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