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When Bushmasters Were Snakes In South America, Not Assault Weapons That Kill Our Children

Updated on December 30, 2012

Bushmasters Hunt People, Not Ducks

Bushmaster, Inc. has been manufacturing assault weapons since 1978. They are sold to police, the military and, according to Bushmaster, Inc.'s own website, families that seek to protect their homes. Up until a few days ago, their website showed a picture of one of their Bushmaster assault weapons and the caption above the picture stated, "With Justice For All". That "justice" seeking Bushmaster has, most recently, been the weapon that mowed-down 20 of our country's first graders and 6 of their teachers and other school officials. Bushmasters are not just deadly South American pit vipers anymore.

For the law enforcement community, SWAT Teams and our military, they are necessary, but make no mistake, they are weapons designed to hunt people, not ducks. Each magazine, which holds bullets, can hold anywhere from 15 to 100 rounds. You ever try shooting a duck with an assault rifle? I guarantee, that duck is not going to be edible, much less identifiable. None of us can even imagine, except for the parents in Newtown, Connecticut, what that assault weapon can do to the body of a 6 year-old baby.

They Are Coming For Your Guns, America!

No one is coming for America's guns. The argument holds no water, is not credible, and is only made by a paranoid few who refuse to face reality. It is time that America comes to terms with and faces reality. If we, as a country, have a soul, we must. Hunters will still be able to hunt, families will still be able to protect their homes, but as a country with a soul, we have to decide that people-hunting guns are inappropriate for civilian use and ownership. Not even a liberal lefty like me is advocating that guns be confiscated by an over-reaching government. Not only must people-hunting guns be strictly regulated, but magazines that hold multiple rounds (do you really need a 10, 15, 30 or 100 bullet magazine?) must be legislated. Armor piercing bullets must be outlawed.

I shot my first gun when I was 13. It was a single-shot 22 caliber rifle. We had moved 15 miles from the nearest town, out to the country and the nearest neighbor was acres away. The sheriff was at least an hour away. I was the oldest and when my parents were away for some reason, that gun made me feel safe. Whether it was a bobcat attacking one of our dogs, or a 5 foot long rattlesnake curled up under that damn orange tree that was too close to the house, I had no problem taking care of them. Even when the crazy neighbor who lived in a shack 1/4 mile away (my parents told me to stay away from him) confronted me one day while I was alone and threatened to stab me and my dog, that 22 sent him running, never to return. I didn't need a Bushmaster to defend myself or my brother or sister.

I have a gun today. It is a small 38 caliber pistol that holds 5 bullets. I know how to use it. I know how to clean it. The only time I ever used it was when my younger daughter, 15 at the time, decided, over my objections, that she was going to date a 23 year old man. She called me, a single mom, and told me that she was bringing this guy home to meet me. When they arrived at the house, there I was, sitting at the dining room table, cleaning my little 38. Within 15 minutes, the guy was out the door, and as she followed him, I could hear him saying, "Your mom is a psycho. She has a gun and I can't go out with you." The 38 went back into the locked case and I haven't taken it out for many years.

No civilian can present a valid argument for owning a Bushmaster. Don't even try it! When the second amendment was adopted, muskets were the weapons in existence. The founding fathers weren't talking about citizens arming themselves with Bushmasters. They were talking about muskets. Stay true to the founding fathers? The founding fathers owned slaves and women couldn't vote. Times have changed and we must change with the times.

So, no, I am not advocating that hunters should lose their ability to hunt or that families should be left defenseless, my premise is a simple one: People-hunting guns like the Bushmaster must be prohibited for use by civilians. The term civilian includes any of the various self-identified "separatist militias" that have their compounds and hidden safe-havens in sparsely popuated areas of this country. You are not militias. For the most part, you are a group of like-minded paranoid and dangerous extremists. And no, one man with 20 Bushmasters in his home does not a militia make. Any individual who insists that his massive collection of people-hunting weapons is necessary to protect himself from a tyrannical government is more than a little paranoid and just may qualify as someone who has a mental illness.

Our Mental Health System Is Broken

The conversation about mental health is an equally important factor in this discussion because gun control legislation alone will not lessen mass killings or other atrocities. We have abdicated our responsibility to the mentally ill in this country. Access to quality care is challenged, and is often an insurmountable challenge for families with a mentally ill family member. Mothers and fathers throughout this country are beside themselves because they cannot get adequate treatment or services for their children. It is even a problem to come up with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for those families that have insurance. It is a worse, and often impossible problem when financial resources are limited and medical insurance is lacking.

