Written in full on Sunday, 16 December 2012, in the United States of America, two days after the parallel massacres in Newton, CT and Chenpeng Village.
As of this writing, I am a Life Member of the National Rifle Association and have no plans whatsoever to discontinue said membership in this important American Civil Rights Organization upon which board sits Karl Malone and upon which board sit a few Harvard-trained lawyers.
Harvard-trained lawyers… OK, that’s just for context. Please continue.
None of the current gun control laws in the United States would have stopped the Newtown, CT massacre. Consider: the perp was, according to this story, denied purchase of a gun. No matter, he simply stole them from his mother (stealing = criminal act), then killed her (murder = criminal act) and then transported them to a school (I am going to guess that the elementary school had some sort of “gun-free school zone” law in effect, so that’s another crime), and then channeled Dylan and Eric and Chuck and so forth, finalizing the act by offing himself, almost all of which are crimes for which one may be prosecuted under current laws on the books. I am not sure it’s illegal to kill oneself, but discharging a firearm at a school for any purpose is illegal, so he could’ve picked another method and no State laws would’ve been broken.
Knee-jerk liberals, please keep reading, this is just to get you thinking, by the end, you’ll find you agree with me (though I not with you).
The Numbers Don’t Lie, it’s the Numberers
The guns used in the Newtown Massacre were legally purchased, registered, etc. in accordance with Connecticut state law.
Statistics don’t mean anything, either, because the homicide rate with firearms in the United States is lower than that of Costa Rica. Also, the murder rate in Washington DC. – where gun ownership was until very recently illegal was three times higher than that in New York City, where it’s really, really hard and expensive to legally purchase and keep a gun. This is a neat site: US crimes by city, showing the top three US cities with the highest murder rate are New Orleans, St. Louis and Baltimore. The most violent city is Detroit, with St. Louis, Memphis, Oakland, and Baltimore tailing somewhat closely behind. There’s no city in Connecticut on the list.
Regarding crime, if one does some Friday night web research and applies logic, one will realize that violent crimes, particularly those involving guns (and machetes) are uncommon. You have a much better chance of being robbed in broad daylight in bad sections of New York City like Wall Street or shot at an exclusive disco requested by professional athletes than at an elementary school. Note that there are laws in place that address the two examples – yet why do such crimes still occur? Simple: criminals do not obey laws and laws are enforced after the crime takes place, not before, be it a big, sophisticated modern U.S. city or somewhere on the road to San’aa. Private citizens lawfully carrying weapons also don’t stop criminal acts until they happen, so no lives are saved until after the perp makes the first- though the NRA publishes a monthly account of crimes stopped by law-abiding citizens if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
What’s it all about?
Plus, gun control isn’t about crime at all. The way to control crime is to put criminals, violent and non-violent, in prisons – for a long time. That, and addressing criminal enterprises, like the trade in illegal drugs, that largely fuel all of the astonishingly ghastly gang violence in the US. Building more and more jails would solve a lot of problems: it would put people to work in the planning, design and construction industries, it would take criminals out of society and so on. But… we’re not talking about crime, really we’re talking about crazy people, normal people, criminal or not, don’t regularly kill large numbers of innocents and them off themselves (yes, there are exceptions – Adolf Hitler, for example, but that’s way, way off topic).
Mental Health is a big business these days, especially for newspapers who like asking about it. Unfortunately, pathological lying, which is what cretins like Nicolas Kristoff get away with, who in today’s New York Times would like us to believe that legally purchasing a handgun is easier than adopting a pet, isn’t illegal.
…which is the segue necessary to get at the heart of his essay.
The Right to Arm Bears?
Pet ownership isn’t constitutionally protected, gun ownership is. No matter what you say to the contrary, the Supreme Law of the Land is very clear that citizens may own guns. Adopting a pet from a, oh, cat rescue, can be difficult, especially if it’s run by controlling idiots. (Digression: people who adopt cats from cat rescues are usually the ones who donate their money later to said cat rescues – let them have the cat, even if they don’t regularly take ’em to the vet, dumb-asses.) Last time I checked, there are no laws on the books regulating the immediate transfer of the neighbor’s kittens to one’s home. There’s no waiting period or background check, either. Nick Kristoff is an asshole.
Speaking of waiting periods and background checks – neither matter because someone may snap at any time (or wait) – and no matter how well secured your weapons and ammo may be, where there’s a thief, there’s a target. Raise your hand if you’re for a Federal law mandating regular (every six months) mental health check-ups. Aww, come on! It would create an awesome composite NIH-CDC new Federal agency! And we’d all have our mental health dossiers on file with the government! And we’d be able to screen illegal immigrants with it! Not only that but we could make sure the people who need medication would get it! Free Zoloft for the masses! Anyone who likes the “goth” lifestyle would undergo State-mandated “reeducation”! Liking Emo would, properly, be recognized as a sign of mental illness! Who could be against such a thing? Right, no thinking American, left or right, would even entertain such an idea – plus it would massively intrude upon a variety of civil rights, some of which are mentioned in the US Constitution, like the First and Fourth Amendments, for starters.
