Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More on gun control

If I haven't mentioned this before, I have recently begun e-mailing the writers of Phila Inquirer opinion letters when those opinions differ from my own. The goal is to (hopefully) engage in some interesting and civil correspondences. So far it has been very enjoyable. In the last few days, I have engaged in conversations with two individuals who are in support of the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Today I sent a letter which included the following paragraphs. This is not the full letter because I removed those things which I wrote in my last blog.

"..I think that at the end of the day, both our positions rely on people doing the right thing. You mention road rage in that you think that more people with guns won't necessarily result in more shootings. I think that assumes that people will not act in the heat of the moment and will resist expressing their anger with a gun. That is a pretty hopeful position.

I believe that we are evolving as a society to the point where concepts like might makes right and the use of violence to get what one needs (either individually or collectively) will be selectively removed from our DNA as these concepts lead to death, not life. If that sounds Utopian, perhaps but isn't it just a bigger perspective of people doing the right thing?

Or, perhaps I can put it another way. More citizens carrying guns aims to reduce crime through fear; fear by the criminals that their victims will shoot back. How about an approach that tries to reduce crime through appealing to citizens' respect for laws with an understanding that this respect will be good for everyone? Sort of a positive spin as approach to the negative of fear?

If you Google "murder rate for Chicago" you will see that the murder rate has dropped significantly in the last 30 years. I am not saying that the gun ban had anything to do with that fact as the drop in the murder rate is true nationwide. Perhaps it reflects our growing civility, our evolution that violence is not the answer to any problem.."

If you watch the news today, it seems filled with the horrible things that we do to each other. One might assume that we are becoming more violent, less loving and tolerant. But perhaps the fact that we hear of these stories, the killings, the rapes, the cruelty, is because it is not really commonplace but out of the ordinary. In other words, for most of us, life is stressful and complicated but we are not worried about dying from one day to another. Like passing a car crash on the highway, we are compelled to look, but fortunately we generally lead non-violent lives but are morbidly fascinated by the violence committed to and by others.

One of the justifications that is used for more right to carry (a gun) laws is that criminals ignore laws anyway so it is only law-abiding citizens that are obeying; the old, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Yet data on murders committed via guns, indicates that in a high percentage of times, the victim knew the shooter (or actually owned the gun themselves), not to mention the tragic deaths of children who find guns either loaded or unlocked or both.

Clearly, gun possession and use was an important part of the daily lives of Americans in the 18th century. While there is no way to know, I would speculate that the use of their firearms was more to provide food than for self defense. Daily shootouts in the town square make for a great movie but is that a true reflection of pioneer life. I don't begrudge people who still hunt for food. I don't understand it, but I believe in their right to engage in pastimes that they enjoy. But to have to hunt for your food is not a requirement to the vast majority of people in this country today.

Going to town on one's horse with a gun at your side was a commonplace occurrence in those times. But like the horse, we don't need to go to town with our gun anymore.

As I have said in my previous blog and my letters to my new correspondents, isn't it worth trying to outlaw guns in a locality just to see if it would reduce killings?


  1. "More citizens carrying guns aims to reduce crime through fear; fear by the criminals that their victims will shoot back. How about an approach that tries to reduce crime through appealing to citizens' respect for laws with an understanding that this respect will be good for everyone? Sort of a positive spin as approach to the negative of fear?"

    Criminals are criminals, it is their disrespect for the laws that gives them this name. It is the people that already have respect for the laws that gun control and outlawing guns will effect in a negative way.

    When a child does something wrong, its the fear that they will be put in time out, or disiplined that makes them feel bad about what they did and not do it again.

    Food for thought.

  2. Yes.... Im sorry but I strongly disagree with your approach of appealing to citizens (criminals included) respect for laws.... criminals have no respect for laws. At least for the most part they don't. That is what makes them criminals. I truly wish that it was that easy.... unfortunately I don't believe that it is. You could try to use the same "approach" concerning heroin, or anything else that is already established to be illegal. The fact that heroin is illegal, and the perspective that individuals knowing that not using heroin would obviously impact society as a whole in a positive way and be better for everyone has not stopped the countless people in our country that use the drug, and the countless people everyday that try the drug for the first time. The fact that it is illegal does not stop people. It DEFINITELY doesn't stop the people that already have a blatant disregard for the law and others, and furthermore it does not always stop people who are good and law abiding.... because typically as humans we tend to have the mindset that our individual actions wont effect society as a whole because we don't view ourselves as big enough to make a difference one way or another. Or people look at it like "we are only hurting ourselves".... I hate sounding so cynical.... but people in my experience are selfish and don't think in terms of "us".... people generally think in terms of "me". I wish that weren't true. But it is.

    Any way you try to spin this topic.... gun control would only really effect truly unflinching law abiding citizens. And besides that.... it is a fact that (according to the FBI) the number one weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat. Why is there no talk of a Louisville slugger ban? And then there is this point: Gun control would be the same thing as taking away every citizens right to drive a vehicle, as the solution to stopping deaths and injuries that are a result of individuals choosing to drive under the influence. It would be no different. And why do we never hear about this as a solution to DUI related deaths? Because it would be ridiculous. And because the issue is NEVER really the issue. The issue is nearly always about power. And gun control to me is about power. Period. Yes.... things are different than they were when the 2nd amendment was written. However I will leave you with these two points. One is simply that what you said about citizens no longer needing a gun to ride into town is true, and its not. It just depends on where you live. And I don't know anything about you, but I would not be surprised to learn that you are NOT from a big city. And my last point is about the purpose for the 2nd amendment to begin with. When the founding fathers created the system that our country was founded on they created the system to LIMIT THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT. And the 2nd amendment was largely written to ensure that, if the government started to abuse its role or overstep its boundaries (as it nearly always has in nearly every case EVER throughout history), the citizens would be ABLE to stand up to its government.... as a last resort through arms. And If I were a leader in a government that wanted to gain total control, the first thing I would do is to seize the arms of every citizen that I could. Wouldn't you? I am not some crazy conspiracy theorist.... Im simply stating the main reasoning in why they wrote the 2nd amendment in the first place. And I think they were genius's. I honestly hope that it NEVER comes to that. I also hope, however, that if it does come to that, we are not left standing powerless, and I hope that we have the ABILITY to stand up for what this country was founded on.... individual liberty and FREEDOM from tyranny.

  3. First, if you think that your handgun will somehow enable you to fight against the United States military, should we need to forcefully take back our government, you might want to rethink that supposition. We give our freedoms away at our local polling places when we vote for representatives who do not govern with our interests in mind.

    More importantly, why is it that we continue to believe that having a bigger gun, bigger military, automatically makes us right when we use it. Might does not make right.

  4. Might doesn't make right. It can be a great equalizer, however.

    I was protected from a three-person, knife-point robbery by my associate, who unknown to me, had a concealed carry permit and revolver in his jacket. No shots were fired.

    No one wants guns in the hands of criminals, children, or the mentally ill. Yet I have never heard an original or compelling argument for keeping guns from law abiding citizens.