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“I see no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” – Ronald Reagan

"I support and promote local and national gun control laws and organizations. If a guy can't hit a deer in one shot, he sure as hell isn't much of a hunter." – Barry Goldwater

“Guns are an abomination.” – Richard Nixon

In a diary posted a few days ago I offered common sense rebuttals to the same tired arguments against gun control. Alas, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the opponents of common sense have been especially persistent in defense of the indefensible. In response to still more ill-considered or deliberately deceptive arguments from the pro-gun crowd as to why the scourge of guns and mass murder in America cannot or should not be challenged, more plain-spoken common sense:

The more guns on the streets, the safer we will all be.

Really? That’s like saying that increasing the number of cars on the roads will decrease the number of automobile accidents. The United States already has the highest civilian gun ownership rate in the world, with 89 guns per 100 people, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. How many more guns do we need before we feel “safe”?

Now look at the rest of the world. In nations where gun laws are more restrictive than ours, there are significantly fewer gun homicides and mass shootings. A gunman’s rampage that killed 35 people in Tasmania in 1996 moved Australia to pass some of the most strict gun laws in the world. Did it work? You tell me. There were a dozen mass shootings with at least five deaths in the country between 1981 and the Tasmania massacre; there have been none in the 16 years since. The journal Injury Prevention reported in 2006 that the risk of dying by gunshot had halved in Australia in a decade. In 2010 in Australia, there were 0.1 gun murders per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, less than half the rate of a decade earlier. In the United States the murder rate was more than 30 times higher, at 3.2 per 100,000. You can find similar examples in Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Great Britain. As Britain’s former Home Secretary Jack Straw put it, “There is no act of Parliament, no act of Congress, that can guarantee there'll never be a massacre. However, the more you tighten the law, the more you reduce the risk."

And don’t tell me there are other ways to kill people besides using guns. Of course there are. But here’s the difference: When a maniac in China stabbed 22 children and one adult in front of a school on the same day as the Newtown massacre, how many of the victims died? Can you tell me? The answer is, not one. Why do Americans want to make it so much easier for our would-be killers?

If someone on the scene had been armed, they could have taken down the shooter and prevented further deaths.

Maybe, maybe not, but I am doubtful. One can only imagine the horror and confusion inside the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater when smoke bombs and bullets began to fly. Would additional shooters firing blindly into the smoky darkness as theater-goers scrambled to escape have prevented addditional deaths or added many more? When an assailant gunned down a man in front of the Empire State Building in New York last August, nine bystanders were wounded by crossfire from police. This is not a condemnation of the NYPD, who are among this country’s best trained defenders of public safety, but an example of what can happen even in the presence of professionals. Just imagine the potential mayhem from amateur gunslingers firing from every which way in a crowded public place.

Even being surrounded by the nation’s best security agents and expert marksmen is no deterrent to the committed shooter. Just ask Ronald Reagan.

Mass shooters choose theaters, schools and shopping malls because they know they are gun-free zones.

No, mass shooters choose theaters, schools and shopping malls because that’s where the people are. They also know that mass shootings in theaters, schools and shopping malls will get wall-to-wall coverage on television and in the newspapers. Most of these killers may be crazy, but they know how to court the media’s attention.

Massacres like the one in Newtown are the price we pay for our freedom.

This one just blows me away. The editors of the National Review actually have the audacity to tout this especially repulsive line of reasoning in an editorial on their website. How horrifically and enfuriatingly wrong they are. There is no way I am willing to sacrifice my children in exchange for whatever twisted , self-interested definition of freedom the National Review believes in. If allowing someone to slaughter my children is the cost of freedom, then that cost is far, far too high, and I am not willing to pay it. I don’t for a nanosecond believe anyone at the National Review is willing to surrender their own children to a crazed gunman’s bullets, either. I would give my life in a heartbeat to protect my family, and I’m willing to put my own life at risk to defend my country from any enemy that threatens our actual freedom. But for the “right” of some gun fetishists to own military-styled high-caliber semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines? Hell, no. Extremist statements like those of the National Review make my skin crawl and my blood run cold.

One thing we know for certain: doing nothing will change nothing. Most sensible Americans don’t believe that mere legislation can eliminate all gun violence, but it would be a big step in the right direction. We can put our minds and our efforts to reducing the numbers and reducing the risk right now. Since when has American been a nation that throws up its hands and says, “That can’t be done” or “This job is too hard?” We must not allow the difficulty of the task to deter us from accomplishing the job.

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Comment Preferences

  •  well, you have no problems (0+ / 0-)

    ... to sacrifice other people's children.

    You voted for a president who keeps bombing civilan targets outside of war zones. Their blood is on your hands.

    Are they less worthy than the cute white ones in Connecticut?

    "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

    by cris0000 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:21:02 PM PST

    •  First of all... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you have no knowledge of whom I voted for.

      Second of all, you have no knowledge of my opinion of this war or any war. How clean are your hands, chum?

      Finally, you give a fine demonstration of your own hatred by telling us that because some children have died all others should be allowed to die.

      How about working for a world in which no children die? Or would that deprive you of the opportunity to bitch about the world?

