COMPARATIVELY, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
There was a school shooting the other day. In my opinion that is non-news. That doesn’t mean I am not saddened by the incident, but there is only so much a person can do, and frankly these sorts of things are common occurrences around the globe. I have no more or less sympathy for 20 New England school children than I do 20 Pakistani funeral mourners. Or a 16 year old United States citizen. They were all human beings. They were all unjustly slaughtered. Talking about such things beyond the general underlying problems and actually trying to fix them are complete wastes of time and drains on the ability to think. They distract from far more important issues. What could possibly be more important? Anything that the average person can have a much larger impact on than a [random?] shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. And anything where there is much more at stake than the mere possibility that such a tragedy will occur at a school near you. But unfortunately there are those who want to use such a tragedy to muddy the waters. They have gun control in mind. In a way it suddenly becomes a legitimate issue apart the specific incident.
So, as long as we are going to talk about it, let us be blunt. Guns were invented (12th Century, China) in the first place, to injure and ultimately kill people. They can be used in self-defense and they can be used for assault. Hunting and recreation are secondary considerations (it ticks me off every time one of my wretched Democratic senators says people have the right to own guns and then ALWAYS qualify that, albeit subtly, with a “for hunting and recreational use”). I don’t say that because I have anything against hunting or target practice, of course. (I am not a hunter. I own a rifle that I rarely use. I do, on occasion, handle firearms for recreational purposes, and I thoroughly enjoy it. But in general, I am not a “gun person”.) Any discussion of banning or controlling guns, whether for or against, should be honest that the point of guns is to blow people away. Gun banners should feel free to use that as an argument against the ownership of firearms (though in my opinion it is an argument for it, all other things being equal), and gun rights advocates shouldn’t be afraid to admit the fact. In a world where it is no longer popular enough to do so and still have people maintain their Second Amendment Rights, the argument has already been lost. I won’t say what they are, but your options at that point narrow considerably.
THE GOVERNMENT-MEDIA COMPLEX AND THEIR LACKEYS ARE ON CUE
Some are griping that the NRA has only just now broken their silence on the shooting. Where those same folks are when the gun control lobby is silent when lives are saved by guns, I couldn’t tell you. They are probably not hypocrites. Just people who like to shoot their mouths off. Good for them. Whatever.
Currently, the blogosphere is rife with people wringing their hands over this, and the common themes among them are:
If we whine about it and empathize and sympathize to no end the world will be a better place. Let’s pat ourselves on the back.
If we control guns the world will be a better place. Guns are inherently evil.
If we don’t talk about anything other than the victims the world will be a better place. Both sides of the gun control debate are wrong for not wanting to “compromise” and wrong to use this tragedy to even bring the issue up.
If we only make sure that we comply with every law on the books and all the recommendations of the experts, the world will be a better place. We are too stupid to think for ourselves or to exercise our God-given rights and so is everyone else (except the experts who do so not only for themselves, but for us as well).
But I won’t bore you with too many of those articles I read. Instead, I’ve put links to sounder arguments and relevant news in the body of this piece. But here’s one sniveling New York Times columnist’s piece just for fun. His basic points are, some stated, some between the lines:
People are dying not because of criminals but because of guns.
Some numbers. 46 die every day from non-firearm homicides. 32 die every day from firearm homicides. 83 die every day from all forms of firearm use, including by suicide, by accident and by homicide. The #1 weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat. Every day 2200 Americans use guns for self defense.
American kids are more likely to be murdered than kids in other industrialized nations.
I don’t doubt this, but I wonder how much of this is the result of urbanization in the United States, the high tolerance for slums (Europeans are much more likely to turn their noses up at such sprawl), localized gun control measures, and political correctness. Maybe he missed the fact that some of the most industrialized nations in the world had more deaths in days than other industrialized nations have in years, all under stringent gun control measures.
There is an argument being made that the reason places such as Europe have far less shootings is cultural. Far less individualism. And before we start an outcry to curtail that, please consider what the results have been elsewhere, notably Russia, Germany, China, Cuba, and Cambodia. And perhaps part of the reason Europe is the way it is, has to do with the fact that after two world wars it is scared of its own shadow.
Some nations with high ownership of guns, have much fewer shooter incidents.
So, comparing one country to another with just one criteria is pretty pathetic. Comparing a country to itself in a different time period would make more sense.
The gun control already on the books has nothing to do with this.
There are different kinds of gun control. The United States may be lax in some areas, but much more stringent to nations it is being compared to in other areas. That is just speculation on my part. I can’t go much further than that because data is hard to come by.
Other things going on in the public life have nothing to do with this.
The glorification of imperialism is a good place to start looking. And then maybe we could move on to the war on drugs, which though present in other industrialized nations, is at its most potent and prevalent among them in the one in which it began, the US of A. Certain kinds of unwarranted violence made justifiable in the eyes of the public and that includes the youth. Fatherless homes because of wars and prison, that sort of thing. (Is it too soon for me to ask if Adam Lanza’s father played a big enough of, or the right kind of, role in his son’s life?)
Teachers who die in a pool of blood for standing up to gunmen are heroes in spite of the fact that they realistically could do nothing to prevent the deaths.
