American Moloch. Image via.
First, of all read this.
own a handgun. It’s a simple Ruger P95 9x19mm pistol. I bought it
years and years ago when I lived in a terrible, terrible apartment in a
shitty, crime-ridden neighborhood. It cost me a couple of hundred
I bought this weapon for one reason–I might need to
point it at another human, discharge rounds, and murder him (if the
anticipated scenario had come to pass, the target would almost certainly
have been a “him”). I had no illusions what it was for. I kept it by
my bed for the year I lived there; magazine in, no round chambered. I
bought a weapon with no external safety because I knew exactly what I
was getting it for. I wasn’t “defending freedom” or “resisting tyranny” or “being a
responsible gun owner.” I bought it because I might have to murder
someone who came into my bedroom. They could’ve taken the TV and VCR; I
wouldn’t have given a fuck. But there was the distinct possibility
that I would need to end another human’s life because mine was in
That scenario never came to pass. But I held on to
the weapon, and would occasionally go to a range to keep my skills
sharp. Then I stopped doing that. Now, for the last five years, it’s
just sat in a case in my closet. I take it out once a month, clean it,
oil it, and put it back. I never got rid of it because I thought I
wouldn’t make my initial investment back, and I knew that at least it
wasn’t endangering anyone locked away in my closet.
Today, I shattered the stock, spiked the barrel, snipped the springs, tossed the
firing pin into a sewer grate, and otherwise destroyed it.
You see, my reasons for not getting rid of it were bullshit. I’ve never
bought anything else and not ditched it because I would have lost money
in the deal. And I know the statistics that say that households in which there are guns are far less safe than those without guns. I pride myself on having an empirical approach to life; I like to go where the data lead me. But I wasn’t doing that here. The data say: get rid of it. And I didn’t. I held onto it because we’re trained to have an irrational adoration of firearms; in a way, we’re told that it’s our duty to own them.
Well, fuck that. I
don’t need this anymore. I have come to realize that there are no “bad
guys” who exist outside of us. The people who use firearms to hurt other people aren’t monsters from another dimension. They are us. We are all good and bad, and some of us
just have bad days–maybe you’re at the end of yoru rope financially, or maybe you’re inconsolably heartbroken, or maybe you’re dealing with an improperly treated illness, or maybe you’re dealing with any one of the other thousand ways the world can collapse on you. When this happens, some of us might see reckless use of a firearm as an answer to
what’s bothering us. That means that, if you have access to a firearm, your very bad day may give other people unimaginably bad days. That’s never an answer, and I’m removing that possibility from
my life and the lives of people who enter my house.
I’ve seen estimates that there are 270,000,000 privately-owned firearms in the
United States. Getting rid of one of them isn’t going to make a huge
dent in that. But 269,999,999 is still less than 270,000,000, and I’ll
sleep more soundly at night knowing that this tool that I bought with
the express purpose of harming other people (yes, they may have intended
me harm, but that was still why I bought it) will never ever have the
chance to harm anyone.
I used to own a handgun. I don’t anymore. Consider this my sacrifice to defeat Moloch.