We can no longer sweep the issue of mental illness under the American rug of denial. It must be part of any conversation about violence.

Enough Is Enough!

Our hearts are broken. Twenty of our beautiful babies will not have Christmas this year. Santa will not come. They will miss all Christmases to come. This is the time to have the conversations that we may not want to have. This is also the time to say enough is enough, and this time we must act.

We may not prevent any and all violence in the future, but we have to try.


Submit a Comment

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    Hi, HSchneider,

    The gun show 'loophole' is unacceptable. Must be changed! Large clips can turn most guns into an assault weapon, in my opinion. The idea that the fight may come down to whether it is one bullet per trigger pull or multiple bullets per trigger pull is also absurd.

    The current definition of assault weapon is ludicrous!

  • profile image

    Howard Schneider 

    5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

    Great Hub, Jillian. Bushmasters are not classified as assault weapons but should be. They and all assault weapons should be made illegal for civilian use. They are only for killing people. The loophole on background checks for gun shows should be closed also.

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Credence2,

    My three kids, now all grown, still laugh about the gun cleaning incident and how quickly the guy disappeared. Had to be the mom AND the dad! That was the 'dad' side of me.

    I agree that there is a fine line and we can not go overboard, but we have to start somewhere. If we make mistakes, we can correct them. If one thing does not help, we try another.

    The NRA? Let's see what they say at their press conference on Friday!

  • Credence2 profile image


    5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

    Jillian, you tickled me with the account of the young man coming over while you were cleaning your 'little 38'.

    There is a fine line between what I would consider military ordinance, possession of which is illegal, bazookas, hand granades etc. A weapon with a 100 round magazine may well qualify. We do not permit possession of fully automatic firearms, so distinctions are there. These continued outrages may be forcing us all to draw that fine line in just a bit tighter.

    Could not help but notice that the silence from the NRA in the light of this recent tragedy is obvious as someone screaming at the top of their lungs during a church service

    Fantastic article, thanks again...

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA


    As a Marine infantryman, (I was a Navy brat!) you, surely, must understand that the shooter who destroyed 20 of our babies was shooting at close range. He did not have a problem with accuracy. Each of those children were shot anywhere from 3 to 11 times. It was over (estimated by the State Troopers) in less than 2 minutes, when he knew that first responders had arrived, he shot himself.

    I clearly don't know as much about weapons as you, obviously, given your credentials- I just know that this is a growing problem and guns are involved. The DC sniper used a Bushmaster.

    I do not know how many foreign tours you have seen, but if you have been to Afghanistan, you must have even seen armed children. That is not a sight I want to see on every street corner in America.

    On a side note, my very best friend in the world is a psychiatric social worker for the V.A. Her patients, all of whom she loves dearly, suffer from PTSD and TBI, and to a one, have multiple weapons in their homes. She worries all the time because the rage that they convey to her, while justified, is frightening. Personally, and you may disagree, I don't think that they should be allowed to have guns given where they are in treatment. Too many tragedies waiting to happen.

    I did say that we as a nation have abdicated our responsibility to anyone suffering from mental illness. This is a complicated issue- It is not just about guns-it is also about mental health and the services that we do not seem to be offering, or that patients cannot access, but allowing guns to be sold so freely is a part of the problem that we cannot ignore.

    We are in disagreement, but please allow me, as a well-trained Navy brat who was issued in my father's seabag, to say, Semper Fi!

  • adjkp25 profile image


    5 years ago from Northern California

    @Rbostick - I think you missed my point a bit. Why do we need a rifle with a large capacity magazine? I know handguns have clips with multiple rounds but I don't believe they hold 30 rounds.

    Again, I don't care if people have guns...I just don't see the need for guns that can fire off so many rounds so quickly. You mention that some handguns can discharge one round per second, do we need weapons available to anyone that can do this?

  • Rbostick profile image

    Rick Bostick 

    5 years ago from Spearsville, LA

    I am a Marine infantryman, and I know exactly how dangerous these weapons are; not much more so than any semi-automatic on the market. 100 rounds in a minute sounds scary to those who do not know what guns are capable of, handguns are capable of 60 rounds per minute but at the highest rate of fire shooters lose accuracy. Fact is the shooters choose locations they can use their weapons most effectively, just like any other psycho bent on mass murder.

    Sure the Connecticut law may allow the grenade launcher attachment but there is no legal place to buy high explosive rounds in the US. Making the attachment purely cosmetic, just like every other feature of so called "Assault Weapons".