They may have been heroes. They may have pulled kids out of the line of fire. They may have gotten in the shooter’s way long enough to buy others time. But with guns and body armor, as silly as that sounds, it wouldn’t be a matter of hearsay and speculation.
The fact that there are few cases of ordinary citizens stopping shooters is an argument FOR gun control.
It is actually an argument against it!
Arbitrary legal measures that hurt those operating inside of the law prevent a single action of those who have no regard for the law.
It is criminals that commit crimes.
The government using tax payer money to buy guns from gun owners and destroy them is a good thing.
Broken window fallacy.
The purchase and destruction of firearms by government is what caused the elimination of crime in Australia
If you think about it, you are subsidizing people not to commit crimes, so of course crime will go down! It has nothing to do with the ban, it is the subsidy! You could have just payed those among them most likely to commit crimes, or bought them gun safes, etc, and allowed them to keep their guns and have the same result!
Preventing accidents and preventing massacres is the same thing.
Obviously a seat belt can save a life in a crash. The net benefit of a seat belt, however, differs from person to person. And the idea of a seatbelt law, just like any other law with a benevolent purpose, sets a dangerous precedent. Seat belt laws are not what save lives. Seat belts are. No, people who put on seat belts are. Seat belts were invented in the private sector.
But a person with intent to kill is a another matter entirely. There are far more variables. Making policies meant to control the physics of a situation boils down to a mathematical equation. Making policies meant to control one of the least understood things you can think of (human nature) almost always has the opposite of the intended effect because humans are self-aware.
Preventing automobile deaths are as easy as driving carefully and that includes putting on the seat belt. Cars do not have intent, so they do not respond to preventative measures by operating outside of the law. I doubt there would ever be black markets (nor the violence associated with them) in seat belt free cars because it is the natural disposition of every driver not intending to commit suicide by crashing his vehicle, to live, and if he chooses not to, it is a as simple as taking the belt off. People, whether killers, or gun owners, or gun sellers, do have intent. This includes the intent to do what they feel is necessary or what they enjoy doing regardless of the consequences. Or perhaps because of the consequences. Men are not so malleable as matter.
SO, WHAT TO DO
It’s counter-intuitive (more guns, less violence), but some lawmakers in Tennessee have the right idea.
It has long been my opinion that government-run indoctrination centers are far more dangerous than guns (though perhaps neither is more dangerous than the criminally insane that abuse both of them). There are two primary reasons. One, the children are inculcated with pablum from their first day of kindergarten. They are told they are there to learn but alongside their traditional studies they are run through the emotional wringer and told that recess and coloring books are academic activities. Any meaningful sense of personal responsibility that they may have once had is scraped clean from the insides of their noggins by the time they graduate.
This learning model helps to eliminate critical thinking skills and shrink emotional IQ. I would even go so far as to say that lack of these engenders not only the shooter mentality (and the criminal mind in general) but also the prohibition mentality (which ignores the historical record which shows that prohibition incentivizes not only violence, but the use of the prohibited item by those who we seek most to keep it away from), which in this specific case I would hazard a guess that they share at least as much blame as the shooter’s mother and her lifestyle. Public schools themselves practically invite shooters. Innocent, harmless children all together in one place; small rooms crammed full of them with usually one way in or out; mostly female staff; self-defense banned on school grounds and in some cases anywhere within 1000 feet of a school. The inherent vulnerability of this environment is only a small part of the reason why public schools should be abolished (or highly decentralized).
Some have already said those who want to place some of the blame on public schools are little different than those who want to ban guns. They say that neither “right” should be taken away. I already responded to one person saying this with,
“There is no right to someone else’s money. There is no right to free education. There is no right to kidnap children. Thus the public school system is invalid. It is not a question of whether it should be banned instead of guns. It is a question of whether its existence does not, by necessity, already ban other far more fundamental things. The right to the fruits of one’s labor. Responsibility for oneself and one’s own. Freedom of association. All these things are partially banned by the mere existence of a public school system.”
BEING UNPLEASANT AND UNCHARITABLE
I don’t want to come across as insensitive or anything. My views are far more nuanced than that. On a lighter note, another example of my apparent heartlessness can be relayed in something that happened about an hour and a half ago. A good friend of mine called and chewed me out (in that friendly sort of way) for staying home and not going Christmas caroling with him and a few of our friends later this afternoon. Before I hung up on him he called me a Grinch. I wasn’t quick enough to quote anything from How the Grinch Stole Christmas so my last words came instead from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “Bah, Humbug.” If I had been thinking on my feet, these would have come to mind:
From the 1966 Cartoon:
~That’s one thing I hate! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!
~Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, “Boo Hoo.”
~And then, they’ll do something I hate most of all. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, will stand close together… with Christmas bells ringing. They’ll stand hand in hand… and those Whos… will start singing!
From the 2000 live action rendition:
~Blast this Christmas music. It’s joyful and triumphant.
~I tell you Max, I don’t know why I ever leave this place. I’ve got all the company I need right here. [points to himself]
~Be it ever so heinous, there’s no place like home.
But the truth is, I have my reasons. Some selfish by certain standards, some not so much.