Friday, July 4, 2014

 The Much Maligned “9”

     It happened again at an afternoon barbeque a few months ago.  One new acquaintance commented he was looking at buying a new pistol.
     “What caliber?” Asked the other new acquaintance.
     “I dunno,” first guy said.  “Nine millimeter, I think.”
     “Huh,” sneered second new acquaintance.  “Just going to tick him off.” 
     The first new guy shrugged helplessly as if to say, “Well, what do I know. I bow to your superior experience and ballistic knowledge.”
     I generally try to not comment when people make stupid statements about guns.  It’s like arguing with a drunk or a dog.  When it’s over, the guy will still be drunk, and the dog will be confused.
     But this fallacy has become so entrenched in our gun culture, I can’t keep quiet—at least once monthly someone makes a disparaging remark about the effectiveness of the 9MM cartridge in handguns.
     I try really hard not to sound as smart-ass as the second guy when I comment—sometimes, I’m successful.
     “Lessee,” I chimed in at that moment.  “That shooting that occurred up there in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007 at Virginia Tech.  That South Korean nutcase, Seung-Hui Cho—he killed 33 people with…oh yeah—a nine millimeter.”
     “And the Luby’s Cafeteria shootings in Killeen, Texas back in 1991—that guy killed 24 people—with a—oh yeah.  A nine millimeter--but a nine millimeter won’t kill anybody...”
     The current disaffection in this country with the 9MM pistol cartridge can be traced back to the infamous Miami shootout in 1986 between two heavily armed armored truck and bank robbers and the contingent of FBI agents that had been hunting them.
     Armed with an arsenal of weapons including a Ruger .223 semi-auto rifle, these two killers had decided they would not be taken alive.

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