Once again, guns are questioned, not the user – Why?
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from The Gray Area:
Yesterday’s live TV murder of a young TV reporter and cameraman in Roanoke, Va was shocking and sad. We see too much of this kind of thing way too often these days. I find it curious and sometimes infuriating though when the knee-jerk reaction from the media, the left and those who allow those groups to drive their opinions, turns to more gun control. It is an emotional overreaction that has people focus on the tool vs the individual’s action. The gun did not kill these two young people, the person did.
This is clear.
But we don’t know what to do about the deranged person, so the gun is easy answer to make us feel good, while simultaneously doing great harm. That deranged person can’t kill anyone without a gun. That is not true. Common sense will tell anyone that if they just stop and think through the issue. But the biggest problem with this emotionally frustrated overreaction is that it confuses two issues; high levels of gun violence and random acts of violence, and doesn’t solve either one.
For example, I heard a radio personality today reference a New York Times article spouting chapter and verse statistics about gun violence in America. “92 deaths per day” was a highlighted “fact”. This same article compared a supposedly successful gun confiscation program in Australia so why shouldn’t we in the US do the same. The reaction of the radio personality, “it seems so reasonable, doesn’t it“.
The first thing to remember about statistics in 21st Century America is that no matter their source, you must check them out. Statistics are widely used and are routinely manipulated and / or cherry-picked to support an author’s position. For example, a map, which purports to show that there have been 74 “shootings at schools” since the abomination at Newtown, made the rounds last year. Now even exaggerating to one every week since Newtown. This is a fabrication for effect.
But, lets say that every statistic in this article is true (tough to swallow, but lets for the sake of open-mindedness try). Here is one highlighted fact, 92 people die every day in America from gun violence. This statistic used today, in the wake of this horrific murder in Roanoke, Va., hits home doesn’t it. Its an overwhelming statistic. 92 people, just like those two murdered on live TV, are murdered every day by guns. Oh, well no, not just like those two. Well, lets add in those killed in Charleston. Well, no, not like them either. How about movie theater shootings and murder of kids in an elementary school. Well no, not them either. As despicable as all those violent crimes were, that does not even add up to one a day. So where are the 92 murders a day? Try Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and on and on. Major US cities with three things in common; strict gun control laws, gangs and drugs. If more gun control doesn’t work in the specific locations where 80% of the gun violence occurs then how are increased gun control laws nationwide going to stop it! Actually the reverse is true, more carry permits equal less crime.
Studies have been performed going back over 20 years that show gun violence in this country can be reduced by almost half if we address the real source; gangs and drugs in our major cities. This can be done immediately. But, for example, New York and Connecticut authorities so far have shown no inclination to even enforce their existing gun laws by going door to door to round up unregistered guns and arrest their owners. That’s what would be necessary to enforce the law. All we need is the intestinal (and political) fortitude to proceed. The only reason its not more than half is that many gun deaths are classified as suicides.
But, sadly, none of this will eliminate the random, tragic, emotional, disturbing and seemingly monthly murders of the most helpless in our society.
Why are deranged people turning to violent, public acts? Most everyone agrees they are in some way mentally disturbed. In some cases they were known to be mentally disturbed and no one did or could do anything about them. Step 1, fix that problem.
Next, most everyone also agrees that these people are looking for a public forum to express their grievance. They usually suffer their derangement alone. Copycatting these public crimes gives them a chance to erroneously feel like they are actually in control of their situation and their demons. Remember 30 years ago, “going postal” was all the rage for deranged people with some grievance. For a while, every nut job wanted to present their grievance copying this format. The same thing is happening today. What stopped “going postal”? Nothing really. It is still going on in a new form; schools, theaters and churches. Finding fault with the criminal and not the tool will make the rest of the nut jobs realize that when they perform such horrific acts, they will be vilified, not immortalized. Their manifestos will be considered the ranting of a lunatic. They will be known as the lunatic.
And, lets not forget an inconvenient truth, our inner cities are war zones. Decaying over the past 50 years as a result of misguided social policies and near criminal political manipulation. The poor with no alternative but government assistance reinforces a culture of desperation. Stop and frisk laws in New York that were successful at reducing crime thrown out by a new Democrat mayor who apparently prefers crime. Fix this problem by both addressing gangs, drugs and guns and creating job based solutions for those citizens that provide self esteem and hope for the future.
What about the Australian model? The Australian example points to the reduction in the rate of gun deaths in Australia after the new system was established as its main achievement. But it is the policy that allowed that system to be established which holds the writers’ and consequently the reader’s attention. The Australian government confiscated 650,000 to one million guns. That is 1/5 to 1/3 of Australia’s gun stock.
When someone says the United States ought to adopt Australia’s gun laws, he is really saying that gun control is worth risking violent insurrection. Currently their are 600,000 hunters in the State of Wisconsin, The founders were genius to recognize the right to bear arms, not just for hunting. The reason was that no domestic or foreign enemy would dare invade this country and face armed citizenry.
You can argue the Canadian model of strict gun control just as easily as the Australian model. But as a Canadian friend once told me, if someone ever wanted to attack Canada, they would not have to invade, they only have to ask. Invasion would not be necessary, because Canada cannot defend itself. They depend on the US.
It is also well known that a free society can never stop a lone crazy person from harming anyone. Only a totalitarian regime can do that. One that eliminates all personal freedoms, especially the right to bear arms. This country will never sit still for the trade-off of armed citizens for defenseless subjects.