Regarding gun violence

My first experience that I can remember with regard to gun violence thankfully was not any situation in which I was actually present. Like most people all of my experiences with gun violence are through the fictionalized environments of movies and television. In particular for me, it was an episode of the show Family Matters, in which one of Laura Winslow’s friends is shot in the arm over a pair of sneakers. I do not recall the episode being inherently anti-gun, though there was a volunteer surrender program being portrayed toward the end of the episode in which one person did voluntarily surrender their firearm.

That episode also aired at a time where it seemed the popular shows were experimenting with what kind of scenarios based on real life they can broadcast on television, something you almost never see today. For example the show Roseanne portrayed teen sex and unexpected pregnancy, fornication and unwed cohabitation, homosexuality and bisexuality, a gay "marriage", divorce and death. Full House brought to people’s televisions child abuse, the transition of the two older children into their teenage years and the kind of experimental situations that could go with that, and the death of a family member. Family Matters also brought other issues in the lives of high school students to televisions, including one situation in which injurious rumors spread quite far around the high school Laura and her older brother Eddie were attending.

And then there’s another episode that comes to mind. When Carl Window was still an officer, before being promoted to Sergeant, he responded to a an armed robbery that resulted in the death of an innocent person caught up in the situation. The episode took place two years after the incident when Carl was planning to visit the cemetery to pay his respects and the decedent’s widow happens across him.

For most people it is only through the fictionalized environment of television that they experience many of the horrors possible in real life. They will likely never see it up close. This includes gun violence and murder. And on that we can be grateful. Even with as horrifying as the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and the movie theater in Aurura, Colorado, appear, we can be thankful that such incidents are extremely rare.

As such it is easy to have a romanticized view of some of these issues and what to do about them, and this appears to be the perception in much of America today.

It is incredulous that in the aftermath of a presented concern, many people suddenly presume they know the cause of the concern and, following on that alleged cause, the solution. Since the tragedy that befell Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, this has been the case. The one thing lost in all the rhetoric, discussion, argument and "debate" is the idea that complex situations don’t boil down to simple solutions.

As such, if you think that more gun control is the solution to the problem presented at Sandy Hook Elementary, you need to get your head out of your ass. It isn’t that simple.

Yet the President has convened a commission that will be investigating ways to prevent tragedies such as what has presented this year. And when the government talks about wanting to "prevent tragedy", it almost always involves restrictions and the infringements of rights. In this case it’ll likely involve firearms restrictions, such as renewing the "assault weapons ban" and restricting magazine capacities. Because a law-abiding civilian with a 10-round magazine against a crazed madman with a 17-round magazine are such great odds.

Let’s look at the situation: a 20 year-old man walked into an elementary school armed with an AR-15 style rifle and a Glock and Sig Sauer handgun. Using the AR-15 he proceeded to mow down mostly children until he was finally confronted with an armed resistance from law enforcement, to which he responded by taking one of the pistols and ending his life.

The guns were immediately blamed. In some cases it seemed the guns were all that was blamed. Following from this, individuals and groups called for the end or destruction of the National Rifle Association, the assassination of the NRA president among others, immediate bans on all firearms, and all kinds of things that showed absolutely no detectable tinge of rationality, but the overwhelming stench of emotion. This was not entirely unexpected. Actually that’s not entirely accurate. The calls for hits on gun rights supporters were unexpected, but not entirely illogical in the aftermath. It’s not rare for people to call for blood in the wake of such situations. How many people called for blood and more in the aftermath of 9/11?

But when you respond to a situation with your emotions, things get out of hand very quickly. This is because emotion and reason do not reside in the same room peacefully. One almost always cedes to the other. And when legislation is drafted and enacted purely or majority from emotion instead of reason and rationality, the result is typically more harm than good. One need look no further than the Patriot Act for evidence of this notion.

And when someone shoots up an elementary school, it is difficult to not respond with your emotions.

And emotions are still running high. And the Federal government is looking to cash in on it. And if you want to see evil at work, look no further than those who attempt to gain political points from such tragedies. In the aftermath of the Federal government’s political moves, people might have the feeling of safety. But whether they end up feeling safer, they won’t necessarily be safer. The government will have seized more liberty from the people in exchange for the illusion of safety.

Ignored in all of these calls for "tougher" laws is the fact that the 20 year-old killer broke numerous firearms laws before even pulling the trigger for the first time, starting just with the fact that the firearms were stolen, meaning "gun control" likely would’ve done little, if anything, to arrest or prevent the tragedy that befell Newtown.

One misnomer that many need to get out of their minds is the idea of "gun control". There is no such thing. Instead what many call "gun control" is the seizure of freedom on the part of the government in exchange for merely the illusion of safety. "Gun control" is nothing more than a "Potomac two-step": "we’ll give you safety if you surrender to us your liberty", only it is, again, the illusion of safety that is given, because safety cannot be guaranteed. Laws are not magic spells.

