No matter how hard I try to ignore it, the whole national gun dialogue seeps its way into my perception, and I cannot escape it. I know that the NRA has warned me again and again that it is the only line of defense against a totalitarian government -- and I also know that Obama is doing his best to make that claim seem entirely sane with his ridiculous memo about the conditions under which he can legally have an American citizen assassinated (bit.ly/11KTBLH) but the news tells me otherwise. The news tells me that a gun is the best way for me to get hurt or killed by the guy next door or, worse, the guy sitting across the room.
It's really an undeniable fact that the single best way to get shot is in a circumstance where someone, anyone, with any level of gun training high or low, has a gun.
I sleep easier knowing guys like this (bit.ly/11pAuro) are out there, armed and ready to protect me from random passers-by at the drop of a hat. A car full of people pulls into the wrong driveway, tries to back out and one of the people is dead.
But that was an on-purpose shooting. That guy truly believed the NRA rhetorical insanity that all that stood between him and lawless, predatory chaos was his gun. But the news is filled with accidental shootings in which neither the shooter or the shootee had any agenda other than standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. There's this one in Georgia where a handshake apparently set off the gun (bit.ly/XNVgKT), this one in Kansas (bit.ly/WQAU2D) and one in Pennsylvania where cleaning the gun caused the shooting (bit.ly/11KU54t).
Here's one where the gun went off because four people "over handled" it (ohne.ws/YaeTvq). Yeah, happens all the time with knives, too.
And don't argue training. Training is meaningless. You can claim that those people weren't trained to handle guns correctly, so of course that happened.
This is what happens with a soldier in a gun range when he cleans his gun (bit.ly/Wui6cV). This is what happens when a soldier tries to scare his friend in order to cure hiccups (cbsn.ws/Wxq17n).
In this one, the father refuses to blame the sacred gun for the accidental shooting of his son (bit.ly/11KUSCF) though he refers to it as "unreliable" -- why did he own a gun if it couldn't be trusted? -- and touting how all the gun training in the world didn't stop his son from doing something stupid, counting his blessings that it wasn't fatal, and generally doing his best to argue effectively for the other side while claiming not to.
If only accidental shootings just affected careless gun owners. This guy was killed at a Super Bowl party by a friend who was just showing the gun to him (bit.ly/VIjj1O).
There's this depressing story (gaw.kr/Xo1FL3) about a three-year-old who died because he found a pink gun that he thought was a toy.
And there's this one (on.lsj.com/14S0uut) that has a 14-year-old handling a gun while the parents were out and shooting his 13-year-old sister in the head.
It turns out that not only do people kill people, guns actually kill people, too.
Of course, there are always the ones that aren't accidents. Murder-suicides by gun show that people compelled to take themselves out of life aren't always happy to go alone -- whether the other person wants to or not -- as this husband-wife incident in Texas shows (dallasne.ws/WOEr4n), as does this Rocky Mountain shooting (bit.ly/Xo1Qpu) and this horrifying incident involving a father shooting himself and his two kids, not to mention the family dog (lat.ms/Yafpd3).
The investigating officer describes them as "upstanding members of the community." In other words, not criminals.
Here's the kicker -- all these guns were legally purchased. None of the shooters were criminals. And none of these involve using the guns against criminals. Not one crime was stopped by guns in any of these incidents, but many citizens died because of them.
The most revelatory recent gun murder story is that of renowned military sniper Chris Kyle (ind.pn/YTsCNk).
He was shot dead by a gunman while he himself had a gun, in a gun range, with other people who had guns. If a gun didn't help this guy stay alive, then the gun debate is effectively over. This was a best case scenario, the one that the NRA argues for, put into a real life test situation, and failing.
Obama doesn't have to worry about actually sending out drones to kill Americans, because we're doing away with each other for him.
John Seven is the Transcript's arts and entertainment editor.