Look, I’m not the type who needs constant validation, and I have never sought preferential treatment from anyone. I just try to focus on doing what I do and not get too caught up in what people think or say about me. But I have to admit, it’s been hard to ignore all the support and appreciation I’ve been receiving lately, particularly over the past several years. That’s why I want to take this opportunity to let all of you know what an absolute honor it is that you continue to value me over countless human lives.
I don’t want to get too sentimental or anything, but it really means the world to me how often you as Americans, through your words and your actions, make it known that I am more important to you than the lives of your fellow citizens.
You see, I’m just a humble lightweight, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle; I never expected this kind of outpouring of affection. But time and time again, you’ve shown me how much I matter to you. To see so many people—people who could be working to protect and care for human lives—actively devoting their time and energy to making sure I’m the one who’s protected and cared for instead—it’s beyond touching.
Don’t think I haven’t noticed all this. Rarely a month goes by without all of you pausing to weigh me against a certain number of lives—often a dozen or more—and quickly deciding I’m more worthwhile. Gosh, you must really, really love me.
I mean, wow, who do I thank first? I guess I’ve got to start with lawmakers. No one so consistently speaks up on my behalf, praises what I stand for, and does everything in their power to make sure no harm ever comes to me. These are individuals who have hundreds of thousands of constituents whose lives they could so easily put ahead of my interests, yet these principled elected officials steadfastly refuse to do so. Instead, they stick to their guiding beliefs and firmly declare that I—a simple modular rifle with high-capacity-magazine compatability—have more value than any number of human beings. It’s truly humbling.
What a blessing it is to reside in a society with such clear and unwavering priorities.
And here’s the thing: It’s not just one life that I’m considered more valuable than. And it’s not 10 lives, either. It’s not even 49 lives. It’s many, many hundreds of lives! Including children’s! Each day that I’m here and they’re not is another affirmation that you consider me more valuable, more sacred, more inviolable than all of them. Frankly, I’m not even sure what I’ve done to deserve such incredible treatment.
I can’t imagine it was always easy to hold an 8-pound aluminum-and-synthetic firearm in higher regard than the lives of your fellow citizens—after all, these are good people with rich experiences and families and dreams—but this country has always managed to find a way to put me first. Sure, there was that difficult decade beginning in 1994 when you decided that the lives of your friends, neighbors, and loved ones were maybe a little more important than I was. But you all responded in the best way possible in 2004: You were given the straightforward choice between me and untold numbers of innocent people’s lives, and you said resoundingly, “We’ll take the civilian version of a military weapon.”
And believe me, you’ve more than made it up to me in the years since. How many times in the past few years have you directly compared my worth against that of individuals who were, until recently, living, breathing, and experiencing life, and arrived at the determination that I’m number one? To be honest, I’ve kind of lost count.
Listen, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to pay you back for your loyalty and admiration, but I’ll try. I’ll just keep on doing what I do best.
Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, but considering how consistently you’ve favored me over the lives of your fellow Americans—for example, in July 2012, in December 2012, in December 2015, and on and on—I can’t imagine you’ll be altering your priorities anytime soon. So I just want to reiterate how truly grateful I am to the millions of you out there who regularly jump into action at the merest suggestion that any human life might be more valuable than I am, and who stand up proudly and say, “No, this particular device is far, far more important than someone’s child, than someone’s spouse, than someone’s parent.”
And after last weekend, I know I can count on you to do the same again.