Any time a mass shooting occurs, the immediate aftermath always includes those who are opposed to gun ownership as a right making their arguments, and those who support such a right launch their counter attack. Since I believe in the principles of the 2nd amendment myself, I’m forced to point out the flaws in these arguments.
So why don’t we ban alcohol, since “No one needs to drink alcohol,” (remember, most people argue “no one needs an ‘assault’ rifle”)? Oh wait, we tried that, didn’t we?
During the dreaded Volstead act years, (aka Prohibition), crime went up, not down. While alcohol was banned, it was still quite rampant. Except all the people using it were now criminals. And the people selling it became murderers lest they be locked up.
On December 5th, 1933, then president Roosevelt announced the 21st Amendment had been ratified, a repeal of the 18th Amendment that was prohibition, and the worst violation of the U.S. Constitution’s principle of liberty was finally undone.
Decades later, in June of 1971, Richard Nixon, seemingly fully ignorant of the lessons of prohibition, announced the War on Drugs, and much like prohibition, it has also led to more violence while drugs are still readily available to nearly anyone who can afford them.
So what evidence do we have to believe that banning or restricting guns will lead to a different outcome? The aforementioned drug and alcohol bans have simply created black markets that aren’t nearly as selective about who they sell to, and increase crime doing so.
Many point out that other countries don’t allow guns, and they’re doing fine, but it’s important to point out that they didn’t start out with that right, as America did. So that’s one reason why it might work there when it wouldn’t work here. They don’t already have many guns in the marketplace, and there’s also a cultural issue that resides within the majority of American’s that owning a weapon of self defense is a right, that you would have to overcome.
I will continue to argue we have a mental illness problem, as much or more so than we have a gun problem. In principle alone, I do not believe in restricting the rights of millions of good people (legal gun owners like myself who have never, nor likely will ever kill someone) because of the actions of bad a few.
Instead, I’d concede that all firearm sales be subject to background checks, even private sales, such as the ones at gun shows. Many gun-rights advocates may part with me on that point, but the fact remains that someone who would fail a background check currently, could go to such an event, and buy from a private attendee (vendors at gun shows still do background checks, just now private owners who are looking to swap).
That person—leaving with a gun, was in violation of the law if they knew they wouldn’t have passed the background check, but the seller and the show itself were fully within the law, and our current background-check system, in that moment, has failed.
But if we look deeper, most of these mass shootings are from violent psychopaths, many of whom had a history of psychiatric care prior to committing their heinous acts.
If only their respective doctors were to convene, as doctors are sometimes known to do, and collaborate on a system to order further evaluation of someone they have diagnosed with a disorder that the doctor determines makes the patient a danger to others, then submit a suggestion of a firearms restrictions to the FBI so that person would fail a background check, maybe some of these mass shooting could be prevented.
But the fact is that bad people are always going to exist so long as we don’t find some magical way to genetically modify humans to a eliminate the qualities that lead one to be a violent psychopath. That of course assumes it’s a genetic defect versus a product of the person’s environment in the first place; a subject for another post.
So the real issue is that when one of these people does go on a killing spree, there can be no mistake that there are only three things that can stop them.
A change of heart. (I don’t recall an incident where this has ever happened)
Running out of ammo (Happens, but usually after a lot of people are dead)
Or a good person with a gun takes action to stop them.
In my opinion, the best way to end gun deaths of innocent people, is to promote gun ownership to good people, so that more good people are armed and prepared to deal with the bad ones when they go off on a rampage. Terrorists and spree killers aren’t going to snuff themselves out, after all.
A recent study in Virginia suggests that an increase in gun sales may result in lower crime rates, not more. How could this be? Bob Costas and others insist it’s the other way around. So who should I trust? Science or a sportscaster?
Of course I’m being facetious, and no doubt Costas means well—but Bob is severely lacking in his scientific acumen on the subject. Instead of speaking from a skeptical point of view, he decided to bloviate from the heart and off the cuff.
I don’t want to begrudge anyone’s opinion of not wanting guns around; it’s a personal choice. But what I have a problem with is people making false or ignorant claims on national TV as if they’re an authority (which he is not), proposing to take away a freedom I enjoy because they don’t enjoy it, exploiting a tragedy to push a political agenda, and quite frankly, advancing that agenda during a venue where it’s inappropriate.
