There’s been another Media Outrage Shooting, and so “Gun Control” has once again entered the public lexicon. I wrote about this already in my article The Root Causes of Violence, but I am going to take a different approach today and address “Gun Control” specifically.
Gun Control is the Wrong Direction
If people want to reduce violence, and I’m not convinced that they do, then Gun Control is not the way to do it. If you were all serious about reducing violence, you’d have realized that by now and would invest time in different questions. Here is a list of reasons in no particular order why Gun Control is a waste of time.
Guns are Cool
Guns are cool. Look at the sale of toy guns. Look at hollywood. Look at the popularity of video games like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike. People dig guns. They look neat, they empower the weak to defeat their enemies from great distances, they equalize people in conflict, they make exciting noises, and they are a technological evolution of ‘weaponry’ which has taken thousands of years.
The Right to Bear Arms is Good
America is a really special place. If you reduce “Freedom” into units you can measure, you will discover that Being Free is an uphill struggle and America has achieved more “Freedoms” than any other civilization. One of the most amazing and remarkable of which is the official recognition of a citizen’s right not only to keep arms but to carry them in public, both for the protection of self, family, property and state but also Just Because They Want To. This constitutional right makes a statement that “We Trust Our Selves”. It says that the power of authority in America is truly with the population, not the officials holding public office. Reaching this point of Liberty was no small feat, and those of us who understand this will never give it up.
Gun Control is a tool of Tyrants
Rules exist to promote strong civilizations, but a strong civilization also requires happy citizens. When you create rules you reduce freedom and that makes enlightened men “Less Happy”. The right to carry arms is not something that was invented in the 20th century. It is a freedom which has existed since the earliest man stood upright, and it has only been challenged over time by certain types of people. Specifically tyrannical governments. The British Empire, during colonial times, attempted to confiscate the weapons of American colonists. Nazi Germany confiscated the weapons of Polish citizens prior to invading. The American South, during slavery, enacted laws to prevent African Americans from owning weapons. If you look at history, every single incident of “Gun Control” was created and enacted by Tyrannical governments.
Presumption of Innocence is American
In America we citizens enjoy something called the Presumption of Innocence. This means that we are considered Innocent until proven Guilty of a crime. When someone else commits a crime and your reaction is to take away my firearms or those of my neighbors, you are throwing Presumption of Innocence in the trash. Taking away our guns is no trivial thing. The right to keep and bear firearms is carved into the Bill of Rights, it is such an important constitutional rule that it was only preceeded by _Speech_. It’s a significant part of American cultural history. You cannot strip three-hundred-million people of all that because a half-dozen people go crazy every year.
Gun Control Doesn’t Work
The science is in, on this. Gun Control does not work. Every single “mass shooting” incident occurs in a place where the shooter is safe from opposition. Most often this is because the location has a “ban” on firearms. Laws do not stop criminals. If laws could stop crime then there would be no crimes because all crimes are already illegal. There are a huge number of “Gun Control” type laws in existence already, such as the machine gun ban, a ban on strawman purchases, and so on. They do not stop crime. The only thing they do is reduce everyone’s freedoms.
“Gun Control Works in Other Nations!”. No, it doesn’t. There are other causes at play. There have been many studies conducted, and the numbers do not support Gun Control as a cure for violence. Violence is a complicated subject and cannot be boiled down to “Do people have access to weapons”. That simply has nothing to do with it. Humans have been violent forever while guns have only existed for a few hundred years. Guns can make violence easier, they do not make violence happen.
You Can’t Have My Gun
Here is a photo of my sidearm. This point was an after-thought but it’s an important part of the discussion. No matter how many stories you bring to the table about other people committing crimes they will never be compelling enough to convince me to give up my firearms to you. I’m not those people, and my sidearm makes me feel safer in a violent and crazy world, in a way that none of you have ever been able to do. Mass shootings are not going to convince me to give up my weapon, they’re going to convince me to keep it at arms reach. I live in a relatively peaceful town and yet I have been assaulted on multiple occasions in the past 3 years alone by people who are completely out of control, and shouting absolutely insane threats of violence. I can only imagine how bad it must be in the worst neighborhoods in our nation. I will never give up my right to protect myself from the craziest among you, for anyone, for any reason, ever. I don’t have a bodyguard. I’m on my own, and if someone attacks me nobody is going to save me but myself. Having a firearm is an absolute necessity.
My other firearm is an AR-15 rifle which I am currently building. It’s been half-completed for awhile because I am self-employed and not rich, and it’s not a cheap hobby. I’m not an End of the World Prepper, I just think the AR-15 rifle is pretty cool, and I enjoy the freedom my citizenship affords me so much that I am exercising it in a traditional way, by building and owning an American rifle. That it doubles as a home-defense tool is a bonus. This is a hobby that won’t ever hurt anyone (except maybe bad guys!), and I’m not willing to give it up. If I gave up everything I enjoy because some other person used it to hurt someone else I would have nothing.
Gun Control is a Distraction
Every time one of these events occur, the media conversation follows certain steps. “We need Gun Control!” and “Why haven’t solved this by now?” are two key elements of the conversation. Why haven’t we solved this by now is an excellent question, and when you’ve witnessed this fiasco as many years as some of us have you’ll understand why we are cynical of the entire show-business. But let’s assume the best for the sake of progress. We haven’t solved it because there is only so much time to spend on the subject, and you are all wasting it talking about Gun Control every time, which was experimented with during the 1990s and found to be a failure. I am talking about the Brady Bill, which was not renewed by Congress because it did not work. If we want to reduce these violence events we need to look at the problem from other angles. It is often said “It’s a mental health issue” but nothing else is ever said about it. Well “It’s a mental health issue” is a really broad and vague statement and by itself means basically nothing. It’s not as simple as “Some people are crazy and have access to guns”. We need to ask why those people are crazy. There’s nothing physiologically wrong with their brains.
I suggest they are crazy because the world they grow up and live in is crazy. Many mass shooters were people with heightened intelligence who became dissatisfied with their lives. Look at the Columbine shooters for starters. They weren’t “crazy” and they weren’t “stupid”. They were smart, pissed off, and suicidal.
If you want to reduce violence, reduce Anger and Suicide. You know that is what you need to be doing anyway, if you could all stop bitching about the temperature of your Lattes or whatever consumer-culture whining is trendy at the time. What is it about life in the 21st centure that is making otherwise normal people both suicidal, and angry at everyone around them? Maybe we should examine the absolute failure of our political system to promote and elect real “leaders”? Our government is full of self-serving fools. Maybe we should dial back the militarization of our law enforcement? Police are murdering unarmed people in the streets. There are countless records of police breaking into people’s homes without just cause and then murdering everyone inside because those people attempted to defend themselves from what they percieved as hostile home invaders. Or how about the enormous and unjustified income gap between the ultra rich and the middle and lower class, or the fact that the “middle class lifestyle” has fallen significantly toward “lower class” in the past several decades, and despite talking endlessly about it nobody takes real action. These things, for starters, are probably making our citizens Angry, and contributing to their Suicidal feelings.
If we want to reduce these acts of mass random violence, we need to reduce the stressors which cause normal people to become both Angry and Suicidal. I’ve named only a few of these stressors, so you’ve got something to start with. If you put a few dozen smart people in a room and have them brainstorm the problem we can find real solutions that Americans will agree on.