Any time the U.S. has an incident of mass murder involving guns, there are the predictable reactions of fear and outrage in which logic gets washed away in torrents of emotion.
The cries for stricter gun-control laws rise to a passionate crescendo. The National Rifle Association is pilloried as a demonic special interest whose callous disregard of public safety threatens the life of every citizen. And once again we debate the meaning and appropriateness of the 2nd Amendment.
Fear and anger are the enemies of reason. As horrific as these massacres are, prohibiting citizens from having guns will not prevent further incidents of gun violence. Crafting reasonable restrictions on gun ownership — the type and quantity of weapons, or the amount of ammunition one can have — will keep law-abiding citizens less armed, but that won’t prevent villains from getting the weapons and ammo they want.
Unless every gun in the world were destroyed and the means of manufacturing more were permanently disabled, guns will find their way into the hands of those who want them.
Still, many want more laws so they can delude themselves that the problem of gun violence has been addressed. Laws banning guns are as effective as laws banning tornadoes. Norway’s severely restrictive gun laws didn’t prevent the mass murder of 77 people there last year. Conversely, Switzerland’s policy of having all its citizens armed hasn’t led to killing sprees.
Before there were firearms, people slaughtered each other with swords, clubs and rocks. Murder will not be eliminated by eliminating the instruments of death. Only healing the human psyche might accomplish that.
The worst genocides in history have occurred when the state or a particular group is well armed while their victims are not. No single incident of mass murder ever suffered in the U.S. compares in scope to history’s genocides. Tyranny that permits such atrocities arises and endures when those in power have overwhelming force with which to subjugate the population.
This brings us back to the 2nd Amendment. It states the obvious — the security of a free state is dependent on the right of citizens to keep and bear arms and, therefore, that right shall not be infringed.
I understand that, for many, the possibility of violent government oppression seems fantastical, so they may tend to consider the 2nd Amendment a quaint anachronism no longer needed. But any study of human history, any clear contemplation of America’s growing police state and its increasingly abusive behavior, should cause rational minds to appreciate the continued necessity of the 2nd Amendment.
Additionally, even when police are behaving as protectors rather than as agents of oppression, they cannot be personal bodyguards for everyone. How can citizens be secure in their person and homes if they are disarmed? The gun prohibitionists will quote statistics of mayhem and murder involving guns but ignore the evidence of armed citizens protecting themselves.
Guns in the hands of wackos facilitate mass murder. If there are reasonable measures that can mitigate, if not prevent gun violence, we need to consider them. Remedies, however, will not be found by insisting on effectively disarming the public. All the emotional ranting about the insanity of guns has not and will not move us toward an answer. Most Americans continue to support the right to keep and bear arms, and they oppose overreaching infringements of that right, as they should.
We cannot prevent tornadoes, but we can prepare for them, attempt to predict them and try to avoid them. We might do the same regarding gun violence — but we will not eliminate it. Unless there is an evolutionary change in human nature, someone will have the weapons and they will use them. Ending murder and mayhem happens in the mind, not in the legislature.