Being a gun owner who loves the stress-relief target shooting can often bring, I was quite annoyed. Had I been NBC’s CEO, Bob would have been shown the door. It was irresponsible and unprofessional to say the least. I’m not calling for him to be fired, that’s for NBC to decide; but I would like to think Bob should have known better and NBC would expect and demand better from its talent.
So let’s start to think logically about what Bob said. He insinuated that but not for the purchase of a hand gun, that Javon Belcher and his wife would be alive today. In theory, Bob is saying that this couple was otherwise happy and harbored no ill will towards each other. But then Belcher bought a gun, and for reasons solely motivated by Belcher owning that gun, he committed murder, then suicide.
Does that seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me? I hope so, because it is. What evidence does Costas have to demonstrate that if Belcher didn’t have a gun, he would not have used a knife? What would have prevented him from bludgeoning her to death with any other random household item?
They had marital issues coupled with what appears to be mental issues with Belcher. He had spent the evening with another woman the night before, after all, yet seemed to have a problem with his wife going out to a concert without him. Then of course he settled the argument by murdering her, then himself. Perfectly stable minds don’t do that. So let’s lay the blame where it belongs, a decline in someone’s state of mind.
The fact is Bob Costas had an opportunity to offer condolences to a grieving family, which to some extent he did. But then he ruined that moment by advancing an agenda and exploiting a tragedy.
Let me give you an example that might explain why this is so irksome. Imagine a wife losing a husband to heart failure. Let’s assume that he wasn’t exactly a health and fitness nut, but instead he just enjoyed life the best he knew how, ate what he wanted, did what he wanted, and lived with the consequences. Then imagine someone coming up to his wife and said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. But you know, if your husband had eaten better and exercised more, he’d still be alive.”
I’d be furious, and I’m sure any one of you would be equally upset as well. That’s in essence what Bob did. When a tragedy occurs, you just offer condolences, not advice, and you definitely don’t proselytize.
But back to guns. I own guns for two reasons. While I do not hunt, I do love target shooting. But more importantly, if someone enters my house with ill intent, I’m not calling 911 to help me, I’m calling 911 to come pick up the body. Maybe they were there just to steal my TV, but I’m not interested in risking my life by blowing my cover and asking their intent—they’re simply going down. That’s why we have things like the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground legislation. If we are to be a free nation, we can never be expected to cede our life, liberty, and property to anyone who wishes to take it unlawfully.
If we are serious about reducing crime, we need to discuss the reduction of laws that incite violent crime. Here’s a hint: every law that the vice squad enforces is part and parcel for most violent crime. Get rid of those laws, and much like the repeal of prohibition, violent crime goes down. It should come as no surprise that people get violent when you take away their freedom.
Believe it or not however, as Dr. Michael Shermer suggests, studies show that as mankind evolves, violence continues to decrease all around the world anyway. So while the news leads you to believe things are getting worse, studies show they just aren’t. I believe that this decrease in violence is proportionate to the continued downfalls around the world of tyrannies, theocracies, and any other form of government that doesn’t have freedom at its core.
Let me ask you a theoretical question. You are feeling kind of frisky and you decide you want to pick a fight with someone, so you pick any random guy standing around. Now imagine that guy had a holster with a gun in it, are you feeling just as frisky now? Assuming you’re not suicidal, I imagine not. Therefore, we know that guns often thwart violence, because people rarely mess with someone carrying one—even if they carry one themselves. It’s just the theory of mutually assured destruction on a smaller scale.
The fact is, we will never have all the facts because there are no studies to show all of the crimes that didn’t happen because a would-be-attacker got spooked by the would-be-victim being armed.
Our forefathers were immensely thoughtful when writing the Constitution and there is nothing there by accident. The right to bear arms was very important to them because while “We the people” hire police to protect us, that doesn’t mean that we assign them the authority to be the only ones who can protect us. Our own protection starts with us.
So forgive me Mr. Costas, but if you’re not going to think your statements through, do the scientific study, or at least research other science; you might want to learn to bite your tongue before you voice support for infringing upon our Constitutional rights. A majority of us don’t appreciate it.
log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action