On the Issues: Gun Control
Well, here we are again, another shooting. I'm gonna try to keep this one short.
Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves now that this is such an outrage, unacceptable, guns are so dangerous, such death, much ban, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we've had this conversation before and it didn't work then either.
I'm not really gonna quote you any statistics in this article. I'll leave it to my friend Bill Whittle to do that for me. Instead, I'm just gonna ask those of you in favor of gun control to do one thing. It's not hard. It won't cost you anything, and you don't have to do any work to prepare for it. Some of you might not even have to leave your house to do it.
(Trust me, this will be good for you in the long run, if you read through to the end.)
Here's what I want you to do, if you're in favor of any form of gun control. I want you to find a friend or neighbor or relative that owns a gun, walk right up to them, look them straight in the eye, and tell that person how much you want them to die. Go on, don't be bashful. I'll wait until you're done.
It helps if this is someone who actually means something to you, but a stranger will suffice in a pinch.
You probably think I'm insane for asking that. I don't blame you, as the person has a gun, and what if they shoot you for saying that? But just follow me for a minute.
No, I'm not joking. I'm being completely serious right now. If you are in favor of any form of restriction on the ownership of firearms that goes beyond preventing convicted criminals or the mentally ill from having whatever weapon they want, I want you to find a gun-owner and tell them to their face how much you want that person to die. In those exact words. Maybe add some f-bombs in there too for good measure.
Alright, how'd it go? Welcome back, by the ... wait, what?
You're saying you didn't do the one very simple thing I asked of you because you think it's stupid and callous and likely to create a lot of problems? Pishaw! That's no excuse. You need to be thinking more of the children. I know you care about children because you're not a sociopath. Do it for them, because you hate violence and want gun owners to die because they're bad people and bad people deserve death.
No, I won't take no for an answer, you march your butt on out there and say the words.
Again, I'm not in any hurry.
Did you actually do it this time? Probably not, but let's just pretend you did for sake of argument. No one has to know but us that you chickened out.
So you told the big, bad, mean, scary (possibly racist) gun-owner you wanted them dead.
Assuming they didn't interpret your statement as a credible threat and shoot you on the spot - which I wouldn't blame them, since that's a pretty crazy thing to do and if you did that to me, I'd probably be in fear for my life as well. Assuming you're still alive after your encounter, I want you to consider for a moment just how restrained that person is in not resorting to violence, despite having the means at their fingertips, both in that instance, and on a regular basis. The fact that they have a gun and yet, so far as you or I know, hasn't harmed anyone with it, is what I want you to hold in your mind.
Now imagine what's different about that person and your average mass shooter.
I'll give you a hint. It's not the gun, as the gun is the one thing they have in common.
Keep trying, I'm sure you'll come up with something eventually.
Consider then, the fact that a third of America is like that: armed, but not really dangerous unless and until you pose a credible threat to them. Until you try to rape, assault, or murder them or someone they care about. There are a hundred million gun-owners in America, yet there aren't a hundred million gun crimes committed even in an entire year.
The annual gun murder rate for the country doesn't even register one-tenth of one percent of them.
More people have probably perished from direct contact with Michael Moore.
Ok, I promised not a lot of stats, but suffice to say, you're more likely to die in your own swimming pool than getting shot, it's just that gun crime has really persuasive optics behind it.
Returning to you and your neighbor, I want you to consider for a minute what you're asking them to do by giving up their guns. Whether you think they need them or not, and maybe they don't, they at least feel safer with them. By telling them they can't have a gun, you are in fact telling them you don't want them to feel safe, and that you want to expose them to an increased risk of dying.
That's how they interpret your call for gun control and why they fight you so vociferously on it.
You might say that them having a gun makes you feel unsafe, and I'm not going to invalidate your feelings. All I'm gonna do is help you clarify what it is you actually feel. Is it the gun you're afraid of, or the person holding it? Remember, I told you to pick someone you cared about, so presumably this is someone you already trust to a degree, whom you otherwise have full faith and confidence would never do you any harm. Do you suddenly trust them less because they have a particular inanimate object in their hands? Would you feel any different if it were a knife or the steering wheel of a car?
Presumably not, so then, what is it you're afraid of?
I'd wager what you're really afraid of in this case is the unknown. Maybe you trust this particular person, maybe you can even talk yourself into trusting that they, at least, know what they're doing; but in a more abstract sense, you can imagine someone you don't trust wielding weapons and hurting people, possibly even hurting you.
