The Fecklessness of the Liberal Left: Gun Control
Originally posted in 2007.
In a previous post, 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.” Recent [recent in 2007] events at Virginia Tech have brought out a particularly virulent strain of liberal leftist fecklessness known as “gun control.” It will be instructive to 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 by gun 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, 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 his recent 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? (HT: Rounds Out! [a now-defunct Townhall blog]) This can probably be phrased a number of ways, but this is the quintessential question.
This question encompasses the second assumption made by gun control advocates, that we, the average, lawabiding 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 to use them, or convicted criminals. It is not an all or none proposition.
And for a very interesting discussion in this regard on the meaning of the 2nd and 3rd amendments, I will refer you here. [Alas, yet another defunct Townhall blog])
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. 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? Mr. Steely over at Rounds Out! brings to our attention the alleged success of the British gun ban which their MSM boasts as working. Yet the actual data show that here again we have a nice theory (really, a presumption) shot down by an ugly gang of facts.
The number of crimes in which a handgun was used in England and Wales has risen from 299 in 1995 to 1,024 last year (2006). Offenses committed with all types of firearms, including air guns, have also increased.
Do the math: an increase of 725 gun crimes in 11 years = a 242% increase. Their gun control, despite what the MSM tells you, is ineffectual, unthinking, irresponsible by definition. Fecklessness on a rampage.
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:
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. They certainly didn’t stop Cho.
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?