The .223 caliber Bushmaster AR 17 has been named Time magazine’s Gun of the Year and was voted weapon of choice by mass murderers across the United States.
Not really. But the Bushmaster fills the bill:
The Bushmaster was the gun Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and seven adults, including his mom and himself.
Jacob Tyler Roberts found the semi-automatic B-Master just the tool to kill two people and himself at an Oregon shopping mall last week.
It was also one of the weapons allegedly brandished by James Holmes, charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 while appearing to wear a red fright wig at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., earlier this summer.
John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo used a Bushmaster knock-off to kill 10 and wound three others in the Beltway Sniper shootings.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports that more than 2 million AR-15-type rifles have been sold by various manufacturers. It’s a weapon of choice among firearm enthusiasts and is “hugely popular for recreational target shooting,” according to Guns and Ammo.
Among the gun’s fans is Mensa candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Bachmann said during her presidential campaign that the AR-15 is her favorite gun “because you can be so accurate with it.” From Sarah Palin’s back porch, Michele could probably wing Boris Putin.
What makes the Bushmaster such a lethal companion to deranged shooters? In spite of Rep. Bachmann’s endorsement, the Bushmaster is no more accurate than dozens of other rifles. It shoots no faster (the civilian versions fire once each time the user pulls the trigger). It is no more powerful. It’s available in a half-dozen calibers, but so are a raft of hunting rifles.
The truth is simple - like the typical Bushman owner. The Bushman is GI Joe’s weapon. It’s the gun you buy if you want to play “Army Guy,” if you want to be pretend you are in combat.
A grownup doesn’t have to be crazy to pretend he/she is cutting down insurgents or terrorists with the combat look-alike but I wouldn’t fault anyone who judged them a little south by southwest.
If not for playing cowboys and Al Qaeda, what use does a civilian have for an assault rifle? I use the Bushmaster as a good bad example. No matter the style or caliber, any gun will draw supporters and those who would have it banned.
More than a few gun lovers would have teachers, the janitor and the soccer coach carry guns. Gun-free areas are magnets for loony mass murderers, they say. Armed hall monitors would keep the loons away. Or would they?
Consider Adam Lanza’s mom. The rifle she bought and taught her son to shoot did a lame job of protecting her.
The National Rifle Association – the most powerful lobbying organization in the nation – has dodged the question. When its Facebook Page was flooded, the NRA pulled it down.
The National Gun Owners Association (an NRA rival) went into attack mode, shaming the NRA for backing away from a good fight.
Then the NRA reappeared with a message that shocked almost everyone: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer and executive vice president. The NRA called on Congress to put armed cops in every school.
Moving graveyards would be an easier political task.
Thus we arrive where we began. The circle is complete. Guns are dangerous. Killing is a damned shame, and who knows what can be done.