In the wake of tragedies we tend to react out of emotion. When dealing with policy-making, however, we all benefit if logic enters the discussion. It is difficult to imagine a more heart-wrenching event than the Newtown, Conn. shootings. The inevitable calls for more gun control legislation reflect an understandable desire to do something after 26 defenseless and innocent people are slaughtered.
The more important question, however, is what can we do that will make a difference? That, I suggest, is the best way to honor those who lost their lives. Making us feel better should not be the measure. We should try to make a difference.
And to do so we need to look at what happened objectively, which is very difficult to do in the “heat of the moment.”
So let’s agree on a couple of things — first, those who argue in the heat of the moment are not arguing for safety. They’re trying to play on the “feel better” side of the ledger, and we must reject that. Second, we must demand and discover their true motive, which is not making a difference — at least not when it comes to the issue at hand.
We also must look at the facts, no matter where they lead us. Like, for instance, the fact that alcohol kills roughly as many people as do guns (most of the deaths are self-inflicted or accidents, as is true with guns) and indeed alcohol causes well over a thousand homicides a year which is remarkable considering how horrifying people consider guns to be and the fact that a bottle of booze has zero defensive value.
Now for those inconvenient facts that nobody wants to discuss…..
First, the current furor over “assault rifles” is a false, media generated hype campaign that lawmakers have seized upon — and they know they’re lying as well.
First, there are no legal “assault rifles” manufactured since 1986 in civilian hands. That’s because an “assault rifle” is a select-fire weapon — that is, it is capable of firing more than one cartridge with each depression of the trigger. The common name for such a weapon when that mode of operation is selected is machine gun. No select-fire weapon made since 1986 can be lawfully transferred to a civilian, and ones made prior can only be transferred when registered with the BATFE (and with payment of a $200 tax.)
Oh, and unless I missed a news story in my sweep one legitimately civilian-owned select-fire weapon (that is, an actual assault rifle) has been used in a crime in the last 20 or so years — and the person who did so was a police officer. (There have been plenty of very-illegal select-fire weapons used in crimes, but I’ll get to that in a bit.)
What the media and Feinslime want to call an “assault rifle” is in fact an automatic-loading rifle similar in design and operation to hunting and sporting rifles used for target practice, varmint control, plinking and competitive shooting. In fact, that’s exactly what such a rifle is almost-always used for. The only distinction between an “evil assault rifle” and a rifle that lawmakers “accept” as being intended to shoot varmints on a farmer’s land is the color of the weapon and its decorations, along with things such as a handguard (which helps prevent you from burning your hand by touching the barrel after the gun has been fired) and a “flash-hider” (which serves to direct where the flash goes, but does not prevent it from being seen — in short, it keeps it out of your eyesight and is useful for shooting said varmints in low light conditions, or in some cases is fashioned to help control the muzzle by directing the blast in a fashion that counter-acts the natural motion of the barrel as the weapon is fired.)
The other interesting statistic is that only about 1 in 500 guns used in a crime are “assault weapons” as these people would define them according to some statistics, and less than 2% of people in prison for a firearms violation (including simple possession by a felon or other crimes where no violence took place) involve such a weapon — yet there are some 3.5 million of them, according to various surveys, in civilian hands. Indeed these weapons are extremely popular among law-abiding Americans; the much-maligned “adjustable stock”, for example, allows the same gun to be comfortably fired by a 6’4″ man and his 5’8″ wife at the range — a perfectly-lawful and reasonable consideration. The removable “flash-hider” is popular as it can be replaced if it is damaged in the field (while hunting varmints) at low cost and protects the crown of the barrel rather than forcing a barrel replacement or if you wish to change it out for one that better-controls muzzle flip (the tendency of the barrel to rise when the weapon is fired) at the range.
Why do they appear to be used by whack jobs like the Sandy Hook shooter? Probably because they look scary. After all, these are whack-jobs we’re talking about; they are unlikely to pick the most-lethal weapon as they probably haven’t studied weapons well-enough to do that (and that’s a good thing as it keeps them from choosing bombs and similar items that would do even more damage) but a scary-looking gun, oh boy, that’s just the ticket in a mentally-disturbed person’s mind.
Are you really going to suggest that if a particular scary-looking gun wasn’t available for some reason that this would actually deter said whack-job from committing his horrific act?
And besides, are you really going to argue that we should ban something because of how it looks? If that’s the case then Dianne Feinstein is certainly on top of the list of things to ban!
Speaking of that fine gentleman with which Feinstein shares a particular love of firearms registration (and confiscation), I’d like to draw the reader’s attention to this chart up on JPFO’s web site. It lists nine acts of genocide in the 20th century alone, each of which was preceded by gun permitting, restrictions, registration in and many cases confiscations and/or outright prohibitions.
Not one of these incidents occurred without first disarming the people to be exterminated.
You may have heard about some of these people; certainly everyone knows about the Jews in Nazi Germany. But it was not just Jews — anyone critical of the regime, Gypsies, political opponents and even just people who they thought would make “good examples” were shoved in the hole, some 20 million in all. The law requiring registration began in 1928; 10 years later Hitler used it to begin murdering millions.
I’m sure some will argue that this is a “bygone era” since WWII. Well then I’m sure you can explain away Rwanada in 1994, which came about 15 years after a 1979 law requiring gun registration, justification of need and restriction on ammunition – – along with confiscation powers.
Fifteen years later fully 20% of the population, some 800,000 people, were slaughtered in 100 days.
Oh, and the left’s beloved President Clinton did exactly nothing about it. I guess he was too busy getting blowjobs in the Oval Office to worry about 800,000 black people being slaughtered like rats.
In Guatemala it was Mayans, other Indians and political enemies. In Uganda, Christians. In Cambodia it was anyone that the government didn’t like (about 2 million people fell into that category) and China had two bouts of this in the 20th Century, totaling somewhere around 40 million citizens, all murdered in cold blood.
All told the count is somewhere north of 170 million citizens that have been executed not by combat in war or as “collateral damage” (accidental injury) but rather simply because once the government obtained an absolute monopoly on force it was able to slaughter people with impunity, and did.
170 million people is an extraordinary number. Since we’re only 330 million out of a world population of something like 7 billion, it is not fair to charge all of them against us when making comparisons. We’re about 5% of the world population, basically, so you could “charge” 8.5 million of those deaths (5%) to us in comparison.
How’s that work out? Well, we have 11,000 firearms homicides, more or less, annually.
Objectively looking at this issue it would take 772 years for civilians to murder 8.5 million people, most of them one at a time, but the comparison table only runs in the last century.
It is therefore nearly eight times more likely that you will be slaughtered by your government wholesale if you give up your guns than the risk you run of being murdered by a bad guy if you don’t and this assumes that all of the 11,000 gun murders do not happen if we ban all or some firearms.