Melville Cooke, Contributor
I WANT a gun. Not just any gun, but a big one like those shotguns the security guards carry. I want something that not only kills, but sounds like it kills everything.
I don't want a handgun, because I don't want something to carry around with me. It is also too small; I don't want something that I may have to fire more than once per target. I want that 'shottie' for my home, to be put in a safe place and only removed in times of mortal danger to my family.
In other words, when it is used somebody must die. (Do you carry shotguns to the range anyway?).
I do not wish for this to be an exclusive situation; I do not wish for a gun only for myself. I want every adult over 25 to be allowed to purchase a firearm of their choice (short of automatic weapons) upon proof of citizenship and domicile, subject to verification before the weapon is provided.
In other words it would be like buying bread, but with a waiting period.
It would seem to me that the police are unable to provide protection for all members of the society. It would also appear that they are unable, Crime Management Unit and all, to disarm or kill all the 'shottas' in the society.
It would also appear that the only people who do not have an illegal firearm in this society are those who do not want one. And it would further appear that most of those who wish a legal gun have a heck of a time.
The end result of all those appearances is that he or she who plays by the rules not only get shafted, but also shot.
The process of obtaining a firearm licence is a can of worms all in itself. Those of us who read the STAR (even in the privacy of their bedrooms, the curtains safely drawn) will remember the gunshots that marked the 'Fully Loaded' dancehall show. The police searched cars leaving the venue and firearms were seized.
Then there was the recent case of the tavern operator who got into a parking squabble with one of his customers. The customer proceeded to use his legal pistol to enforce his point and when the smoke cleared two people were dead.
It raises the question of how such irresponsible people came to have gun licences. From where I sit, the process of granting these licences is fraught with friendship, largesse and corruption.
Some eight weeks ago I sat in the private office of a supermarket owner in a western parish and heard him telling a police officer which applicant could or could not get a firearm permit. It was a telephone conversation and the supermarket guy referred to his caller as 'Supe'. "No, him no fi get none " "Yea, him can get an him can get. Mi know him an ting, but dat man no fi get none " Forgive my ignorance, but is that the process of checking references?
I really don't think so.
There are those who will argue that a free-for-all on gun ownership will lead to more carnage in our society. I don't buy that argument.
For one, a person will not need to kill another because they want his or her firearm. They will be able to get what they want for themselves pretty easily in the first place. It may also be argued that gangs of miscreants will be formed and these groups will terrorise the society. Wake up, it is happening now and has been for some time.
Those who say that there will be more domestic murders may have a needle-sized point. However, I believe that we would have more a change of method than an increase in numbers. In other words, a man who shoots his woman and then himself would have stabbed her and then cracked his own neck with a rope anyway.
What I do believe 'guns for all' would lead to is a reduction in crime. There are not many 'bad men' around. There are many vicious thugs, but not man real 'bad man'. The bad man is fearless, real Clint Eastwood B-Movie fearless. The 'shotta' is a person with a gun who preys on people who have none, or who attacks those who do in vastly superior numbers.
(An aside. We often confuse cruelty and courage, mistaking those who practice the former vice as possessing the latter quality).
How many robbers would brazenly walk into a businessplace and demand the cash if they could not tell what sort of firepower lay between them and the safety of their lairs, what with the proliferation of cellular phones? How many criminals would try to break into someone's home in the night if they did not know if a shotgun was waiting with a shell marked 'tief'?
And how many rapists and car thieves would prey on women if they did not know if she had a .32, .22. or .38 to defend herself and her property? Many snort at Neighbourhood Watch signs, but how many would test 'Neighbourhood Shot' ones?
Not many of these snivelling shottas, I am willing to bet.
Do you remember the arms race? There was enough nuclear power on both sides to destroy the world several times over, but nobody squeezed the red button. The thing with war is that everybody wants to live. And that applies to the criminal as well.
So I say guns for all adults, 25 and over. The Government seems unable to provide security for all (what is the average reaction time to 119 calls anyway?), as well as unable to remove all illegal firearms.
I heard a man on radio attributing the firepower in an inner-city community to the residents needing to defend themselves. So what am I in my middle-class neighbourhood, too poor to afford private security and too nice to get a tool?
A nice, helpless target?
Melville Cooke is a freelance writer.