The implements of violence are designed for multiplying natural strength. Certainly, barehanded, one human can kill another.
Advantages in this type of confrontation may go to size advantage ... an adult versus a child, a larger stronger adult against a smaller less strong adult, and may go as well to those trained in the art of fighting. A trained martial artist may defeat a larger untrained adversary.
Many of the people who are participating in the gun violence discussion in our communities are quick to point out that if people want to kill other people ... they will, with or without guns. This is a truth, but it does not, to my mind, begin to get towards the issue of advantage. I may kill someone with my hands, or with a rock in my hands, but I must, in that case, be stronger or have some other clear advantage to guarantee success. In other words, wherever I can increase advantage, the likelihood that I survive and my target "loses" is increased.
Guns are designed to multiply the killing strength of the shooter. The technology is very advanced ... one wonders what limits there are on improving weapons ... but suffice it to say that current mass produced firearms are very efficient killing machines whether the weapon is pointed at squirrels or an "enemy" or at school children.
The shooter may be physically weak, small, a person who could never engage in hand-to-hand combat with any predictable success. Even skill, to a large extent, has gone by the boards as a hail of bullets in the general direction of one's target is likely to hit something. One could be very physically challenged or simply be very average physically and use state of the art weapons successfully to incredibly destructive ends. A gun, to make this point simple, both extends your arm from a few feet to hundreds of feet or even hundreds of yards. It "changes" your arm from something that must be strengthened to kill anything but children, or trained extensively to kill adults with reliability ... into a powerful invasive force capable of smashing through soft tissue, bone and even protective gear, to enter the opponents body, destroying organs, creating hemorrhage, and making it highly likely that an opponent is severely disabled or killed.
A gun is a highly refined killing machine.
The state of the art weaponry is the zenith of centuries of focused technological refinement. The fact of the killing advantage provided by guns is obvious and not lost at all for the gun proponents or even simple hunters. Killing successfully ... faster, more predicably, at greater range, etc., IS THE POINT OF GUNS.
Those gun proponents who make the case that people would kill each other with clubs if guns were not accessible are disingenuous ... They have purchased what they have precisely because of the effectiveness of the killing design given what they can afford. We cannot ban ALL guns because we cannot ban ALL potential weapons. What we can do, AS A PART of the process of reducing gun related deaths in our country, is reduce the ADVANTAGE of perpetrators. Their advantage has to do with both the type of weapon they are able to bring to their party of destruction and to the relative anonymity they may maintain ... in assembling their advantage. This being the case, we are talking both about increasing restrictions on obvious logistic advantages and enhancing the ability of the enforcement community, federal and local, to flag, identify and apprehend, potential perps preventatively.
In addition we are talking about improving the structure of our laws regarding sales, registration, ownership and employment of weapons in such a way that the chances of gun related violence are LESSENED significantly as potentially dangerous operators are prevented from having access to these efficient machines. To eliminate violence is impossible short of eliminating the human race. We don't need to beat this dead horse further in bloggersation that points out the obvious: nothing will eliminate all violence. It's a ridiculous tact to take in pro-stasis arguments. Nothing will eliminate all car accidents but do you prefer a car with airbags and state of the art brakes, to one not equipped? Moreover, do you like driving with unregulated drivers and vehicles on the road next to you and your family? So the object at hand is to look into ways we can DECREASE gun related violence ... the advantage of guns, and particular types of guns being forefront in our minds.
If the CT shooter had a knife in hand there is little doubt there would have been fewer dead. People buy guns because knives do not provide the advantage they need to kill deer or bears or people. I think that there are great suggestions out there in this global conversation relative to lessening the stats on gun related murder and death. There are examples of national actions that have been relatively effective ... examples that are measured and qualified such as Australian policy changes.
Locally, I think Lyle Ruble has provided a basis of ideas from which changes might be made ... or the discussion vectored. These do not involve total bans but are in the nature of requiring that gun owners be responsible for their weapons and that, assuming they purchased weapons for purposes with the laws, they have no problem being known as weapons owners ... being screened prior to purchasing, etc.
I will quote Lyle Rubles recent suggestion:
"Along with my proposal on ammunition, which I will explain in more detail; I am proposing guns must be titled and then registered. A process very similar to the one that is used with vehicles. A firearm titled to one person holds that person responsible and if they sell the firearm, it will require a transfer of title and background check. The new owner would have to register the firearm under their name. To sell a firearm without retitling and registration would leave the old owner liable, which could carry considerable fines and possible criminal charges.
"A titled and registered owner that doesn't report a firearm lost or stolen, would also be subject to fines and possible criminal charges. Ammunition could only be sold to individuals with current registration for each firearm and then a limit of ammunition sold. I also want a brass exchange program where you can only buy as many rounds as the number of pieces of brass turned in. The self loading crowd would be limited to so much powder and projectiles per month.
"For those that like to target shoot, they could go to a licensed range, buy range ammunition from the range and turn in any unused rounds for refund or credit. Legal firearms would be re-registered every two years and registration fees would be based on type of firearm. All revenues generated by firearm fees would be dedicated to enforcement and gun safety courses. " — Lyle Ruble, Shorewood, WI.
I don't know that Lyle's plan is the best but it certainly has the bones to lead an intelligent discussion about LESSENING gun related violence in our country. The point is, ther ARE intelligent ideas that can be put into action and that stand a good chance of decreasing what I hope is an unacceptable level of gun violence to most Americans. This is no silver bullet solution, so to speak. Any improvements will be multiple-faceted and, no doubt, will need trials, modifications, etc., as assessment suggests. Rational yet compassionate humans can revise laws in humane manners that respect human rights. Hopefully the constitution was a notable attempt at crafting laws that protected civilians. There is no reason to believe we have achieved the most we are capable of in this challenge.