Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gun laws won’t prevent deaths

Gun laws won’t prevent deaths

(My Clovis News Journal column for August 3, 2012. The headline is similar to last week's (part 1?), but it's a totally
different column. I promise!)

Wouldn't stronger laws or more strict enforcement stop people from killing the innocent with guns? For the life of me I can't figure out why it's supposedly worse to be murdered with a gun than with a knife, a brick, or a car, but let's skip that part.

The truth of the matter is that guns are a very old technology. That cat is out of the bag and it will not be stuffed back in. The only way to get rid of guns at this point is to eliminate every gunsmith and everyone who knows metallurgy, chemistry, physics, and mechanics; burn every book and ban any website on those subjects, as well as any which gives even a hint as to how a gun operates. Anyone with a bit of knowledge can figure out how to make a gun. You don't even need gunpowder nowadays. As long as a gun can equalize people, they will be built, carried, and used.

Strengthen the penalties? Increase the penalties for getting caught with a gun and you will remove any remaining reluctance to carrying a fully-automatic firearm. After all, if the penalty is comparable, why not go with the supposedly better tool?

All coercive gimmicks ignore the simple fact that the real solution is for more guns to be in the hands of decent people. It's the only thing that will ever work. Nothing will ever disarm people who want to harm the innocent. Nothing. It doesn't matter if you just really hate guns and want them to go away. You can whine about it; you can call gun owners nasty names, you can speculate on how to achieve Utopia. None of that will change reality. To hold back the bad guys you need to be able to stop them, and they need to know that if they try to harm people it is highly likely they will encounter someone like you who is willing and able to put an end to their rampage, no matter when or where they strike.

We are not talking about "chaos, with bullets flying everywhere" since the average gun owner won't pull the trigger until he knows his target and what's beyond it. We are talking about psychological deterrent and the ability to interfere with an active shooter's plans. Even with body armor, getting shot is painfully distracting and that distraction can save lives. There will still be tragedies. Nothing can prevent them all. Don't sacrifice your liberty for false hope, manufactured fear, and misplaced empathy.


Shared traits

A badger is not a chair. Both have four legs; both are made of matter- in the case of a wooden chair, mostly carbon like the badger- both cast shadows when in the light; both are affected by gravitational fields, and... well they have a whole host of traits in common. But a badger is still not a chair.

In the same way I am not a conservative or a liberal. I share some traits with both because, frankly, neither of them could be wrong on everything all the time. Where they pick the side of individual liberty- an accidental consequence of individual liberty fitting into one small aspect of their otherwise statist agenda- I will be on the same side. But where their statist agenda stomps on individual liberty they are on the wrong side and I don't side with them.

The amusing consequence is that I end up on mailing lists of statist groups for conservatives (probably due to my pro-self defense stance) and for liberals (probably due to my opposition to prohibition) where they try to sell me their toxic sewage along with the few diamonds they carry. Assuming that because I agree with them on the pro-liberty stuff, I will agree with them on their anti-liberty agenda, I get called a "empty-headed liberal" or a "knuckle-dragging conservative" by those who get offended by my refusal to give up liberty and buy into their fear-mongering.

They are too blind to see that a badger is not a chair, and too narrow minded to understand that a libertarian is not a statist.