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HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO DIE? 16 June 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO DIE?

16 June 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

            The title of this article is the main question, though it sort of lacks context doesn’t it?  Since it’s today, just a couple of days removed from the shooting of Congressman Scalise, let’s focus on guns.

            I like guns.  I like the craftsmanship and thought that goes into the mechanics of guns.  I like the feel of a good gun in my hand.  I like the looks of them.  I like the thrill I get when I pop off a round.  It never fails to make my heart jump just a little bit.  It’s an even greater thrill when I hit what I aim at.  It’s a power thing, maybe.  It may be related to the notion that you can have a physical effect on something that’s too remote to reach out and touch with your hand.  Some might say it’s a guy-thing.  I don’t know about that, though.  Most women I know who shoot guns seem to have the same thoughts about them.   You can call me a gun-lover.  Go ahead!  I can take it.

            I’ve long contemplated arguments by anti-gun people.  Many of those people believe guns kill people, but I’m convinced guns do so with extraordinary rarity.  You know the old test of leaving a loaded gun on a table and waiting to see when it’ll decide to do something on its own.  Yes, I’ve never once heard of a single occasion where a gun used its own free will to kill a human.  How much proof does one need that guns have no free will at all?  Evidently, a lot.  We still see headlines and hear anti-gun people screaming about someone being killed by a gun.  It’s as insane as that spate of headlines that shouted out every time an SUV was involved in an automobile fatality.  There’s a lot about that kind of thinking that just isn’t logical or rational.  It’s all just emotion.  Some of that emotion is genuine, but a lot is mere political fakery.  We all know that.

            The truth is guns are tools.  They’re instruments in the hands of some, almost like a coronet or a clarinet.  Yet, when the conversation is guns all too often the obvious utility and occasional artistic creativity of gun use is ignored and the misuse and evil intent of the criminal gun wielder is mischaracterized or ignored.  The anti-gun media and lobbyists always talk in terms of guns that kill, not the people who wield them.  It’s a tiresome argument.  I’d much rather focus on the role of guns in providing food for tables and the skill of some shooters to consistently put bullets into very small, preselected spaces.  That’s utility and artistic creativity.

            It’s always true that criminals use guns to rob and kill.  If they didn’t have guns they’d rob and kill with knives as their weapons.  If they didn’t have guns and knives, they’d use baseball bats or tire irons.  Bad people are infinitely creative in the use of weapons to exercise their need to take from others.  In prehistoric days those kinds of people would occasionally resort to bashing the brains out of their victims with rocks.  It would seem true that bad people will always find a weapon of some kind to aid them in their quests for that which is not theirs or to exert power over their adversaries.  Today, many use guns.  It’s a fact, but that doesn’t make the gun unlike a knife, baseball bat, tire iron, or even a rock in that regard.  All weapons are tools.  Many other tools are potential weapons.  The focus should always be on the user, not the tool. 

            Those who think they’re smart on this subject, but hate guns, use specific terms to describe what they hate.  They understand they might not win the complete argument if they try to take it all on at once.  Instead they tend to fragment their arguments to appear as if they’re only bothered by one teeny, tiny aspect of guns.  They talk of “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.”  Sometimes they go a bit overboard in their zeal and find themselves uttering nonsensical criticisms of “those insidious clips.”  They promote legislation to make it illegal to put more than 7 rounds in a magazine or to carry more than one loaded magazine on your person at any one time.  One sometimes wonders if those adversaries of guns are insane, but of course they aren’t.  They know perfectly well there’s no functional difference between an “assault weapon” and a hunting rifle.  Both make those loud “bang-bang” noises and both send lead off in a near-linear fashion toward whatever the barrel is pointed at.   Most of the difference is truly cosmetic, not functional.  But, how can you influence the unknowing with that truth?  All the arguments the anti-gun people use are pretty dumb, when you get down to it.  All but one.  People do die after being shot.  But, people also die after being stabbed, clubbed, and struck in the head with hard objects.  People die from drug overdoses, car accidents, tobacco and chemical induced cancers, and a host of other things, too.  Why is it the anti-gun crowd is so intent on eliminating guns from our society?  Why, indeed.

            The Second Amendment was written in part to ensure all citizens maintain both the natural right and material capacity for adequate self-defense.  It’s true that the language of the Second Amendment mentions a well-regulated militia, but that was then and this is now.  While we don’t necessarily need a well-regulated militia, the principle of maintaining your natural right of and capacity for self-defense hasn’t changed, nor has the best method to exercise that right.  Since the writing of the Constitution there has been no superior method of self-defense developed that can supplant a firearm.   As of this moment, a good gun in the hands of a trained shooter is still the best and cheapest form of self-defense there is.  

