As is typical for any major tragedy involving guns, the blood-dancers in the anti-rights crowds have jumped on Sandy Hook as the exemplar for why the private ownership of weapons should be severely restricted for the law-abiding.
As usual they're pulling out the "you don't need" arguments--"you don't need" 30-round magazines or semiautomatic actions or shoulder things that go up, especially since at the time the Second Amendment was written they only had muzzleloaders.
Funny how that crowd suddenly becomes strict constructionist only when it comes to firearms. But I digress.
It leads me, then, to think of other things that we don't actually need in our daily lives.
Iphones: you don't need one of these things. They're expensive and made with, essentially, slave labor, and the actual retail price of an iPhone is about $700. Since a cellular telephone is a device meant to make and receive phone calls, you don't need all the other features like a touch screen and "apps" and programmable ringtones. Even the ability to send and receive SMS messages is superfluous.
Same thing goes for any smartphone, actually. You don't need all that capability.
Cars: there are all sorts of features available on cars that you don't need. Leather seats, cruise control, air conditioning, entertainment system, power windows, power locks, automatic transmission, satellite navigation system, big engines--any performance option, really--the list goes on and on.
Nearly everyone could get by just fine driving a stripped Chevy Aveo with a manual transmission. We might let folks in hotter climates have air conditioning, but otherwise if you're hot you can just roll down the windows. In fact, you don't even need to be able to pick what color car you'd like; the color of the car doesn't have any effect whatsoever on its ability to get you from point A to point B.
You certainly don't need a bright red Porsche 911 turbo with leather seats, all-wheel-drive, and traction control.
Knives: let's face it; the function of a knife is to cut things. How big of a blade do you need to cut up food for cooking? And they certainly don't need to be anything special as long as they cut the food reasonably well. You don't need that big rack of knives in your kitchen; you can get by just fine with one 6" knife and just use it for everything. And it can be a Ginsu or something.
Computers: you don't need a quad-core processor and eight gigabytes of RAM. You can get along just fine with a machine that's a decade old; it'll do everything you need it to do. Oh, it might not be very fast, but it will crunch numbers and write reports, and that's all you really need a computer for. Certainly you don't need it for entertainment purposes.
Internet access: you don't really need it; and if you think you do, dialup should be more than adequate.
Televisions: you don't need a 46" flat-screen TV to watch TV. You can get by just fine with a 25" screen, or even smaller. You don't need cable TV (or satellite) and in fact your Blu-ray player is equally superfluous. You don't even need DVD; you could get by just fine with Betamax videotape.
Video game consoles: you really don't need one of these at all.
Houses: shelter is a basic human need, but you don't need to have a house all your own. You would survive just as well sharing a barracks with 99 other people.
Food: basic nutrition is all you need. You don't need anything fancy.
Water: just plain water, no flavorings, is all you need. You don't need coffee or tea or diet Pepsi.
Furniture: you don't need anything fancy. Basic, unpadded chairs will do. You can sleep in a twin bed with a foam mattress on a wire spring substrate; no need for fancy mattresses or box springs or queen-sized beds. (One person to a bed. You don't need to sleep with your wife.)
Pets: you don't need a pet.
Lighting: One bare bulb in a ceiling fixture is adequate.
Writing instruments: a simple stick pen is all that you need. Or a wood pencil.
...I think this makes it pretty obvious what is wrong with the "you don't need" argument.
* * *
What inspired this? Borepatch links a bit from Top Gear where they discuss and demonstrate the pinnacles of communist motor vehicles.
...and the powerful had the nice cars, ones which had more powerful engines than the cars owned by the proles. And as Jeremy Clarkson says, they ran on fuel "...imported from Finland because it didn't have twigs in it."
And at that, the car still wasn't a good car; it was just less shitty than the cars the proles could have. 5.5 liter V8 engine and it had a top speed of 99 MPH. *rolleyes*
Bonus points for Clarkson talking about an off-road vehicle and saying, "I'd demonstrate that for you now, but unfortunately we don't live in a free country." Wowsers.