No, Choose, an AR-15 Is Not a Swiss Army Knife
One of my favorite tools on my Swiss Army Knife is the toothpick. It’s cleverly hidden in the body of the knife and is useful after you’ve eaten anything that tastes like chicken; It’s also great for pulling pulled pork out of your molars.
Whenever my knees allowed me to hike in the Colorado Rockies, I always packed my trusted Swiss companion. I loved its smooth, flat finish and all the wonderful ways I could use its many MacGyver-like features.
The tweezers tore out splinters of wood. The can opener opened many cans of Dinty Moore stew. Cheese had no chance against the toothed wood saw. Scissors worked great on malignant eyebrow hair. I could never figure out the “reamer”, but I still felt better when I knew it was there.
One purpose I never envisioned for my trusty knife, however, was self-defense. Bears have always been a concern; Humans pose an even greater threat. (They still are.) But what would I have done if I faced such vicious beasts? Whipped my Phillips screwdriver? Or attack them with the multipurpose hook?
It turned out that I was wrong.
Recently, US District Judge Roger Benitez from the southern district of California overturned the state’s longstanding ban on assault weapons and equated an AR-15, the weapon of choice for mass shooters, with my Swiss Army knife.
The judge’s reasoning sounds like from the National Rifle Association’s Hymnal of Stupidity or a blurb from an earlier Sears Roebuck catalog: “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and home defense equipment.” I am surprised that he did not confirm the NRA’s acceptance of the AR-15 as “America’s rifle”.
The judge’s decision was made on the day the gun violence was cleared up, making this a perfect storm of insensitivity and insanity. (It also led me to re-question the logic of appointing federal judges for life.)
But wait, there’s more! “This is an average case for average weapons used in average ways for average purposes,” said Benitez, a George W. Bush– appointed judge. “You are forgiven if you are convinced by the news media and others that the nation is being flooded with grueling AR-15 assault rifles. However, the facts do not support this exaggeration, and facts are important. “
AR-15: Weapon du Jour in mass killings
The NRA estimates that more than eight million AR-15s or their variants are currently in American hands. No wonder it has become the weapon of the Jours in mass murders. But it’s always the media to blame!
In contrast to a Swiss Army Knife, an AR-15 has a basic function: to kill as many people as possible quickly with as little effort as possible. People who look like you and me; our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our uncles and aunts, our children.
An AR-15 indiscriminately kills people in churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, K-12 schools, country and western concerts, grocery stores, shopping malls, street corners, and movie theaters.
And thanks to the lobbying of the NRA and a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment, Americans can own as many of these long guns as we want.
Americans like Stephen Paddock. Because there have been so many mass shootings in the United States, you may not remember Paddock. He was the kind of guy who decided to slaughter 60 people and wound another 400 or so from his Las Vegas hotel room. Police found 23 rifles in the hotel room, including 14 AR-15s with extended ammunition supplies. 19 other weapons were found in his apartment. I can’t confirm or deny that Swiss Army knives were found in the hotel room or in that monster hut, but I have a pretty good idea that knives weren’t his thing.
By the way, Nevada allows you to own machine guns. It’s called the Wild West for a reason.
People flee from shootings at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Photo: David Becker / Getty Images
Note that there are no secret compartments in AR-15s. No toothpicks. No corkscrews. No can openers or tweezers. But there is a compartment for balls – lots of balls.
Another fact for Judge Benitez: I don’t know anyone who has ever been killed by a Swiss Army knife.
But don’t take my word for it. “My daughter is in a cemetery … because no Swiss Army Knife was used. Because it was an AR-15, ”said a gun control activist Fred Guttenberg said on CNN. “If a Swiss Army Knife were used, my daughter and most of these other children and adults would be alive today.”
He is referring to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, in which 17 people were shot, including Guttenberg’s beautiful daughter Jaime. The weapon of choice? Smith and Wessons M & P15, the company’s version of the AR-15.
Yup folks, just an average weapon used for an average purpose on another average day of mass murder in a nation that has below average expectations of ever doing anything about it.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.