So, on the very Saturday that the National Hockey League returned to avid fans across North America, avid gun enthusiasts, including members of the National Rifle Association, showed their support on “National Gun Appreciation Day” across the United States. This in the far-too-recent wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and gun-control legislation initiated by freshly re-elected President Barack Obama.
There are a couple of important, glaring differences between NHL and NRA fans.
NHL fans, while passionate and sometimes downright goofy with their support, tend not to be a risk to anyone but their own household budgets. No one came home from NHL games having been shot by guns, as five people did from various National Gun Appreciation Day “safety demonstrations.” (I realize the irony, but I’m not sure they do.)
It would be laughable if it wasn’t so infuriatingly ignorant and deadly dangerous.
The NRA has said that Americans’ “legal choices of firearms should not be dictated by a homicidal maniac.” Well, certainly we wouldn’t want to paint all gun enthusiasts with the same brush or, to put it in their own language, “shoot them all with the same rapid-fire assault rifles.” The problem is that the people they have speaking on their behalf sound and act like maniacs.
Anyone who watched pro-gun talk-show host Alex Jones in a nonsensical showdown against Piers Morgan on CNN could argue that he himself is the best case for taking guns away:
Morgan: How many gun murders were there in America last year?
Jones: There were about 11,458.
Morgan: How many gun murders were there in Britain last year?
Jones: How many chimpanzees can dance on the head of a pin?
Morgan: It’s actually 35 [gun murders].
Jones: You’re not gonna get our guns, Piers!
Morgan: Do you understand the difference between 11,000 and 35?
Mr. Jones goes on to challenge Morgan to a boxing match. True story.
Now, in fairness, it wasn’t nice of Mr. Morgan to bring math into this debate. That’s like asking a Kardashian to compete in a spelling bee. The people speaking out on behalf of guns are unreasonable, so using reason with them doesn’t work.
Hence the idea to make them quit cold turkey.
Don’t make the guns available for sale. Let the people know it won’t be tolerated any more, just like public places did with smoking a while back. Sure, the smokers were angry at first. They probably said things like “Smoking doesn’t kill people” or “Legal choices of smoking shouldn’t be dictated by one suicidal maniac.” But the people spoke, the smoke cleared, and while smoking still exists, it does so only with a minority of diehards (again, ironic). If we stopped people walking into public places with cigarettes, shouldn’t we stop them walking into public places with loaded guns?
So to those who would die defending their right to carry a gun, put yourself in the place of a child sitting in a classroom when a deranged person bursts in. Wouldn’t first limiting and then taking the option of buying an assault rifle away from that person make this incident at least less deadly and ideally impossible? Or, to put it again in your own vernacular, isn’t it worth at least taking a shot at?
NHL tickets are overvalued. Human lives are not.
Steve Patterson is host of The Debaters on CBC Radio One and a multiple-award-winning stand-up comedian.