being sold to criminals could be more easily traced back to their sources.
Guns create the power to kill, and "power without discipline" can be devastating. In the article, Ivins explains that "any fool can pick up a gun and kill with it." Ivins is impressing on her readers that guns are dangerous weapons that should be feared and respected. American culture has become extremely gun-oriented. Today's children are being taught at an early age through television, video games, and movies that guns solve problems. What is the result? Teenagers are committing murder/suicides in school libraries in response to bullying. I empathize with Ivins when she states that surely this was not what the writers of the 2nd Amendment had in mind. Ivins compares guns to cars in that cars are more strictly regulated because of their ability to cause harm. She doesn't understand why cars are better regulated than guns when guns themselves have no other purpose than to cause harm? I agree with Ivins, and I feel that the government should work on prioritizing their affairs more efficiently. I feel that there are many ridiculous laws in this country that allow the government to dictate personal freedom that do not do anyone any good. I think the government should exercise their intrusive capabilities by eliminating civilian gun ownership instead of worrying about things like an 18 year old trying to purchase tobacco. An individual who smokes tobacco is only killing himself whereas an individual with a gun can kill dozens.
Guns are dangerous weapons that give any individual the power to kill. In my experience, power bestowed upon an unprepared or otherwise undeserving individual is extremely unwise and can be very dangerous. Guns are not necessary in resolving conflicts. Guns create conflicts. Individuals that feel they need to own a gun should ask themselves why a gun is necessary in the first place. I agree with the author, Molly Ivins, in that the ownership and use of guns should be reserved for the well trained; those that truly understand and respect the power and the responsibility required. As the title of her article suggests, Ivins is very passionate in her belief that guns are responsible for many issues our nation faces every day. The government should do more to regulate and closely monitor guns, and the usage of guns should be banned from civilian use.