Rewind a few weeks and you might recall how a certified sociopath and right-wing bumper sticker author named Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) delighted in the creation of the following tweet: "If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted." He loved it so much that he turned it into a slogan and a bumper sticker for his re-election campaign. The obvious message: anyone who carries a firearm is invincible, and therefore if babies were packing heat, they could theoretically kill abortion doctors in self-defense.
Naturally, this is complete and utter gibberish.
Gun owners aren't invincible, of course. Statistically, people with a gun in the house, whether as a means of self-defense or otherwise, are more likely to be killed. Dave Waldman, aka KagroX, has been covering incident after incident in which idiot gun zealots have shot themselves or other people at Gun Appreciation Day events, at gun shows and during training classes. Furthermore, Stockman's ridiculous slogan not-so-subtly implies that killing abortion doctors is probably a good idea. It's no wonder why abortion clinics and doctors are the targets of domestic terrorism and homicides -- it's all but endorsed by the conservative entertainment complex and Republican political leaders. And given how the firearm industry manufactures a variety of rifles designed for children, it's not a stretch to suggest that arming children is a goal of the NRA and the broader gun culture which it defends.
Perhaps I'm over-rationalizing Stockman's awful tweet and the subsequent bumper sticker, but when politicians at any level imply that it's okay to commit violence of any kind, especially with firearms, it can never be taken seriously enough. The very notion of an elected member of Congress even joking about the concept of children using firearms to kill other people is offensive almost beyond description -- even more so considering how, in the weeks since Stockman's original tweet, numerous "babies with guns" have used guns to kill or wound themselves or the children and adults around them. For example:
UPDATE 4: Wednesday, May 15. Lake City, Florida. Florida boy, 11, accidentally shot dead by 4-year-old, police say
UPDATE 3: Saturday, May 11. Denton, Texas. Denton boy, 5, accidentally shot in head by older brother, 8
UPDATE 2: Friday, May 10. Camden, New Jersey. 11-Year-Old New Jersey Boy Shoots 12-Year-Old In The Face
UPDATE: Thursday. Thursday, May 9. Corsicana, Texas. 2-year-old Texas boy shoots himself in the head with father’s handgun
Tuesday, May 8. Houston, Texas:
Boy, 5, accidentally shoots brother, 7, in northeast Houston
Tuesday, May 8. Tampa, Florida:
3-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Himself With Uncle's Gun
Sunday, May 6. Indianapolis, Indiana:
Police: 4-year-old boy grabbed gun, shot himself in hand
Saturday, May 5. Oakland Park, Florida:
13-Year-Old Boy Shoots 6-Year-Old Sister In Florida
Thursday, May 2. Yuma, Arizona:
Arizona 3-year-old fatally shoots himself in face with meth grandma’s gun
Thursday, May 2. Cumberland County, Kentucky:
5-year-old Kentucky boy fatally shoots 2-year-old sister
Tuesday, April 30. Mountain Village, Alaska:
5-year-old shot, killed by 8-year-old brother in remote Alaska
And from my previous article about Stockman, which only included incidents featuring children of five-years-old and younger:
April 9, 2013:
Boy, 4, shoots and kills playmate, 6
February 24, 2013:
4-year-old killed himself with dad's gun in N. Houston
February 22, 2013:
Boy, 2, accidentally shoots self after finding gun in mother's purse
February 5, 2013:
3-year-old S.C. boy killed after mistaking pink handgun for toy
January 10, 2013:
Child playing with gun accidentally shoots self
December 5, 2012:
Minneapolis boy, 4, finds gun, shoots brother, 2, police say
So yes, Mr. Stockman, you ass, babies have guns and the consequences are invariably tragic. Yet it's the topic of a sneering, defiant bumper sticker from a far-right crackpot who dogmatically refuses to grasp the common denominator here. It's not about race or class or whether the guns were legally obtained. The common denominator is the guns, not to mention the politicians, hobbyists and corporations who believe these tools -- these consumer products -- are sacred totems inextricably connected human rights and liberty. On the contrary, these are destructive, deadly machines manufactured for profit and they ought to be regulated as such, just like any other retail product. Certainly they shouldn't be marketed to children like the 22 caliber Crickett or the various kiosks at the NRA convention last weekend. The last people in the world who should be handling firearms are children.
Yesterday, I signed up for a contest being held by Stockman's re-election campaign. He's giving away a free Bushmaster AR-15 -- the exact make and model used at Sandy Hook. Classy. And if I happen to win, I plan to collect the prize and then destroy it. But I probably won't win because I'm not from Stockman's clearly ass-backwards district. Anyway, I noticed that you have to be 18-years-old to win the Sandy Hook assault rifle. So perhaps Stockman has some standards -- babies can have guns, babies can be shot by guns, but if they want to own guns, they need to buy them. After all, he's not a socialist.