So what changed?
I have frequently written about the 2nd Amendment and guns, though I wish I did not need to. Once again we in the United States find ourselves defending the natural right of self-defense against crime and tyranny. And lest any of you reading this who live in the rest of the world think this debate does not matter, you might rethink that position. In spite of all her problems, The United States is still the default warrior against tyranny in the world, not as an active threat to oppression but as a beacon of light seen by those who yearn to be free.
Let me put this out there up front, much of this debate is about money, on both sides. Yes, many people are passionate about their beliefs, but they are being used by outsiders. In the farce of a debate put on by CNN last night, Senator Marco Rubio was challenged to stop taking money from the NRA. Nothing was mentioned regarding the Tides Foundation funding the other side. Marco Rubio is a believer in the 2nd Amendment and the NRA supports him because of his belief, not the other way around.
But make no mistake, many on the “pro” side will tell us “They’re coming to take your guns” and the “anti” side will say, “They care more about guns than the lives of your children” all in an effort to increase donations to “fund the cause”. It also solidifies each side’s base.
However, as I suggest in the title of this piece, semi-auto or repeating guns have existed for about 200 years and so have schools, yet school mass shootings were virtually unheard of until 30 years ago. Why? For one, school shootings and knife attacks were more of a one on one issue. In other words, one person had a personal issue with another and decided to attack their antagonist in the school. There is a fairly comprehensive list of school shootings (including some bombings and knife attacks) found here. Until 1927 in Bath, Michigan when a troubled man blew up the school and his truck killing 44 including himself, killings were personal in nature. The Bath school bombing remains the largest loss of life in a school attack.
There are many terms thrown about and to discuss them we need to define them. The “gun control” side is throwing some wild numbers around of course in an effort to make the problem seem much worse. Federal statutes define “mass killing”, regardless of method, as having three or more victims. It is also regarded that a mass shooting is three or more victims regardless of whether the victims die. The vast majority of the shootings used by the anti-gun side do not fit the definition. For instance, there is talk of 2017 having 317 mass shootings when in reality by definition the number is 11.
Mother Jones is certainly recognized by Americans as a progressive media organization, certainly no friend to Constitutional conservatives or libertarians. Mother Jones published a list of US mass shootings (as defined above) from 1982 to the most recent one in Florida. The number is 61 for that entire time. Yes, that is 61 too many. However, we need to address the real problem, not the perceived one. And these are not just school related, these are all mass shootings. In fact, I only counted eight that were in a school or college.
People would understand that France has very strict gun laws. What if I told you that France had more casualties from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US did during the entire eight years of Obama’s presidency? Yet we’re told more laws will equal fewer casualties. The US has five times the population of France, so per capita, the US is a much safer place, in spite of the private ownership of over 300 million guns. Norway, a country with highly regulated gun ownership still holds the single shooting record with 77 killed.
But is safety and lives what is really important to the anti-gun group? Last fall after the shooting in Las Vegas I wrote an article in my blog entitled “Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste”. (Understand if you read this article on Facebook, links to my blog are flagged as a malicious site. All that history and constitutional talk is dangerous, you know.) I detailed how every day 100 people die in highway accidents, 241 in alcohol-related deaths, 85 in accidental falls, 115 unintentional poisonings, 175 from drug overdoses, and a staggering 1200 die daily due to preventable medical errors! And this does not consider 2500 daily abortions that take place in the United States of America. Where is the outrage?
I believe this brings us closer to the real issue. Outside of the unintentional poisonings, the falls and to an extent the medical errors, there is a common thread with the others and the mass killings (not just gun related). Personal choices, societal mores, and national values play a far greater role than we know or realize. I believe the combination of this and how we handle mental health issues are the basis of the problem. We cannot cure cancer by putting band-aids on sores.
The government can only treat such complex issues in a “one size fits all” approach. Our founders understood that no central government can do what the closest local people can do, what works in New York City and what works in rural Kansas are two different things. However in 1963, shortly before his death, President John F Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act. And like most government programs the name is misleading. The Act took was supposed to take the mentally ill out of state institutions and place them in federally funded community mental health centers, but in reality, most ended up homeless or in jail.
Because money is taken via taxes from the local and state levels and funneled to the federal level, in addition to laws at the federal level, local and state authorities by default have to leave it to the feds who obviously are not up to the task. This of course in addition to the fact that none of this is within the enumerated powers of a federal government.
Society now tells us we can choose what gender we are on a day-to-day basis, we can kill an unborn child if is thought to be inconvenient, we can eat laundry detergent (and it is the company’s fault for making it pretty), we can kill thousands in video games, we can infringe others rights but no one can infringe ours. It is all about me and my happiness. Gone is Mr. and Mrs, please, thank you, may I do something for you, etc. I speak here in the most general terms, of course.
God has been banned from schools and government, the “normal family” of a mom and dad and kids are seemingly rare. Single moms are glorified and subsidized, dads are not held to account, the kids aren’t raised sitting at the breakfast and supper table engaged in conversation with the family. We have allowed and even encouraged the government to become our god and father and it has been a dismal failure.
Actions taken after a crisis are always rooted in feelings. Acting on feelings has placed us in the situation we now find ourselves. The framers of this republic did not come up with the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by basing them on their feelings. It was a centuries-long quest for liberty and freedom from tyranny that began in 1100 England with the Charter of Liberties, the forerunner to the Magna Carta. The importance of individuals being armed for self-protection and as a guard against tyranny was vital. Government has essentially just one job; protect our God-given liberties.
Evil exists in the world. Ever since Cain killed Abel, evil desire, jealousy, revenge and more have overcome self-restraint and led to murder and mayhem. It cannot be stopped even by the most oppressive of governments. And in reality, governments themselves are the all-time leader in mass killings. Hitler was a novice compared to Stalin and Mao.
In the name of feelings, young people are being mobilized and used to promote an agenda. We’re told they are not responsible enough to own a gun but are old enough to form gun policy? Should the 20-year-old girl rely on her gun to protect her when a rapist kicks in her door, or her phone? If the true motive is to stop killing and violent crime, shouldn’t we look at facts and data? Gun control has an objectively dismal record.
In the end, the availability of weapons does not have a material impact on the rate of violent crime. Culture and society, among other things, do. Our culture, our upbringing have a dramatic effect on our priorities. The difference between me and a murderer is not the ownership or availability of a weapon, it is the fact that I respect life and other’s rights and I don’t want to murder. I could have a gun, a tank, a fighter plane or a nuclear bomb. I still won’t murder anyone. It is not the weapon, not even a totalitarian police state can prevent murder.