America’s sick fascination

Retired wildlife biologist laments America’s obsession with weapons

The author is a wildlife biologist with 50 years of field experience. He is now semi-retired, but he regularly travels to practice his passion for wildlife photography. He lives in Paradise.

Last week, we had another mass shooting using a semi-automatic weapon. It won’t be long until these common events are relegated to page 7 of the newspaper along with the activities of the City Council budget process and fall removal of leaves from the streets of Chico. Mass murder is as American as apple pie and getting as common.

Coincidentally, on the day of the shooting, I received an advertisement from an NRA-supported gun group that reviewed and praised the recently released UTAS 15 Round Bullpup Pump Shotgun. This new military-style weapon is made in Turkey. The review says “there is no other shotgun in the market that can touch it. The top-loading magazine tubes on the UTAS 15 are … eas[y] to load … and the UTAS 15 automatically lets you hand-select the sides, in case you want slugs in one side and buckshot in the other.”

In actuality, this gun is made to do one thing: kill a lot of humans very swiftly.

Even more distressing were the comments from this website’s readers. One person who questioned the gun’s utility was attacked as a “liberal” and was told by one member the weapon’s purpose was “crowd control for that crowd trying to come through your front door!” I realize this is a common occurrence, to be sure. Perhaps groups of Girl Scouts aggressively selling cookies or Jehovah’s Witnesses banging on the windows with their Bibles?

Other inane pro-comments included:

• “I’m pretty sure it’s used for eliminating would-be rapists, thieves and gangbangers that break into homes and cause families great harm.” (My comment: One round of buckshot will cut a grown man in half. Fifteen rounds? You’d pick up the pieces with tweezers.)

• “Just imagine if Bill Clinton were still in office; these weapons would be declared ‘Destructive Devices’ and flat outlawed.” (Comment: And what title should we put on such weapons?)

• “I live near to prisons and if by some miracle they manage to escape en masse that gun could definitely ‘sweep’ the house!” (Comment: A common occurrence?)

I’m sure last week’s mass shooting will spur more efforts for practical gun legislation and I’m equally certain the militants, along with our local Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, will revert to arguments by their esteemed cult leader, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, and double their efforts to defeat any sane gun legislation.

Is our society sick, or what?