Richard Branson, the billionaire business magnate, reposted a stupid anti-gun poster this week on Facebook.
The poster displayed a revolver that was painted like the American flag, with red and white stripes and white stars outlined in blue. It rattled off the number of handgun deaths in various countries and then ended with, “10,728 In the United States,” followed by “God Bless America” and finally, “Stop Handguns Before They Stop You.”
When Branson put it up on his Facebook page he included this message, “Our thoughts go to every family who lost a loved one.”
Sure, Branson’s got a right to freely speak his mind. And his sympathy for victims of gun-related violence is sincere and is duly noted. But his apparent belief that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to possess, own, buy, sell and carry handguns is exactly the type of claptrap gun owners often hear from ignorant anti-gunners.
Branson’s a smart and successful guy, but when it comes to the issue of guns he simply has not done his research. For starters, those stats don’t differentiate between legal gun owners and criminals. Moreover, they don’t account for how many of those killed were linked to drugs and/or gangs. Also, it’s not clear if that figure includes suicides. I bring up all these points because, well, to state the obvious, guns don’t kill people by themselves it takes a human being to pull the trigger, and to ignore this aspect of the debate would be similar to arguing that we need to ban all automobiles because there are drunk drivers on the road. Branson’s not coming out with a poster saying, “Stop Cars Before They Stop You.”
Yeah, so, why is it with firearms do we focus on the gun, the physical object, and not the individual pulling the trigger? It makes no sense. Just as we need to stop drunk drivers we need to stop criminals. That ought to be the focus.
The other point to be made is that Branson ignores all of the positive aspects of gun ownership. Hunting, sporting, but mainly, the fact that firearms are used at the very least as much to stop crime as they are to perpetrate it. Defensive gun uses in this country are very common (somewhere between 200,000 to 3 million per year, depending on what social scientist and/or economist one consults), but unfortunately they often go unreported on the national news. The public just doesn’t realize how frequently good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. I bet Branson doesn’t either.
In any event, that was a rather long digression. What I wanted to say in writing this is that I posted Branson’s poster to the GunsAmerica Facebook page and within minutes our fans began responding to it en masse. As always with social media, some of the responses were funny, others were insightful (many pointed out what I did in the paragraphs above) and some were outrageous and bawdy and everything in between. I decided to focus on the humorous, witty ones. So, here are some of my favorites:
Jim Symons, “Won’t be flying Virgin.”
Louis Paul Kadubic, “Now I want a revolver painted like that one. Thanks Dick Branson!”
Terry Hayworth, “He is an ass clown”
Ian Dietz, “West Germany….. God this is a 90’s ads?”
Melissa Windham, “‘Handguns’ is spelled wrong. It’s spelled ‘crazy people’ and they left out thousands of others wielding rocks, bats, knives, tools and other weapons.”
Leo Torres, “GOD DEFINITELY BLESS AMERICA!”
Aaron Scott, “How many teenagers were killed texting on their virgin mobile phones while driving.”
Garrett Ames, “250,000 killed by doctors.”
Andsebber Anber, “Wanker”
Steve Skinner, “Hooray for random unchecked and unsubstantiated facts! Oh wait… Its on Facebook, it must be true.”
Jeff Smith, “God Bless Texas! I am a ‘Bitter Clinger’”
Gary Ivy, “Freedom has a price. Socialist has a cost!”
Leslie Nelson, “In the immortal words of Archie Bunker, ‘Would it make you feel better if they had been pushed in front of a train, little girl?’”