There is an argument made that with the general omnipresence of law enforcement there’s no need for a private citizen to fret about self-protection – just pick up your cell phone and press ‘911.’  But as with many arguments of this kind, there’s a critical flaw.  If you’re home alone and someone is intent on harming you, how much time do you think you have to wait for the police?  Seconds?  Possibly as much as a minute?  How fast do the police respond in your area?  Twenty minutes (my own case)?  Ten minutes?  Five?  Regardless of how fast they try to respond the police would have to be in your front yard right behind any invader to be of any use to you.  In the vast majority of incidents of home invasion or other personal attack on private property the intended victim has seconds to take any assertive action.  The time to get the phone and press ‘911’ is after that assertive action, not before.  Delays in acting sometimes prove fatal.  So, yes, there is still a valid need for a good self-defense weapon.  Every home should have guns.  Understand this point – police rarely can prevent crimes, they mostly respond to them.

Anti-gun people like to quote statistics.  They’ll tell you how many people get killed or injured by gunshots every year.  They can tell you how many children die from gunshots.  What they can’t, or won’t tell you is the overall statistics of gun ownership vs gun incidents.  They won’t tell you how many victims of gunshot wounds are victims of related criminal activity as a percentage of the overall population of the nation or the population of guns in the country.  They won’t tell you the statistics regarding accidental and criminal deaths that involve NRA members.  They won’t tell you that the US is one of the safest nations on Earth if you take just four major metropolitan areas out of the consideration.   If you don’t live in Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, or Detroit your chances of getting shot by a gun are about equal to that of a citizen of France or Germany.  If you exclude some other high crime cities like East St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, Cleveland,  Dallas and a few others, you’re in as much danger as someone living in Norway or even Iceland.  In the vast majority of the towns and cities of the nation gun violence is a rare and disturbing occurrence, not the nightly expectation of citizens in the worst of our nation’s inner cities.   And there are other facts that tell us something.  The cities with the worst crime have two things in common.  They are the cities with the most restrictive gun possession ordinances, and are also cities traditionally run by liberal Democratic Party regimes.   It’s all just facts, folks.  The discussion of guns can’t be rational if one side refuses to acknowledge all the facts instead of just the few they keep ponying up.

Anti-gun people do have some valid points, and they’re getting listened to by lots of responsible gun owners.  No one wants to see children die, and the efforts to keep guns away from the eager hands of little kids are worthwhile, as is the legal focus on parents whose children are killed and injured because those parents didn’t do the right things to ensure such things can’t happen.   More and more people are using gun safes and ensuring their weapons are in a “safe” mode when stored.  People are now using smart technologies to ensure their loaded, response-ready guns can’t be accessed by anyone but themselves.  Those are measures that make sense and don’t intrude on anyone’s Second Amendment rights.  We should continue to consider any measure that promises to make gun ownership safer, while still affording us adequate protection.

There is also a good argument to be made regarding who should not have free access to firearms.   It’s easy to make that argument when discussing a person who has limited mental capacity or has a history of violent behavior.  It’s fairly easy to make that argument regarding those who are legally considered to be mentally defective or who are addicted to or prescribed behavior-altering drugs.   But, it’s not so clear when it comes to others who are part of the consideration.  If a person is schizophrenic but is stabilized by their medication and is otherwise almost 100% functional, should we consider barring them from owning a firearm for life?  Similarly, if a person has a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, but is normalized by medication, is it reasonable to think they are a present or future danger to themselves or other and bar them from gun ownership?  Is it reasonable to think an 88 year old veteran who still has his wits about him should have his gun taken away merely because of his advanced age? 

We need to hew very closely to the intent of the Constitution on these matters.  No citizen should ever be denied a Constitutional right, including the right to keep and bear arms, unless they have gone before a judge of appropriate jurisdiction on the question and legally had their right considered.  There should never be such a thing as an administrative denial of a Constitutional right.  No citizen should ever have any personal property, let along guns, confiscated by anyone for any reason unless a judge issues a written order to that effect.  Anything less should be illegal.  But, today it isn’t.  Today we see and hear of many instances of gun confiscation, based on the slimmest pretexts.  This should concern us all.

Instead of wandering all over the planet on this subject I return to the original question, one asked just this week, “How many more have to die?”  The truthful answer is, “Who knows?”  The truthful answer is, “As long as there are crazy people in the world, or people who are motivated by an ideology that approves of violence.”  The answer is, “As long as we continue to allow it.”  We can never predict who will become a killer or when.  What we can do is fight any ideology that approves of violence as a means to meet their objectives.  We don’t have to allow it, so we have to fight against such things each and every day.

Just as a tip to you all, any philosophy or ideology that incorporates a phrase such as “By any means necessary” has already declared its intent.  Adherents to such belief systems have members who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.  The shooter this week, a head-case named James T. Hodgkinson, was an adherent to just such an ideology.  The people shot this week were far from the first to be attacked in the furtherance of that ideology.  Millions have died in decades before, many are dying today, and if that ideology isn’t stamped out, millions more may in the future.   It’s the terrible flaw of communism/socialism/progressivism that’s the problem in this particular instance.  That ideology carries with it an intent to control the world, “By any means necessary.”  And, what is it that can stop them?  It’s the individual ownership of guns and the patriotic will to use them when necessary.

I need say no more on this subject today.  Thanks for paying attention.

In Liberty,

Steve