Back to the subject, the Constitution of the United States is explicit about gun ownership, despite what many US states and cities have successfully done regarding gun ownership and despite the dead wrong, intellectually dishonest, pseudo-scholarship out there to the contrary. Yes, if you believe the Second Amendment limits gun ownership to the “militia” you are wrong, wrong, wrong and the NRA is 100% right. Give up trying to make it otherwise because the law is what the law says, etc., etc., ad infinitum, etc. again. I’m telling you, you’re going to give it the conciliatory “whatever” if you do the actual research and you thought otherwise. Like it or not it is an American’s right to own a gun.
Now is the Time!
Which brings me to the heart of the matter: the only gun control law that will work, nation-wide, is a repeal of the Second Amendment. The only Amendment yet repealed with the 18th, commonly known as “Prohibition;” i.e., the law that made it illegal to possess alcohol in the United States – this idiotic experiment in social engineering was responsible for an explosion in gun crimes, including not too few massacres, some of which made excellent subject matter for movies and TV shows.
But perhaps it’s the right time to repeal another one. Repeal of the Second Amendment would be within the procedures clearly outlined in the US Constitution for such action, so no issues there. The right number of States need to line up and do it. Strike when the iron’s hot, We The People! Slaughters of Innocents by Nobodies drove the English to ban handguns, so what’s different about the US right now? In response to the Dunblane School Massacre in 1996, laws were passed making it illegal to own handguns in England. In response to the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, Australia imposed severe gun ownership restrictions.
With a repeal of the Second Amendment and the replacement with language to the effect of “Lawful possession of firearms is limited to Federally-licensed military and police personnel” there’d be no pesky constitutional law industry based around private citizens owning guns. On top of that, states and cities, hamlets and neighborhoods, condo and co-ops would be free to lawfully restrict gun ownership and thence pass laws allowing confiscation of said guns – without the threat of lawsuits from the NRA and others. Utimately, law enforcement agencies at the Federal, State and Local levels could lawfully conduct regular (monthly?) searches of people’s homes for guns. It would be easy, they’d start with those citizens who legally purchased guns, and registered them. Then, go after people who are members of the NRA, search their homes, etc. Then just search everyone walking down the street, random searches of cars and so on. As far as criminals are concerned, since we already have laws addressing criminal activity involving guns it won’t matter. Besides, it’s not like a criminal isn’t going to use a baseball bat or his fists to pound you and thence abscond with your money accordingly.
And that is the only way to assure with any real certainly that massacres like that in Newtown won’t happen again: make ownership of guns a Federal crime and actively take them out of the hands of those who own them.
But it can’t end there: our culture needs to change. With gun ownership being illegal, Hollywood and anything associated with gun-related thrill violence, will have to undergo the proverbial paradigm shift and repent from glorifying gun violence. Movies like “Star Wars” that emphasize gun usage by private individuals for defensive purposes should no longer be made or even shown.* Video games that involve the players utilizing guns to progress through the game should no longer be available. Newspapers should no longer sensationalize massacres or violent crimes, bury the story in the crime pages and let that be it. Musicians of all flavors who glorify gun violence – pro or con – in their songs (e.g., miscreants like Bob Geldof) should simply not have any vehicle for their product to reach the consumer market. Yeah, so we make “thought criminals” out of movie producers, big deal, they deserve it.
I do not see any other way to genuinely prevent the next Newtown massacre and neither should you: we, as a nation, have to be brave enough to give up what is currently on the books as a legal right.
And that is all you ever need to understand about real gun control in the US, anything short of that will not work and is a waste of time to ponder.
Don’t Read the Epilogue/Notes…
*A note on “Star Wars.” Wasn’t it cool when Han Solo wasted Greedo at the bar? Wouldn’t it be great to live in a society where that kind of behavior was more or less regular? Think we do already? Think again: we do not. The cops will come for you and eventually get you – unless you get to yourself first. Heroic outlaws rarely, if ever, are a force for good in human history. They’re more often psychopaths fueled by greed. They control their fiefdoms – of any size – by force and intimidation; toe the line and maybe you’ll live. What justice? Leave town and never come back. “Star Wars” is rated PG. Is there something wrong with taking a seven-year-old to see it? Your impressionable son or daughter just saw a white guy shoot, with a big hand gun, someone of a different color, with a funny accent, in a bar. And everyone decided not to pay attention. …and that scene was right after an old white man cut off a funny-talking brown guy’s arm – with a concealed weapon. That’s really cool, isn’t it?
**If it were up to me – and it isn’t and won’t be – I’d prosecute and study the perps, should they remain alive, and help the victims recover. Regarding prevention of the next one, there is nothing other than the extreme measures I suggest above that could and would work. But I believe in the Second Amendment and I know for a fact that individual citizens armed with small arms will hold back oppressive regimes – kill one, scare ten thousand is as applicable today as it was way back when. Kids with rocks successfully hold back tanks – just read the news. So I am going to be the American who is against repeal of the Second Amendment – which is the only thing our legislators can consider. The point of this essay is to describe just what lengths are necessary to genuinely actively address and prevent random gun massacres. Otherwise it’s a complete waste of time. Taking guns away from Manhattanites who don’t own them in the first place (unless you’re the publisher of the New York Times) will not do a bit of good to prevent kids from stealing their grandfather’s weapons and then using such in the systematic taking out of their gym class.