It has been pointed out in various places that the national conversation on gun control effectively ended following the massacre in Newtown, the takeaway being: If the murder of 20 school children and six adults doesn't impel both the government and its citizenry to make sweeping changes to the nation's gun policy...nothing will. The debate is over; the conversation is dead.

Yes, the SAFE Act was upheld in New York today, but debate over the minutiae of background checks and large-capacity magazines are mere skirmishes in what should be a much larger war. Should guns be allowed in the hands of civilians, or should they all be thrown into a volcano?

Today, the Staten Island Advance interviewed three gun owners on the appeal of their firearms. The men (indeed, they are all men) enjoyed total anonymity as they explained their zeal for their weapons. The answers were about as diverse as their apparent backgrounds, which is to say, not very. All three appear to be beefy white men, all armed and ready to fire at the "terrorists" and "criminals" waiting behind every corner.

The breakdown of their answers is roughly as follows:

Self-defense (all three)

Protection of others (2)

Recreation (1)

"It's my right" (1)

Defense against terrorists (1)

And interestingly, one responded that he's a former NYPD officer, and wants to enjoy the fruits of his unrestricted carry permit.

"It's the criminals that commit the crimes," he said matter-of-factly, as though a criminal is just another noun, like a hair stylist or a pizza. "I think people know that when people have guns, it actually deters crime."

Here's an excerpt from an interesting blog post that went up earlier this month, regarding a night its author was menaced by a kid in a car with a gun. The scenario was that the kid was armed, the author was not, and both ended up living. Had the author been carrying, at least one, if not both involved, would have wound up dead.

Everyone who owns a pistol is making the same transaction, all at odds to one another, an endless series of bad faith deals with the same bad dealer. A less dangerous world will require that you accept that you will be fucked with. You will have to get over your generalized fears, and you will have to be OK with sometimes being less safe, in the way that you are sometimes less safe when you are in a plane or in a car. We do not get to demand a world that bends itself to our feelings. And as long as we try, we will be stuck with this one.