And I’m sure many will cum hard, have a screaming orgasm at the idea of more restrictive gun laws. And some will be satisfied for now, their political cravings sated for the time being, while others, continuing on their political nymphomania, will not be sated at all. That political orgasm won’t satisfy those who want to see Americans further or completely deprived with regard to firearms. They cannot be sated, and they cannot be persuaded away from their goals either.

To meet these ends, several ideas have risen to the top of gun discussions, chief among them seeming to be the idea that firearms owners must justify to the rest of society why we want to keep our firearms. Such ideas ignore the fact that the United States is a republic and not a democracy, and in a republic your rights do not need to be justified to be protected.

Adding to this is the use of the word "need" in these discussions: "who needs these kind of firearms, other than the military?" "Who needs more than 10 rounds in a magazine other than the police?"

Now if you’re a person who feels that I need to justify to you or anyone else why I have my firearms in order to keep them, then I say that you need to justify to me and everyone else why you should have the right to voice your opinions. After all no one needs to dissent from the majority on anything. In fact it can be a risk to your safety to do so, as you never know who you’ll offend and how that person will react, so perhaps everyone should give up their First Amendment rights in the name of safety? What’s that? You’re not willing to do that? You still want to disagree with others and have the ability to voice that disagreement irrespective of the risks involved? Then why the fuck are you calling for the deprivation of others’ rights?

Oh wait, I think I know. It’s because depriving others of their firearms means that you don’t really lose anything. How interesting that one would call for additional restrictions that would not effect oneself in the least.

And since when does becoming a police officer or joining the military suddenly bestow a special trust upon that person with regard to firearms? Why are you only willing to trust the police and military with firearms, but not the common civilian? Every police officer and member of the armed forces begins life as a civilian. The only difference between them and me, aside from being employed by the government, is training. It isn’t like their new military or police status magically gives them the knowledge they need to exert control over their firearm, nor is their military or police status some kind of halo that ensures they will only use their firearms for good.

Ask those who died at Fort Hood and the numerous people who’ve been unjustifiably killed by police for evidence on that mark. After all, no one blames guns for an officer-involved shooting. Oh wait, yeah they do. They blame the firearm the civilian was carrying that caused the officer to open fire: "well if he didn’t have access to that gun…" But with the military, did they blame the guns for the Fort Hood shooting? Do they blame the weapons and ordnance for the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by our military in the last decade, sometimes wiping out entire cities to get a couple suspected terrorists? Of course they don’t blame them. They blame the people involved, either the personnel that went in and committed those heinous acts or the officers overseeing the operation. The guns and ordnance are not blamed at all.

Practice and training is what gives us the ability to trust someone with a firearm. Just as military and police can undergo such training and exercise such practice, so too can civilians. In fact a demonstration of such is necessary before a person can be trusted by the issuing jurisdiction with a license or permit to carry a firearm concealed.

And it is that ability to carry a firearm concealed that leads to further crime deterrence. It’s like a vaccine for crime, wherein those who don’t own firearms still benefit by the presence of those who do being in their building or on their block. And it works in the short run until we can properly diagnose our societal ills to get at the root of problems like what presented in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut.

Now would a person lawfully carrying a concealed pistol have been able to stop the Aurora or Newtown massacres long before they reached the numbers burned into our minds? It’s difficult to say. We can speculate. Yet many seem to think that if anyone dies in a situation arrested by a person carrying a concealed weapon, that if that CCW person could not prevent all of the deaths in a situation, then that person is little better than useless. Talk about a high bar to reach. And I think that’s the point.

But if a lawfully carrying person had violated the "gun free zone" of that public school and stopped things such that 19 children died instead of 20, I think everyone would agree that even saving that one life would still be a win, especially when we’re talking about children. One need not save all lives to justify using a firearm to put a stop to such a situation. After all, lawfully permitted carriers of concealed weapons are not superheroes, and to expect us to be superheroes, saving everyone facing peril and near-certain death, is beyond unfair. They can, however, be the first responders and arrest a bad situation while the police are on their way. After all the sooner someone responds to the situation in the proper manner, the quicker a bad situation is interrupted on its way to being a worse situation. And a person best able to respond to a mass shooter is a person already in the vicinity, and that person need not be a law enforcement officer.

Now not every concealed carrier can put a stop to such situations. In some cases, the presence of a concealed weapon carrier might actually aggravate things. But then, the same can be said of police as well. In fact the same can be said more of police than a concealed carrier of a weapon. As we all know, people don’t always surrender when the police show up. Sometimes they take hostages and/or keep shooting until shot or their ammo is completely expended. And sometimes they just put a bullet through their brain.

I think part of the issue befalling America is the fact that people have too glorified of points of view with regard to, well, everything.