Playin’ Russian roulette, but she’ll load all six. Gun love ...
— ZZ Top
I was listening to a few local good old boys solve the world’s problems the other day — I wasn’t eavesdropping, just happened to be standing within earshot and couldn’t help but overhear — and one of the things one of them said got me to thinking.
Most of you have no doubt heard some other armchair problem-solver offer a similar assessment: “What they ought to do is round up all these gang bangers and ship them off to Afghanistan or Korea and let them shoot it out. At least if they get shot, it wouldn’t be much of a loss.”
That got encouraging responses all around — and one enthusiastic, “Now that’s an immigration proposal I wouldn’t mind my tax dollars supporting.”
While I get the sentiment, a couple of things occurred to me.
1) I don’t believe generals and other war planners would expect too great a success rate with a bunch of gangsters turned loose to take on a trained foreign army on its home turf. We have the greatest armed forces in the history of the world for a reason: Our soldiers are trained for the type of warfare they’ll be involved in. All that wearing uniforms and marching and obstacle course running and team-building exercises are done for a reason.
Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are torn down and rebuilt in a manner that teaches them how to react while facing life-or-death scenarios. And after they’ve mastered their service branch’s basic skills, they’re indoctrinated with military strategy. American military personnel are not asked to achieve an objective in a hostile situation without at least some idea of how they can reach that objective.
Turn a common criminal whose survival skills depend on street instinct and superior firepower — the old bringing a gun to a knife fight concept — loose in a hostile situation, and you’re looking at a massacre. The first time some street thug put his meanest tough-guy face on and turned his weapon sideways — I call it the Ice-T scowl — trained enemy soldiers would probably chuckle a bit before blowing him to the next world.
2) Our fighting men and women derive their motivation from things like duty, honor and completing a mission they’ve been trained to complete. Thugs? Such things mean nothing to them. They’re not likely to be so keen at becoming human targets and would, therefore, not care one whit about taking a specific position from the enemy.
So, no, I don’t think this gangsters-as-soldiers idea is a very good one. I did, however, come up with my own concept that I think everyone could get behind.
How about we make service in a specified war zone a requirement for domestic ownership of an assault weapon? And, to make sure there is plenty of adequate training for the many would-be soldiers of fortune who keep popping up in gun-crazy America, let’s let the leadership of the NRA get them ready for combat.
You hear all these gun owners, spurred on by weapons manufacturers and the NRA, say they need these killer weapons that spit out hundreds of rounds of deadly ammo a second to protect them and theirs, but it seems the only people we ever hear about using them for anything other than bragging rights — yes, my weapon is bigger than yours — are the deranged mass murderers who shoot up movie theaters and gun down first- and second-graders.
So let’s put that deadly firepower to good use. Instead of sending these simple-minded gang members into the world’s hot spots to protect our interests and our way of life, let’s send the intelligent “collectors” whose level of “security” is determined by the caliber and magazine capacity of their weapons.
Besides, what better way for a true American outdoorsman/patriot to prove his skills than by testing himself against what Richard Connell called “The Most Dangerous Game”?
As the argument over meaningful gun control legislation in this country has raged, I’ve heard so many of this ilk boldly proclaim: “Just let someone try and take my assault weapon.” Hey, there’s an enemy soldier out there whose goal is just that. Here’s your chance to show us what you’d do.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.