For the longest time, I've been troubled by the notion that one must be entitled to own an arsenal "for protection." The criminals have 'em, so we should have 'em, too, we're told. Only recently did I realize just why this doesn't compute: A gun is only an offensive weapon.
Simply put, if you want to be "protected" against gun crime, you should be promoting everyone bulletproofing their cars and receiving vouchers for Kevlar vests because only things that stop bullets are truly defensive measures against guns.
"But the best defense is a good offense," you say. Maybe on the football field that's true, but in a gun situation it's meaningless. Having more destructive bullets is unnecessary; a .38 can kill just as dead as a .45. Having more bullets is helpful in a battle of attrition, but we're told that every responsible owner of firearms is a skilled shot and won't be loosing whole volleys at a time to score one hit on their target so even the quantity argument seems suspect. Moreover, if the hypothetical armed intruder at the heart of the fear-driven debate does happen to find his way into your home, how is he supposed to know you have this awesome arsenal at your immediate disposal to fear it? Those "This home protected by Smith & Wesson" stickers on your back door?
"Oh, you're just another anti-gun, bleeding heart, elitist liberal," you say. Not true. First of all, I don't believe all life is sacred. I stand in defense of my principals and beliefs, not other people, when I take a stance on an issue. I could care less that the hypothetical homeowner might be one of my own family, or that the hypothetical armed intruder might be one, as well. What I care about in this situation is language. Simply put, guns are not a defensive weapon, and the notion that they can be used defensively is flatly wrong.
"You only get to say that because your second amendment rights guarantee your first amendment rights," you argue. Wrong again. Plenty of other societies have all kinds of guns, without the freedom of speech. What gives me the freedom of speech is our society's shared belief in having it. I don't own a gun, and I don't care to. As far as I'm concerned, gun ownership is just another hobby that never appealed to me. I don't care if you feel the need to own enough weapons to overthrow a small world country; if that's your thing, then by all means, knock yourself out. Stock up, hit the firing range every chance you get, enter sharpshooting competitions, whatever makes you happy. I have no desire to see your collection diminished or taken away from you, any more than I want football fans to have access to fewer games on TV or art fans to have less galleries to tour.
All I ask, in the name of language, is that you quit using the wrong phrases and words to justify your obsession. A gun simply is not a defense. You can hold one to my head and I still won't say it is.