    All of the weapons banned under the AWB are semi-automatic. Just like most guns for sale today, and more importantly these weapons only account for about 2% of gun violence in the US.

    I do not disagree that murders or mass murders are a problem I just believe that guns are not the cause of the problem. It is the shooter behind the weapon that is the cause for concern.

    All said, I look forward to your next article, and discussing whatever matters we may.

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    I agree, adjkp25!

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA


    You clearly understand what we are saying- you are playing with semantics- I will not play. One trigger pull or a hundred without re-loading is the issue and you know it!

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    Sorry, Rbostick, but you are incorrect. Assault rifles equipped with a high capacity clip can get off 100 rounds in less than a minute- Don't believe me, check out the Bushmaster website yourself!

    Then check out the Connecticut law regarding firearms. That law, which is supposedly the 5th strongest in the country, allows Connecticut citizens to have a grenade launcher mounted on their assault rifles.

    Frankly, I do not care that some people may want these weapons for their 'collections'. Just because someone 'wants' something, does not make it a right to 'have' it. As for other 'mass killings', a civilized society tries their best to solve problems. If you cannot identify that this is a problem in our country, and that we must try to prevent the killings, then you and I will always disagree.

    If you are suggesting that the solution, or even a part of the solution is an armed population, then I put you in the same category with Louie Gohmert, and that is not where most people want to be...

  • Rbostick profile image

    Rick Bostick 

    5 years ago from Spearsville, LA


    These weapons are not any more multiple round than a standard handgun. They fire one bullet per one pull of the trigger, automatic weapons that fire more than one bullet per trigger pull have been illegal since 1934.

  • adjkp25 profile image


    5 years ago from Northern California

    I'm not a gun user but I know many who are. Personally I don't care if people have guns to hunt or protect themselves. What I don't understand is the need to have rifles with large magazines that repeatedly fire their entire clip.

    Shotguns are for hunting, so are single shot rifles; pistols can protect your residence...great! No complaints from me but does the average citizen really need one of these multiple round assault rifles that they can buy from someone like Walmart?

    They aren't for hunting, unless you like turning a deer into swiss cheese. Protection? Doubt it unless you are fighting off a pack of zombies. I guess I don't understand the need.

  • Rbostick profile image

    Rick Bostick 

    5 years ago from Spearsville, LA

    @Jillian Barclay

    Owning a firearm isn't always about a need, many people want these weapons for their personal collections. The weapons sold to civilians are imitations, they do not have selective fire capabilities, and they do not fire more than one round per pull of the trigger. Mass killings have occurred without the use of assault weapons and historically speaking the AWB did not lower the number of mass shootings.

    The people being attacked in these shootings are usually unarmed and in locations where the carry of any firearm is not allowed. A shooter with mass amounts of unarmed targets can cause mass casualties with any firearm, whether it is labeled as an "assault weapon" or not.

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA


    Imitations? Not hardly! Assault rifles are meant for assaults, not hunting. I am not talking about shootings; I am talking about mass shootings- those designed to kill as many as possible in the shortest amount of time. Tell me the reason that people, ordinary people need to have assault rifles?


    Thank you! I think that I have said before that you should be the actual Secretary of Explaining Stuff! I have added your article on the 2nd amendment as a link and the broad interpretation of the 2nd amendment probably allows us to have tanks, too. They are nothing more than vehicle-mounted guns. Everyone should have one!


    I read your article and loved it- have now included it as a link! Everyone should read it! And yes, there are those who immediately think that any mention of limits or conrols destroys their freedoms. Any society without limits or controls is not a society. It is anarchy!


    You make a very valid point!


    First, let me refer you back to peoplepower73's comment. Second, let me correct you. There was a ban on assault weapons. It expired. Your argument about taking away rights does not hold water. Having assault weapons is NOT a right, in my opinion, just as having a tank is not a right. A handgun will not kill 26 people in a matter of seconds, unless modified with a multiple round magazine, which should be outlawed.

    As for people so committed to carrying out terror attacks, you are right- evil is out there- but that does not mean that we should give in to it and say, "Oh, well, we are powerless. Let's just let it happen..." I do not feel powerless. I can work to help lessen the evil. We are not impotent!


  • Entourage_007 profile image


    5 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

    I am extremely saddened by the tragedy, but even a pistol would have been just as lethal as those guns. Everyone was defenseless, and just because he had an assault rifle, these tragedies ruin it for everyone that is actually sane. Of course no one in their right mind thinks of using assault rifles on people, but crazy people are out there, and the people that already have them, will be keeping them. Guns dont kill people, people kill people.

