Gun control: an elementary solution to a complicated problem
Last Friday, a mad man murdered twenty elementary aged children and six adults. As many have said, this man was pure evil. After taking advantage of those unable to defend themselves, the coward killed himself. Now, many people are using this as a platform for stricter gun control laws.
The issue here is that a madman had a desire to murder little children in cold blood. That is the problem and that is something we need to talk about fixing. Why does a young man feel so hopeless and neglected that he comes to a place where glorified violence is his only way to be noticed and admired?
This is the problem we have to be focusing on. And we can’t be lazy about this.
Many are suggesting that we simply tighten gun control laws. This knee jerk reaction is understandable but it does nothing to fix the problem. It simply addresses a symptom. When you go to the doctor, you expect to get a prescription to be healed, not simply a prescription that will treat one symptom while allowing the infection to fester. Restricting gun access is what that does.
It is lazy to say, “restrict guns.” That doesn’t help people in these situations and it doesn’t stop them from using a homemade bomb to accomplish the same ends.
Too often our politicians approach political issues in a childish manner.
Income inequality? Steal from the rich, give to the poor!
Climate change? Shut down businesses!
Unwanted pregnancy? Too big to fail banks? Too often, we take an easy road that doesn’t go to the heart of the problem and it does nothing to prevent an unwanted pregnancy in the future or to set up banks so that they won’t put the entire financial system in a bind. What we need is a thoughtful answer to the gun question.
The monster that killed twenty children in Connecticut last week, did so by taking firearms from his mother. None were registered to him. He didn’t undergo the process necessary to obtain a firearm. So any talk about greater restrictions on gun ownership should use a different example than the Kindergarten shooter because he was a thief that took guns away from a school teacher.
What we are really dealing with is a movement by people to take firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens in the hopes that more restricted access to guns will in the end keep everyone safer.
I want to state at the beginning, that if anyone believes that most Americans shouldn’t have ready access to guns – even semi-automatic type rifles such as was used here, there is a legal process that our government has for banning them. It must be done through a Constitutional Amendment, passed by two thirds of congress and ratified by three fourths of the state. You may not like it. It may be really hard, but a federal law can’t trump the voice of the people.
In recent days, many of my friends have simply argued that safety requires that we ban or greatly restrict guns. They argue that America is the leader in gun deaths per capita, per year and thus the proof is in the pudding.
But this makes sense because although America only has 5% of the world’s population, its citizens own over 35% of the world’s guns. So it is obvious that if we have one third of the world’s guns, then we will have proportional violence. But looking at gun violence doesn’t answer any questions.
The question is how many violent crimes are being committed every year in this country compared to countries that outlaw guns?
In 2009, England reported 1,158,957 violent crimes while the much larger United States has only a minor increase at 1,318,398 violent crimes committed. Similar stats show that 443,000 violent crimes occurred in Canada in the same year. That Canadian number is significant because the U.S. population is about ten times the size of Canada’s population.
The point is that violent crimes are committed with or without guns. But often, when a criminal has the choice, he will choose a gun. But if that choice is taken from him, he simply uses a different tool to accomplish his ends.
The point is that crime isn’t lower in other English-speaking countries that ban guns – it is actually higher. That is food for thought.
Now, where the naysayers are right, is on homicide. Homicide rates are much higher in the U.S. than they are in Canada or European countries. It is true that America has a lot of gun-related deaths, yet we aren’t even close to the top, ranking somewhere between #17 and #28 on any given year.
What is the reason for this? There are many. For example, tighter drugs laws in the U.S. lead to heavier trafficking which leads to increased homicide. Plus, criminals that would achieve their ends through alternative means may rather opt for a gun.
But apart from that, the U.S. still has to face the fact that we have higher homicide rates than our counterparts. The fact is that when you are defending property or in a violent disagreement, etc. a gun is much likelier to kill someone than a fist or a knife.
But consider this, the U.S., across the board is much freer than European nations in terms of amassed rights as well as choice of consumer goods, liberties, travel, speech, etc. We believe that the heavy rights held by the American people are the reason why.
Consider burglary, where the U.S. has a lower burglary rate than England and Canada. Gun ownership is directly linked to this.
What about overall crime? It’s higher in Canada and England than in the U.S. Why? Victims aren’t as easy to victimize when they have the ability to protect themselves rather than making a phone call to the police.
Is crime noticeably higher in the United States as compared to Canada and other European countries?
The answer is no. We are relatively safer. Gun ownership acts as a deterrent against would-be aggressors.
And mass shootings?
Well, a recent murderer only got away with killing two innocents before Nick Meli, a shopper in an Portland, Oregon mall, pulled his concealed weapon on the shooter. Meli stated that he didn’t want to start a shootout because of the innocents behind the shooter. He acted responsibly in withholding fire. But the fact that the bully saw someone else with a gun, was enough. The shooter immediately took cover and killed himself. This man protected himself and his family and countless others while others waited for the police to arrive.
Mass shooters are cowards. They pick on the weak and defenseless. Usually families and children. Imagine what would happen if we had Nick Meli’s everywhere. Responsible citizens that have acquired their firearm through the legal process that can simply let bully’s know that there are those out there who aren’t afraid of them.
Although firearms in the wrong hands can present challenges in any free society, the good outweighs the bad for those who aren’t content to wait on police to save them from bad people. Freedom requires vigilance. We should take to protecting ourselves rather than exchanging freedom for security with others.
The right of self-protection isn’t only a right endowed upon us by our creator, but a necessary component for self-governing people to protect their lives, family and property.
As far as the mass shooter, maybe schools will have to start hiring their own cops. Maybe schools will become more locked down. But like filthy speech, we tolerate things that we don’t like in order to protect the broader Constitution. And that is the way it should be.