There’s been an awful lot of speculation in the media lately about the supposed increase in violent gun-related crime. I thought this issue I’d take a stab at why I think this kind of thing occurs.
It’s the price you pay for having the third largest populated country with this amount of freedom. There’s 315 million people in the USA who are free and can do pretty much whatever they want (comparatively speaking). There’s everything from mildly pissed off people to the mentally ill to truly evil people out there. The vast majority of us will never encounter these people. USA is #12 on the list of countries with the most gun deaths per capita. Switzerland is only four below us. Right now, the media will want to go nationwide with crimes that in early December were just part of day to day living.
10, 228 people were killed by alcohol related automobile deaths in 2010. Do we need prohibition back? Ban all cars? Prohibition did not work because alcohol consumption was ingrained in the society at the time. And still is. If all ten thousand were to die on the same day, there would be an enormous hue and cry and more stringent laws passed the NEXT DAY. But people will still drink and drive. Using the same logic as they apply to gun control, you would expect people popping up on MSNBC within moments proclaiming that ‘nobody needs a car that can do more than 70 mph” and introduce legislation to limit available horsepower in new cars and motorcycles. Totally ignoring, of course, the personal responsibility of the drunk drivers.
I’ve seen an estimate of 270 million privately owned firearms in the USA. These are all internet numbers from Wiki and other sources, but the number doesn’t surprise me. Sounds like a lot, but that’s less than one for every person. Add to that, the pesky 2nd amendment and it becomes clear that any new restrictive laws would ONLY affect the law abiding person. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law. There are way too many guns around for laws to have any effect… short of a house to house search and seizure, which would end up… messy.
It’s sad the tragedy at Sandy Hook is being used as a springboard to further political gain. The talking heads on television love to sit there and point at other countries with totally different populations, logistics and constitutions for the purposes of saying “see, it works here”, offering up simplistic solutions that make people feel that they are doing something because they care, because they are brighter than the rest of the population and are ready to savagely attack anyone who points out their folly. Does anyone believe this wouldn’t have happened if the Clinton-era so-called ‘assault weapon ban’ had still been in place? Or even the new yet-to-be-revealed laws? The AR-15 in question ‘looks’ military when in reality it functions just the same as any other widely available semi-automatic hunting rifle. Semi-Automatic seems to be widely misunderstood, it seems that the anti-gunners can’t get it into their head that all these do is fire one round at a time like a lever or bolt-action rifle. They are better described as ‘auto-loading’ guns.
Although it happens fairly often, the media never reports the good that can come from carrying a weapon. Many people have avoided being robbed/raped or killed because they were able to defend themselves. Most criminals like easy targets, staring down the barrel of a gun convinces them to look elsewhere.
If you need more evidence that just having new laws will not work, check out the ‘war on drugs’ once. Many are illegal for many reasons, some of those reasons make sense, a lot don’t. Still, they are illegal. Does that mean they are now impossible to buy?
Meanwhile the government mandates things like airbags ‘for our own good’ (and insurance company contributions) when there have been many injuries and even deaths because of airbags.
What’s the answer? There really isn’t one. As I started this off, 315 million people with whatever percentage of crazy bastards that comes with. No amount of laws or pious pontificating by politicians or 24 hour news cycles showing every picture, talking to every parent is going to make any difference whatsoever.
On a personal level, I have a Concealed Pistol License and I carry my pistol every day. It’s no big deal, many citizens exercise that right. I don’t think it makes me a more of a macho man or some kind of a Billy Bad-Ass. I have a family, I have children and a wife. It is my responsibility to protect them to the best of my ability. That includes protecting myself, if we’re out and some nutcase decides he wants to make some sick name for himself by shooting innocent bystanders at the mall or wherever, I (and probably several others) will be able to do something about it, something other than just cowering in a corner and hoping for the best.
If we need to do something, it should be more awareness. Awareness of mentally ill people. Awareness of thugs that want to take what you have. Awareness that even through all this, the freedom that allows this to happen is also what makes this the best country in the world.