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Allegory of the Killing Devices

Updated on June 15, 2016

The semantic problem behind gun control

Here is a thought:

Imagine that there is a Scientist that has finished working on his latest creation. It is a masterpiece. Elated, he calls for the Leader of the land to enter his laboratory to bear witness to the completed product. The King walks in with his advisors and listens to the Scientist explain his latest invention.

The Scientist shows the device to the King, and describes it for him. It is about the size of a remote control, with a single red button on top, and an antenna.

The King inquisitively asks what it does, and the scientist explains that it is a “Killing Device”. The King’s eyes widen at those words, and he asks how it works. The scientist explains that you simply point the antenna at just about any living thing, press the red button, and the thing dies. He mentions, that you could do this over a dozen times before the battery pack is expended, in which case you simply have to replace the pack and you can repeat the process about a dozen more times. He also stresses that the “Killing Device” works best when pointed at major organs.

The King is beyond words at this point, and imagines all of the possible applications of the device. He thinks of war, assassination, defense, hunting… all of the limitless possibilities that a “Killing Device” could provide. He commands that the Scientist replicate the device immediately so that everyone in the land could have one. The Scientist highly advises against this request, as the “Killing Device” should never fall into the wrong hands. Again the King commands the Scientist to replicate the device, more sternly this time, as he is filled with bloodlust over this new invention. The Scientist once more refuses.

The King then grabs the device from the Scientist and points it at the Scientist’s head, and presses the button. The Scientist instantly falls dead to the floor. Then the King quickly puts a team together to work restlessly to replicate the “Killing Device”. Soon there are hundreds of shops that sell “Killing Devices” across the land. Even food stores become heavily stocked with “Killing Devices” and battery packs for the “Killing Devices” for a very reasonable price.

Finally, there is a “Killing Device” for every man, woman, and child in the land; a total of over 300 million.


Now, if someone told you this story as a young child, you would think everyone was crazy. The King, the Scientist, the people. You would wonder how long it would take before everyone would kill themselves. Yet, oddly enough this is the very World we live in today (in America).

In the great gun-debate of today, as it is in America, there lies a problem with the debate itself. That problem is in the simple euphemism of the subject at hand: “Gun”. I propose we call them what they are: Killing Devices. Once we call them Killing Devices the debate becomes much clearer, albeit still complex.

This allegory is merely a though-experiment, but is meant to put the severity of the situation into focus. With this now in mind, consider the same questions we have been asking, and see if anything changes:

1) If everyone has a Killing Device, is everyone safe? Is anyone safe?

2) Who should have Killing Devices, IF anyone?

3) If someone does have a Killing Device, should they be trusted?

4) How easy should it be for anyone (including a child of 18 years old – yes, 18 year olds are children to me) to acquire a Killing Device?

5) What do we do if only a certain percent of the population has Killing Devices?

  1. Should people with Killing Devices be expected to relinquish them?

6) Should we re-consider the King’s law to allow Killing Devices to be mass produced, sold to just about anyone, and carried by just about anyone in the Land?

7) Should Killing Devices be further enhanced to allow someone to hold the button down and have the ability to kill dozens of things (including people) at a time in mere seconds?

  1. If the enhanced Killing Device is created (Killing Device 2.0), should it also be available to everyone in the land?

Question 1

If everyone has a Killing Device, is everyone safe? Is anyone safe?

See results

Question 2

Who should have Killing Devices, if anyone?

See results

Question 3

If someone does have a Killing Device, should they be trusted?

See results

Question 4

How easy should it be for anyone to acquire a Killing Device?

See results

Question 5

What do we do if only a certain percent of the population has Killing Devices?

See results

Question 6

Should we re-consider the King’s law to allow Killing Devices to be mass produced, sold to just about anyone, and carried by just about anyone in the Land?

See results

Question 7

Should Killing Devices be further enhanced to allow someone to hold the button down and have the ability to kill dozens of things (including people) at a time in mere seconds?

See results

Question 8

If the enhanced Killing Device is created (Killing Device 2.0), should it also be available to everyone in the land?

See results

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