As a die-hard centrist, I often have conversations with myself about politics. They never really lead anywhere, but sometimes it’s a nice intellectual diversion from my daily routine.
B: Humans are the only true weapons of mass destruction
B: Throughout our history we have destroyed nearly everything that we have come into contact with – the environment, other species, and each other. And we keep inventing new gadgets to destroy things more efficiently.
R: I don’t think that you can hold iOS Maps responsible for….
B: We need gun control.
R: Ah, there it is!
B: We’ve needed gun control for decades now.
R: People have a right to defend themselves from others – and their government.
B: Have you ever fired a gun?
R: Of course.
B: How easy was it?
R: I think that it takes approximately 2.5lbs of pressure to pull a trigger on most firearms.
B: So with roughly the same effort that it takes to wave your Albus Dumbledore memorial wand of power, you can kill someone.
R: Well, you do have to aim it.
B: Not if I use a semi-automatic weapon. That takes about as much skill as aiming my pee into the bowl. I can just keep firing until I hit something.
R: Yeah, I’ve uh…seen your work. Please don’t buy a gun. You’d hurt yourself. And besides, your pee doesn’t have recoil.
B: That depends on whether I’ve eaten asparagus. But…point taken.
R: Look, our right to bear arms is in the Constitution. It’s the second amendment to the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
B: Yes, I’ve analyzed it throughly. It clearly states: 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.
R: So there it is!
B: Indeed. Given the context of the times, I agree with you that the country’s founders wanted a well-armed populace to protect themselves against a corrupt government that might seek to curtail personal liberties.
R: So…case closed then?
B: In your dreams, Wyatt Earp. I doubt that Jefferson could have envisioned our modern weaponry. It’s tough to go on a rampage with a musket. Haven’t you seen ‘The Patriot?’
R: The one with Mel Gibson or the one with Steven Segal?
B: What a senseless waste of human life.
R: Agreed. Segal should have stopped making movies after Under Siege. Regardless, I think that the framers were looking for parity – that as long as the people could access the same weapons as the government, the government would be disinclined to repress the people.
B: Disinclined to monitor all of our emails and voice communications?
R: But the Patriot Act keeps us safe!
B: Perhaps, but at what cost? And infringing on our right to privacy hardly seems ‘Patriotic’ to me.
R: Do you want to stand on principle, or on the rubble of another building brought down by terrorists?
B: You seem to be very…fearful.
R: Have you seen your local news lately? It’s a scary world. There is much to be feared
B: We cannot give into fear. Fear leads to the dark side.
R: Geek. I don’t understand how we stay friends.
B: Yes, I’ve watched the local news. Horrible, tragic things going on at Verizon Center. The Wizards are just awful this year.
R: No dumbass, I’m referring to all of the random acts of violence.
B: You mean all the random acts of gun violence.
R: Of course. The people must have a right to defend themselves.
B: Ah, got it. It all makes perfect sense now.
R: And besides, perhaps this was part of God’s plan.
B: Are you off your meds?
R: God operates in ways that we cannot hope to understand.
B: Well, first off – my God is William Shatner, and I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t want this. The news reports are pre-empting the TJ Hooker reruns.
R: No, I’m referring to my lord and savior Jesus Christ.
B: Well, I’m reasonably sure that if he walked the Earth today, his first comment to us would be “What the hell is wrong with you people?” And then he’d step outside of the Vatican.
R: Wait, what?
B: Well, if Jesus “died for our sins,” he’d probably be a little ticked off that His people haven’t done a particularly good job of observing His teachings.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever hall kill shall be in danger of the judgment”
So I’m reasonably sure that Jesus probably wouldn’t be in favor of the possession or development of firearms that make killing even more efficient.
R: I’m sure that Jesus didn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to defend yourself.
B: Well, I suppose that depends on your interpretation of ‘Thou shalt not kill’. That seems pretty unequivocal to me.
R: But you’re taking the quote out of context!
B: You don’t say? I suppose that it’s possible. I just randomly copy and paste stuff from Wikipedia and hope for the best. But I do seem to recall a big diatribe about how you should also love your enemies.
R: America is a Christian nation, and our constitution was inspired by God.
B: Oh, now you’re just making stuff up. America was certainly not founded as a Christian nation. It was founded as a secular nation. That’s why we have the guaranteed separation of church and state and a multitude of protections that guarantee religious freedom for all.
R: That’s the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard. I know that America was founded on Christian values.
B: Oh here we go.
R: Furthermore, If God was more omnipresent in the schools, we’d have fewer problems like this.
B: You can’t fight crazy with crazy. But, setting that aside for a moment, I’ve observed that throughout history a ton of violence has been justified on religious grounds.
R: The crusades have nothing to do with this.
B: I was actually referring to the Spanish Inquisition
R: That’s unfair – no one expected the Spanish Inquisition!
B: Yeah, I’ve..uh..heard that somewhere before. However, if you think that exposure to church doctrine is highly correlative to moral actions, there are more than a few sexually abused children who would beg to differ.
R: They clearly did not believe enough.
B: I’ll tell you what I believe – Religion is a mechanism of control. And while some might find it helpful, if you look at human history one can only reach the conclusion that it has done much more harm than good.
R: I’ll pray for your soul.
B: Don’t waste your time.
R: So where does that leave us?
B: Well, looking at the stats I have reached the inescapable conclusion that we need a ban on guns, that religion is no damned good, and you might need to get back on your meds.
R: And I’ve reached the conclusion that you are a godless ass.
B: True. But that doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.