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Guns, straw men, slippery slopes

Oh, calm down. Nobody's coming to take all your guns. That's classic straw man baloney. For those who don't know the term (Brits call it an "Aunt Sally") a straw man is a deliberate but effective distraction. Few if any Americans propose to take all our guns away -- certainly no one in or seriously running for political office.

No such legislation has been proposed by the executive branch or Congress. It's a straw man. I've owned firearms since my father bought me my first single-shot .22 at age 13, and I'm keeping it. Fearmongers, just cool it.

Yes, there's the matter of self-defense. Say an intruder breaks into your home in the middle of the night, or a madman nearby is either murdering people or clearly intending to. I get that. How much firepower do you need?

A decent pistol, rifle or shotgun (with which you've learned to handle the recoil) would suffice. Ideally, at home the weapon would be in a gun safe. If you're paranoid and keep it under your bed, at least have the chamber empty and a trigger lock if you have kids around. If you, your wife or someone else in the family hits the sauce, or tempers sometimes flare -- that's risky.

Sure, crooks will acquire guns one way or another, but much more commonly it's people who know one another, relatives, neighbors, employees or bosses who turn homicidal.

Then there's the slippery slope. Where to draw the line: Should all firearms be freely available without restriction or regulation to the general public? For self-defense, it's highly unlikely you'll need a semi-automatic assault rifle or a Glock G18 9mm with a 33 round magazine. But use your imagination. Maybe you'll be surrounded by the mafia out to get you for welching on a high interest loan. Or, you may be called to go to the local zoo, climb down where the tigers roam to rescue a cute blonde with nice legs there for some purpose yet unknown. There's a likelier chance you'll win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, or get a date with Beyonce.

Of course, if you're a wannabe Adam Lanza or a Jared Loughner, any kind of arms control is, like, c.r.a.z.y. Gee, think of the inconvenience of stopping to reload.

There's also Freudian phallicism. Maybe that's more a part of the don't-you-even-think-about-pryin'-my-gun-from-my-hot-trousers psyche than we are comfortable admitting.

When pressed, anti-any regulation zealots are left with what they see as not just a real but an imminent threat: the U.S. is on the brink of a fascist, communist-socialist-liberal, Islamic takeover, either through the rise of some Kenyan-born, black-skinned Marxist slipping into the White House, or by U.N. One-World Conquistadors.

Oh wait, you say "Conquistadors? That was 16th century Spanish takeovers in Mexico and Peru!"

Yeah, well, smarty pants, think about the 11 million illegal Conquistadorical border-hoppers. Think about the expanding evil Muslim population. Think about the secular evolution-worshipping humanists who would gladly murder fundamentalist Christians who wanna teach creationism in public schools. OK, OK, I'm making stuff up.

Seriously. About the future -- we never absolutely know, do we? I mean we could possibly get cremated tomorrow by a falling jetliner. A zebra loose from the zoo could stomp our lights out. A Kansas sinkhole could swallow us. It happened in Florida!

But do not go quickly into that cold sweat. The odds are quite small, whatever you hear on talk radio or get in your email box.

I think the odds less than teensy that Barack Hussein Obama (the current villain of choice for many) is plotting a One World Government ... etc. etc. etc. and so on. If your life is so boring or unfulfilling that you are addicted to conspiracy absinthe, there's no way can I sober you up or calm you down. Sad, but I understand. Feel free to obsess.

In any event, if responding to a final take-over by our plutocrats actually became necessary, big-mag Glocks and Bushmaster assault-style weapons wouldn't cut it.

We're talking mortars, shoulder-fired surface-to-air rockets, tons of ammo, body armor, supply truck logistics, clever IEDs -- and one helluva lot of luck For military weaponry, halfway on the slippery slope won't cut it.

Bottom line: I don't think sane Americans want more and deadlier guns at our convenience than we already have. Disagree if you like.

Bob Hooper is a fourth-generation western Kansan who writes from his home in Bogue.

celtic@ruraltel.net