11 February 2013

My Pretty Pink Pisol

News item: In Greenville, South Carolina, a seven-year-old girl and her three-year-old brother began playing with what they may have thought was a toy – a pretty pink pistol. As it turns out, it was an actual weapon. The weapon discharged, killing the little boy.

That children had access to a firearm is a shocking departure from good sense. Having a weapon, loaded or not, where a child can lay hands on it is unthinkable.   I have no doubt this was not intentional and that the family is prostrate with grief and regret and guilt. Departing from an ironclad safety consciousness is fraught with horrible danger.

I would also note that it is likely that the weapon had a round chambered. It is never, never, never a sufficient safety precaution to leave a semi-automatic weapon (not on your person) without a round in the chamber. However, as a rule small children do not have the hand strength to chamber a round.

The point of the news story was that the pistol was pink and so, to the children, apparently a toy.  Bad gun.  Bad gun.

I’m not sure. Children are drawn to adult things. Children are particularly drawn to dangerous adult things – guns, knives, hypodermic needles, swimming pools, motorcycles, whatever.

And yet this “pretty in pink” phenomenon is a trivial and fundamentally dishonest creation. Turning a weapon into a cutesy object of adornment is a tasteless abomination.  And it makes it more attractive to children.

Firearms are machines. To function, the steel has to be manufactured to very close tolerances, in the realm of thousanths of a inch. Firearms are subject to sudden, very high pressures, sudden violent motion, and sudden heat. They are built for a service life of decades.

There’s always the question of how to protect the metal in a firearm from corrosion. Whatever is used for protection has to be thin enough that the parts still fit. The traditional protection has been a chemical “bluing” process which gives steel a dark blue/black color. Plating with nickel or other metals has been done successfully. More recently, firearms have been manufactured of high-grade stainless steel.

Some few years ago, someone developed a hard, thin opaque coating capable of being colored. One of the first custom applications was on firearms by criminals and gangs, where guns are treated as macabre toys and status symbols. Bulletins were circulated to law enforcement agencies so that police officers would not mistake these toy-like devices for anything but what they were, operable weapons.

Inevitably, some aftermarket manufacturers saw a commercial application for consumers who want their weapons prettied up - those with a hell of a lot more money than brains. Unfortunately, I can picture the idle, airheaded idiots who might want a pink pistol.

But the whole multicolored phenomenon is just another turning away from reality. Mind you, it’s just one minor example. Something that randomly comes to mind is that those who eat fast food burgers probably cannot stand to think about what must happen to get the animals slaughtered, cut up and into the burgers. Reality is a bitch.

Prettying up a weapon does not make it less lethal.  A pistol, even a pretty pink one, still is not something to pull from storage or pull from a holster without a DAMN good reason - and showing off your pretty pistol is NOT a good reason.

No, I’m not calling for a ban on pink pistols. That would be just another little Band-Aid hiding a problem with our culture.

This polemic today is just a datum, another departure from reality which leaves victims in its wake.

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