2012 December 17

     There is much hoopla on the Internet, at least on my Facebook "wall," about the shootings in Connecticut. One basic theme is liberals posting multi-paragraph appeals to stricter gun laws, or total gun elimination in America, with this shooting as their proof. "Something has to be done." Another basic theme is to put down anybody who posts an opinion that this event somehow shows that more Americans should be armed or, perhaps more likely, doesn't prove anything at all about guns or gun control. When I responded to a liberal using the event as a political soapbox, I was chastised roundly for my response for callously using the event as a political soapbox! "People will think you don't care." I guess that was because people who care must be liberals.

     Liberals, the difference between most of you and me (and maybe other conservatives, but maybe not) is not how much we care, but how much we see. I care not only about the highly-visible, news-media causes that tug at your heartstrings, but also about the victims of economic and social policies ignored by media coverage and Facebook-rhetoric blather. I'm at the smart end of the spectrum and I have thought about these issues, not just posted somebody else's picture with somebody else's rhetoric touting someone else's ideas. I may say it doesn't take a Princeton mathematician or a Stanford Ph.D. to see this bigger picture, but maybe it does!

     Look at it another way. If I seem less caring about news-media-headline calamities than liberals, maybe it's because I have to find room in my heart to care about the tens of thousands who can no-longer get health care they need, the hundreds of thousands who lost their homes, the millions whose livelihoods are lost, the tens of millions now underemployed, and the hundreds of millions less free because of the politics liberals have created.

     First, I understand the impulse that fewer guns reduce gun violence. If we believe a reduction in guns reduces criminal gun ownership (makes them sufficiently harder to get), then the gun-control people have a point. I don't believe disarming civilians disarms criminals nearly as much.

     Second, since this shooting took place in a strongly-anti-gun state, and in a specifically gun-free zone within that anti-gun state, I don't see how it proves much about guns and gun-control. It says a lot about other social issues, like mental health, but little or nothing about guns.

     Third, nations are different enough, and their ways of measuring crime are different enough, that comparisons don't convince me of much.

     A German friend touted his nation's history as evidence in favor of gun control. Really? I understood that severe gun control was a major control component during the Third Reich. I believe that an armed Jewish community would not have suffered the horror of the holocaust. Count the thirteen million who died that way and Germany's record doesn't look so good. I'm not blaming Germans today for what Germans did 75 years ago any more than I hold today's democrats responsible for slavery, Japanese-American concentration camps, the Ku Klux Klan, the Vietnam War, or nearly half our nation being welfare cheats. But today's touting of German gun policies of 1928 and 1938 should be tainted with their results at that time. (I believe Germany is a vibrant, powerful manufacturing center today because of the fascist policies of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, but I don't defend those policies in America for the same reasons. Of course, those same policies didn't produce vibrant, powerful manufacturing here, just corrupt greed and poverty.) Still, if you believe in German society and structure, then you can move there. I choose not to live in Germany.

     Japan is a nearly-gun-free society. It is also a highly-regimented, narrowly-focused society with strict rules of conduct. I can't imagine myself putting up with all that social structure, doing what they say when they say to do it. I choose not to live in Japan.

     One reality of the United States is that we have a rich history of guns and other weapons. We hunt, we do target shooting, we practice archery, and we do martial arts as exercise classes. Guns aren't going anywhere, at least not in our underground society. The criminals among us will have about the same number of guns no matter how we regular lawful ownership of firearms. There is no magic powder, like Japanese repression or German dictatorship, that can make sweeping changes in non-legal gun ownership.

     So the variable we control is legal gun ownership against the non-controllable, gun-carrying crooks. In airline flights, in schools, in other vulnerable places we have totally-unarmed populations. That is where we have seen mass killings and the airline flights that crashed into the World Trade Center.

     We could issue every man, woman, and child a gun, no matter what age, no matter what level of mental competence. I think we all agree that we would have more accidents in that scenario than crimes saved by a 100% armed population.

     Having a significant, qualified population of armed civilians is the backbone of a free society. My own belief is that the number of armed civilians willing to shoot evildoers should be high enough that nobody would willingly work for the IRS, as our founding fathers seemed to hope in our Constitution, but I realize we're not likely to be that well armed, or that courageous. Still, I'd like to know, as I sit in a restaurant, myself unarmed (I'm a lousy shot at the range and seldom hit what I aim at), that people around me will protect me in protecting themselves.

     This gets to another primal issue. Who protects us from crime? Back east, where I grew up, in liberal heaven, it's the police. When a pervert grabs a woman and starts to rape her, she screams for help, a passer by hears her, finds a telephone (or somebody who knows where a nearby phone is), and that person calls the police. The police operator answers the telephone, figures out where the crime is and contacts the dispatch sergeant who sends a police car to hurry to the crime scene. The police get there in time to save the woman from penetration. (Think of Rube Goldberg here.) This is how we keep sex crimes from happening. Right.

     Perhaps there's a different model. A criminal knows his primary physical adversary is his victim, possibly armed, probably surrounded by armed citizens. The police aren't there to protect the victim, who is already safe while the criminal is being held down by an angry mob. ("He must've fell down" in the movie "Death Wish.") They are there to protect the criminal so the justice system can punish him more humanely than the mob would. It's a different paradigm of human law enforcement. I think it's more realistic.

     Ask yourself this: If the victims of union thuggery were armed, then how much less scary would organized labor's threats be? If the victims of racial violence were armed, just how much less scary would lynchings have been? Sure, I also want to live in a world where people don't hurt each other if we're all just nice to each other. The world isn't that way, so either we take responsibility for our own safety or we concede our freedom to the bureaucrats. There really is no Plan C here.

     So, I say again, if you like the American ideal, or just the American lifestyle, then get comfortable with the American philosophy of self-help and responsibility that got us here. Those who don't want to live this way have choices. Making the one-and-only still-free society look like the others, which are not free, is viciously wrong and fundamentally evil.

     Voluntary help is the key, not only for economic mobility, but also for self preservation and other crime prevention. We need other people, other armed people, as primary defense against crime. The police won't do it for us because they can't do it for us.




If you want more of this kind of material then here are my American-issues essays.

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