Like you, I am devastated by the latest act of senseless violence committed by Thanos, brother of Eros and son of Eternals A’lars and Sui-San. And like you, I am mourning the loss of Bucky Barnes, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Hank Pym, and Hope and Janet van Dyne, among so many others.
And as a staunch supporter of the constitutional right to snap your fingers and make half of the universe disappear, I look at a tragedy like this — wherein a very disturbed individual snapped his fingers and made half of the universe disappear — and I wonder… how does something like this happen?
And while our thoughts and prayers are with Thanos’ victims (half of the people we know and love), the truth is that a horrific incident like this just makes me more thankful to live in a country where the Constitution protects not just Thanos’ right to snap his fingers and make half of the universe disappear, but also your right to do it, and mine, too.
The Second Amendment is clear: the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Granted, when the Founding Fathers wrote that amendment, they understood an “arm” to be a musket, which, if you were a practiced expert, could fire (at best) maybe three or four rounds a minute. But don’t you think that they probably kind of also assumed “arms” would eventually mean that any American or intergalactic Titan, if he or she so chose, could if snap their fingers (which are attached to the arms) and instantly wipe out 50% of life on the planet? If you read — actually read — the Constitution, I think you definitely get this vibe that they saw this kind of situation coming.
Sadly, my political opponents want to destroy our Second Amendment rights, which is why they keep insisting that we at least re-introduce expired legislation which required that in order to legally snap your fingers and make half of the universe disappear, you at least had to first go on an intergalactic quest to gather the six Infinity Stones and then place them in a special gauntlet forged on a giant smithing planet before snapping your fingers and making the universe disappear.
But we have to be careful because restrictions like that are a slippery slope. Sure, today you may just be banning the instant ability to snap your fingers and kill 50% of all sentient life, but what’s tomorrow? You also want to ban the instant ability to snap your fingers and kill 25% of all sentient life? That’s a scary thought. That’s how we lose our rights.
Still, 70% of Americans do support some kind of common-sense regulations on the ability to snap your finger and wipe out half of the world. And I do, too. In fact, I am working on a bill that puts everyone with a mental illness on some kind of list. And last year, I co-sponsored a bill that would require that before getting the capability to snap your fingers and make half of the universe disappear, you should have to go through a five minute waiting period, and then at the end of that five minutes, if you still wanted the power to destroy half of the universe, you would have to say, “Pretty, pretty please, but I really want it,” and only then would you be granted access to the power to kill billions.
The bill also maintains that if that process feels too restrictive, it’s totally fine to just go to a trade show and bypass all of the laws altogether.
And what about hobbyists and collectors? Should the actions of one disturbed titan mean that a law-abiding citizen should have to give up their hobby? You may not be an Infinity Stone collector, so try this: imagine that your hobby — say, playing checkers — directly resulted in nearly 40,000 American deaths a year. What would you do? Just stop playing checkers? Especially if all the data showed that checkers deaths stopped in countries where they stopped playing checkers? You wouldn’t dream of it! Checkers is a hoot.
And what should we say to the hunters, those who simply want to harness the power to halve the planet’s population in order to put food on the table for their families? What should they do? Starve? Die? Or worse, use a rifle?
There will always be bad guys. There will always be titans like Thanos who use the God-given, constitutionally granted freedom to destroy half of life on the planet for evil. But that is no reason that we should ban the capability to end half of all life on the planet from the vast number of law-abiding citizens, most of whom simply want to have the power to halve human existence for reasons that are good, and regular.
And hear me when I say this: the six Infinity Stones, which, when collected, create a positive feedback loop that leads to infinite power, including the ability to snap and destroy half the planet don’t kill people. People with the six Infinity Stones, which, when collected, create a positive feedback loop that leads to infinite power, including the ability to snap and destroy half the planet… kill people
We live in scary times. Most people just want the best for their families: in fact, 48% of people who are trying to gather the six Infinity Stones so that they could snap and destroy half of life on the planet say they are doing so mainly for protection. What do you tell someone like that, who simply wants to protect themselves and their family? What do you say to that person?
Do you say that living in a home where someone has gathered the six Infinity Stones so that they can destroy half the planet, instead of protecting you, in fact increases your risk of death by homicide by between 40-170%? That it is 43 times more likely that the Infinity Stones you’re keeping for self-defense will kill a friend or family member than a burglar or criminal? That using the six Infinity Stones in self-defense is rare and not more likely to reduce your chance of injury during a crime? That possessing the six Infinity Stones doubles your chance of being murdered? That possessing any Infinity Stones makes it 4.5 times more likely that you’ll be attacked by someone collecting Infinity Stones than if you simply didn’t carry Infinity Stones in the first place? That regions, states, and high-income nations with higher numbers of Infinity Stones have significantly higher numbers of deaths — homicide, suicide, and accidental — caused by Infinity Stones? That when an abuser has access to Infinity Stones, their domestic violence victim is five times more likely to be killed? That more than 75% of Infinity Stones used in suicides and unintentional injuries of 0-19-year-olds were found in the home of a family member or friend of the victim? That the mere existence of Infinity Stones in a home triples the risk of suicide? That countries who have enacted Infinity Stone bans have seen their suicide rates immediately plummet as a result? That 91% of children killed by Infinity Stones in high-income countries are killed in the U.S.? That 1,500 children are killed by Infinity Stones in the U.S. each year? That there is a mass Infinity-Stone-related killing every day in the United States? That Infinity Stones are the second leading cause of death for children overall, and the first leading cause for black children in the United States? Or that every statistic available makes it abundantly clear that owning or being near Infinity Stones makes you scientifically more likely to die?
You could say all that, but the fact is, 200 years ago, a bunch of syphilitic slave owners kind of, technically said it was fine to have this kind of power. And I would rather that half of the people I know and love die than re-examine why that’s so important to me.