As shameless idiots rush to make political hay from Friday’ tragedy in Connecticut, a republishing of this previous post seems appropriate. The senselessness of an alleged “gun control” response can be readily seen if one asks, would not the body count have been significantly decreased if someone (trained and legal) in that school had had a gun?
It happens every time there is a tragedy in which guns play a part. Since this knee-jerk response is so predictable, it behooves us to review some telling points against it even if they have been published before as their validity still holds today.
Previously, I have described the "Fecklessness of Multiculturalism" at some length. Multiculturalism is only one aspect of the liberal left that produces feckless behavior and policy, endangering us all. To review, to be feckless is to be "ineffectual, feeble, unthinking, and irresponsible." The recent tragedy in Tucson has begun, after the initial plunge into the abyss of irrationality by the leftist mainstream media and progressives in positions of pontification, to bring out a particularly virulent strain of liberal leftist fecklessness known as "gun control." We will now dissect this strain of fecklessness to identify the false assumptions and outright ignorance that serves as its spongiformed foundation.
Possibly first and foremost is the assumption of the ability to universally enforce a law prohibiting the carrying of guns. Yes, if only the police and military had guns, then homicide at least by gun (ignoring that the truly homicidal will find alternate means of accomplishing their ends as there are many ways humans can be killed) would be eliminated – problem solved. Unfortunately, there is significant and undeniable truth in what only appears to be a trite saying that "if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns." Unless you can guarantee swift and thorough disarmament of everyone (in violation of the 2nd amendment of the Constitution, of course), it is an ineffectual, unthinking and irresponsible assumption to believe you can outlaw guns. To belabor the obvious because it isn’t obvious to so many,criminals, BY DEFINITION, do NOT obey the law. Hello?! So…if you have a law that says, "No, no, you naughty boy! Turn in that gun now!" who do you think is going to ignore it? That’s right, the very ones for which you created the law in the first place, the one’s you want to disarm, because they don’t obey the law by definition.
In a 2007 column, Mark Alexander notes Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishment, to the same point:
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
This brings me to the critical question one needs to ask those advocating legislative gun control: Just how would rendering me defenseless protect you from violent criminals and nutjobs? (HT: Rounds Out!) This can probably be phrased a number of ways, but this is the quintessential question for gun control advocates to answer before any validity may be ascribed to their position.
This question encompasses the second assumption made by gun control advocates, that we, the average, law-abiding citizens, are simply too incompetent, stupid, and untrainable to be able to use firearms intelligently and with discretion (of course, this begs the question, from where do the candidates for the police and military come if not from this same population of supposed simpletons, and why are they trainable and we are not?). Rather than promoting gun control, perhaps we should be promoting training in the proper care and use of guns? Let’s deputize the nation rather than criminalizing the nation! (To be clear, I am not advocating putting guns into the hands of children, or those too handicapped or insane to use them responsibly, or convicted criminals, etc., etc. It is not an all or none proposition. And for a very interesting discussion in this regard on the meaning of the 2nd and 3rdamendments, I will refer you here.)
Lastly, the aforementioned question also embraces the most far reaching assumption made by gun control advocates, that true evil embodied in the violent criminal element does not really exist and thus does not need to be addressed by the average citizen. Moving to an earlier example of a gun related tragedy, this inability to comprehend the presence of evil in the world leads to such disastrous legislation as that which disarmed the Virginia Tech campus and made it a prime target for Cho who apparently wanted to go out in "a blaze of glory."
Just how ineffectual, unthinking and irresponsible are gun control advocates in their pursuit of a gunless nirvana? Do we have objective evidence to support the effectiveness of gun control laws?
Consider the following facts compiled here (the entire article is lengthy, 76 pages in pdf printed from the website) and extremely well documented:
- During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, the Washington, D.C. murder rate averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while the U.S. murder rate averaged 11% lower.
- Not counting certain anomalies detailed in the above link, the British homicide rate has averaged 52% higher since the outset of the 1968 gun control law and 15% higher since the outset of the 1997 handgun ban.
- Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the Chicago murder rate has averaged 17% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 25% lower, but, the percentage of Chicago murders committed with handguns has averaged about 40% higher than it was before the law took effect.
- Since the outset of the Florida right-to-carry law, the Florida murder rate has averaged 36% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 15% lower.
- Since the outset of the Texas right-to-carry law, the Texas murder rate has averaged 30% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 28% lower.
- Since the outset of the Michigan right-to-carry law, the Michigan murder rate has averaged 4% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 2% lower.
Not exactly a sterling record in favor of gun control or documenting the worst fears of gun control advocates.Going back to Mark Alexander’s essay, the faulty logic of gun control advocates is amply demonstrated by attempting to apply the same illogic to similar problems. If mass murder is a "gun problem" then we may similarly conclude that "cigarette lighters cause cancer, sex causes abortion, steering wheels cause car accidents, toxic-warning labels cause poisonings, ladders cause falls and bottles cause deaths associated with alcohol abuse.”
What is the real problem? Mr. Alexander notes the explanation of Cato Institute Senior Fellow Robert Levy (emphases added):
Many politicians have exploited a few recent tragedies to promote their anti-gun agenda. But gun controls haven’t worked and more controls won’t help. In fact, many of the recommended regulations will make matters worse by stripping law-abiding citizens of their most effective means of self-defense. Violence in America is due not to the availability of guns but to social pathologies – illegitimacy, dysfunctional schools and drug and alcohol abuse. Historically, more gun laws have gone hand in hand with an explosion of violent crime.
The fact of the matter is that gun control laws have not worked to halt gun related crimes.
Mark Steyn’s inimitable analysis in Let’s be realistic about reality points to the fundamental issue at stake and identifies why I called this a particularly virulent form of fecklessness (emphases added):
The ‘gun-free zone’ fraud isn’t just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia’s distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with ‘the erosion of intellectual self-defense,’ and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and ‘safe spaces’ that’s the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we ‘fear guns,’ and ‘verbal violence,’ and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ‘The Three Musketeers.’ What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?
The reality with which such a cocoon is refusing to engage is the reality of Evil in the world, and I mean that with the capital "E." As we have had repeatedly demonstrated for us, there are those who would go so far as to kill you if you stand in the way of their goals, and indeed, there are those that will do so no matter how good and kind and pleasant and appeasing you are, just for the sheer pleasure of killing you. We may, and indeed, should, recoil in horror at the existence of such sentiments, and fortunately, such individuals are in the great minority. But to deny their existence is a denial of reality that is tantamount to suicide.
So I conclude with this question, again, the quintessential question:
Just how would rendering me defenseless protect you
from violent criminals and nutjobs?
If this is really true, it could explain an awful lot of Congressional behavior!
Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). Which is to say that he was pretty smart. In a 1964 lecture, he summarized the critical thought process as utilized in the scientific enterprise, or at least the way science is supposed to be done, as follows (emphases guessed at):
Now I’m going to discuss how we would look for a new law. In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s the truth. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.
If it disagrees with experiment, it’s WRONG. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.
Facts and data. That’s how we are to roll. Not feeling and emotions.