    •  PS (0+ / 0-)

      Not all the Newtown children were white, but I'm sure you couldn't be bothered getting to know the details.

      •  you have not given in one iota (0+ / 0-)

        on the basic assumption.

        Being that Pakistani or Yemeni children's lives are way less worthy than American children in your eyes.

        This is not about "your opinion on the war". That is secondary.  It is about your opinion on other people.

        The United States' conduct of war in those non-belligerent nations is a fundamentally racist endeavor.  

        The US does not attack domestic criminals with drones, risking serious amounts of civilian/bystander casualties. And in all those countries where the drone bombings happen the US could send comparatively modestly armed policemen as well, operating under rules of engagement identical to those of United States law enforcement agencies.

        Of course they would die in measurable quantities, just like they die in the US when attacking armed criminals.  But in the US this is considered a necessary price to pay. In Pakistan, Yemen and other theaters of the drone war, on the other hand, this price is apparently perfectly acceptable.

        What does that mean?

        This basic calculation underlying the drone bombings is fundamentally racist and evil. And it stays fundamentally racist and evil even if you mourn the occasional black or brown kid killed in the US.

        I consider the current American national outrage and mourning over those 20 kids deeply cynical and dishonest.

        Those 20 kids killed in Connecticut are a small fraction of what the United States killed in peaceful countries abroad during the last decade.  

        And they plan to kill more.

        You plan to kill more.

        Go, mourn those kids.

        "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

        by cris0000 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:48:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As it happens... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jilly W

          I might have agreed with you about the war and drones if you'd not been so presumptuous and filled with hatred for people about whom you know less than nothing. If you can do this, and you can dismiss the grief of some parents in favor of the grief of others, you are the very definition of a bigot. I oppose racism in all its forms, most of all in the form of the sort of hypocrisy that you preach. This is a forum for people of open minds and hearts who agree or disagree on issues based on thoughtful consideration and respect for the opinions of others, not for bigots who care for nothing but spreading hatred.

          And if you're going to quote Rammstein, why not this one from the band: "We are against racism, bigotry or any other type of discrimination." You could learn from them.

          •  hatred? (0+ / 0-)

            You lash out because my description fits.

            I do respect the grief and mourning of the affected parents, families and friends.

            I don't respect the general American outburst of grief and outrage. In light of American's general indifference towards the children they have their government kill abroad, this outburst is inconsequential and betrays exactly the racist mind set I described above.

            You calling  this "hatred" is an indication that you solidarize with this - racist - sentiment.

            So you say you oppose racism in all forms, yet you vigorously argue that an american child that is violently killed hundreds of miles away from you deserves incredibly much higher amount of public attention, grief and outrage than a child violently killed by your government in Pakistan.

            To quote another German poet - I hear your message well, alone, I lack belief  (Goethe, Faust I).

            "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

            by cris0000 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:57:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Kennesaw, GA, passed a gun law in 1982 ... (0+ / 0-)

    requiring all heads of households to own a gun and ammunition for it.  Crime subsequently plummeted to the lowest rate in the entire country, and the city is regularly on the list of "safest cities in America" in which to reside.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

    by Neuroptimalian on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:40:30 PM PST

    •  A tired example overused by gun advocates. (0+ / 0-)

      One can always find an isolated example to support any argument. Kennesaw, GA, was and is a small town; about 8,000 pop. in 1982, abut 14,000 pop. today. According to Kennesaw Town Historian Robert Jones, the law's original purpose was not to reduce crime but to put the town's name in the newspapers. He also points out that Kennesaw had virtually no crime before the law. With a burglary rate of 11 per 1,000 households in 1982, there wasn't much distance to "plummet."

      Now I will counter with Japan, a crowded, industrialized nation of 127 million people, which has the most stringent gun-control laws on the planet and where the rate of deaths by guns is 0.7 per 100,000 population. The rate in the U.S. is 9.2 per 100,000.

      •  There's more to the Kennesaw stats ... (0+ / 0-)

        than you've bothered to reveal:

        Crime Plunges in Pro-gun Town

            Wednesday, March 28, 2001

        Here is a tale of two cities: one that banned handguns and one that required guns. Guess which town enjoyed a plunge in crime.

        In June 1981, Morton Grove, Ill., a northern suburb of Chicago, passed an ordinance banning handguns. In reaction, Kennesaw, Ga., a northern suburb of Atlanta, passed an ordinance requiring heads of households "to maintain a firearm" and ammunition "to provide for the civil defense" and "protect the general welfare of the City and its inhabitants."


         The results?

        Not much of anything in Morton Grove. ...

        But Kennesaw's crime rate plummeted. In fact, the number of some crimes declined amid soaring population growth. For example, in figures the city provided to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Kennesaw had 54 burglaries in 1981 – the year before the gun ordinance – with a population of 5,242. In 1999, with a population of 19,000, only 36 burglaries were reported.

        The rate of violent crime is approximately four times lower than the state and national rates, Kennesaw's Crime Statistics Report said. "Violent crime is almost nonexistent in residential neighborhoods," Graydon told UPI. The detective, who has been with the police department since 1986, said the isolated exceptions take place in motels or in commercial areas.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:02:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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