    If there is one thing that I learned from a very intelligent doctor in my political science class: Once you lose a right, you never get that right back - why would the government give you back power that they already took from you. Sure the government would love to outlaw assault rifles, because then they would be the only ones that would be able to use them if total chaotic marshal law kicked in. Secondly, what would be next if a guy decided to drive his car into a small portable room filled with people - would we outlaw cars? NO, its just that there are crazy people out there. Thirdly, What if someone went around putting rat poisin in peoples food at restauraunts in random places? Would we then outlaw rat poisin? Of course not, Assault rifles are deadly, so are guns, so are cars, so are prescription drugs, and so are baseball bats. Even a handgun could cause such devastation. But crazy people that cause crazy incidents should not make people consider taking away American rights that are allowed under the constitution.

    Even if they outlawed assault rifles, there would still be people that could carry out a deadly attack. So it wouldn't fix the actual problem, the problem is much more complex than that.

  • rasta1 profile image

    Marvin Parke 

    5 years ago from Jamaica

    This is an interesting angle. You really do not need a military weapon to defend yourself unless you are preparing for war.

  • peoplepower73 profile image

    Mike Russo 

    5 years ago from Placentia California

    Jillian: This is an excellent article and I agree with you totally. Here is a post that I just wrote on a forum about killing machines. It was in reply to this argument:

    "Just a small list of other easily used assault weapons and would you make these illegal too !



    -automobiles in crowds





    -cargo ships


    -water pollution

    -cell phones

    You just don't get the reality of the mental helth problems in America ........will you ever ?"

    Here is my reply:

    That is a very weak argument that the NRA uses. None of the items you mentioned were designed for mass killing, assault rifles are. Let's go the other way in your argument. The 2nd amendment says you have the right to bear arms. Today those arms include high capacity assault weapons. What's next, laser guided rifles, 50 caliber sniper rifles, rocket propelled grenades, stinger you get my point? The 2nd amendment was written in 1791 for people who had muskets. Even if an unstable person had one and fired it. There wouldn't be a mass killing, because it was a flintlock musket that fired one ball and then had to reloaded.

    The reality is of all the 10 amendments that make up our Bill of Rights, the 2nd amendment is not appropriate for our society today and needs to be rewritten for today's circumstances, until that is done, people like you will always say it is unconstitutional to ban my AR-15 and high capacity magazines...and that is true by the interpretation of a law that was written for another time and circumstances By the way AR stands for Assault Rifle.

    As far as today's reality of mental health problems goes, arming every civilian is not going to solve the mental health problems. Violence begets violence. It's like the parent that hits the kid who has hit his sibling and then tells the kid, I told you a hundred times not to hit your brother or sister as the parent continues to hit the kid.

    Thanks for writing this article Jillian, voting up, useful, and sharing.

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 

    5 years ago

    Well, hello, there. I could not agree with you more, but - i can also guarantee that FAR too many folks will be over here spoutin' crap such as guns are no different than cars, knives, bombs, bats, sticks and stones...they will ignore completely the fact that you are not anti-gun (nor am i) - that you believe in the right to have a gun to hunt or protect one's OWN 'ground' - they will immediately start with how guns are their 'right' that the constitution should never be touched - how it's the crazies - (please - tell me - when is the last time a 'sane' person mowed down people? That doesn't mean they've all had a history of serious mental illness). The 'sane' of today could so quickly turn into the gun-toting, revenge-seeking madman of tomorrow - it's happened..

    I don't understand the mentality of anyone who doesn't get that these guns are NOT what the 2nd amendment is talking about with respect to civilians.(or - anybody - considering when it was penned..)..

    people need to pull their heads out of their 'second amendment rights' and see them for what they are - and what they were meant to be!

    a good up-standing organization does not need billions of dollars worth of lobbyists to force it's agenda onto the table!

    i could not agree with you more - not that it matters..

    if you feel the urge - check out my post on the second amendment..(please ignore the one on constipation - i needed to lighten the

  • Rbostick profile image

    Rick Bostick 

    5 years ago from Spearsville, LA

    The civilian grade firearms sold in the US are not designed to hunt people. They are merely imitations of military weapons, none of them meet the requirements to be used in combat. These weapons are not used in the majority of violent gun crimes in the US and shootings still occur no matter what firearms are available.


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