Would it surprise you to learn your gun-toting loved one likely also shares that same fear? That's why they choose to be armed, so they can defend against the unknown on at least a relatively even playing field, whereas how do you choose to deal with it?
Maybe you don't trust yourself with a gun, and that's fine. You don't have to have one. Maybe you don't trust yourself behind the wheel of a car either, or in handling knives, or being around small children, or using the stove. That's all fine too, that's your business.
Doesn't mean you get to dictate what others can and cannot do. If anything, it makes you uniquely unqualified in that regard, as they are probably more capable of handling those things responsibly than the person too afraid to even look at them.
I'm just dropping the pretense for you, is all.
Maybe you don't actually want that person to die, because you're a good person and you care about them and don't like violence, but it doesn't matter. Regardless of your well-meaning intentions, that's how it will be received and those are the inevitable consequences that will follow from your policies. So then, if you wanna implement gun control, you first have to find a way to convince them that they will be safe without their weapons. I'm here to tell you, that's a fool's errand. You can't.
To illustrate this point, let's consider the following two scenarios.
Supposing you're walking down the road and you hear something rustling in the bushes. You're not sure what it is. You think you see something that looks like it could be a snake, but it might just be a stick. Your immediate instinct is to assume that it's probably a snake, so you approach cautiously with that in mind. You find out it's only a stick.
Whew! False alarm. That's a relief!
In this case, your fear was over nothing, and being wrong didn't cost you anything, but it was still justified, because consider the alternative. What if instead, you assumed it was only a stick and just nonchalantly walked over to it, when in reality, it was a poisonous snake. Snap! You're bit and likely dead within moments. In that case, your error in judgment proved fatal.
From an evolutionary standpoint, the people without a healthy amount of trait-neuroticism got weeded out of the gene pool, whereas those who were overly cautious tended to survive. The world is full of snakes and wolves while you are trying to be rabbits.
The hypothetical attacker the gun-owner's picturing when they stock their basement full of automatic weapons is like the snake in this case.
If you have a gun and nothing bad ever happens to you, you're no worse for wares. Maybe you're out a few bucks and some time. That beats the alternative of being unarmed and being dead because you couldn't protect yourself in that one critical moment when it really mattered most.
Better to have and not need than to need and not have, as the saying goes.
Most of the time, those weapons will never even leave the rack,
except maybe for cleaning or target practice.
Scenario two. Imagine that you're a lion living out in the savannah. You're feeling hungry and are out for prey. You happen upon a pair of antelope. One is young, feeble, kind of sickly. Its horns haven't fully grown in yet. The other is a large, healthy, stocky creature with a huge set of antlers. Which one are you, the predator, going to go after?
Obviously, you'd pick the weaker one because it's easy prey and poses little to no risk to you personally.
This is how predators generally operate and it's an ancient animal instinct. One that applies to human predators as well. And so now, if you're the antelope, which would you rather be? Obviously, you'd want to be the one that is well-armed and able to fight against a lion, because it gives you the best chance of surviving. Nature prefers it that way. Survival of the fittest.
Again, in a world of predators, do you wanna be a victim-in-waiting or would you rather be able to protect yourself at a moment's notice?
People say that gun laws help make crime more difficult by providing friction. It gives the would-be criminal another obstacle to overcome that might ultimately deter them from committing any acts of aggression. Like throwing up rocks and stumps in front of the lion to make it harder to reach its prey.
You know what else does that? Having a well-armed populace.
Pop Quiz: Your only two options are A or B. There is no option C. Pick one.
Yes, I'm deliberately forcing your hand here. No, it's not fair. That's life. Suck it up and pick one.
Hopefully, you didn't choose the one that makes you a victim.
Of course, there's something else about this scenario that makes the situation bad for the would-be predator. Just the mere presence of the adult antelope poses a threat to the lion. The so-called herd immunity it provides to the lesser fawn acts as a deterrent, which is in fact why prey animals tend to band together in groups, because there is strength in numbers. Maybe the adult is the young one's mother, or maybe it just mistakes the lion's intent in thinking it's the preferred target instead, and so it fights back, because it's not a mind reader and can't know how safe it ultimately is.
Even if you don't personally like guns, the mere presence of guns in your vicinity acts as a deterrent against crime. Your friend from before is indirectly protecting you. You should thank them.
Better still if a would-be attacker has reason to think you're armed, even if you're not, as they are less likely to take a chance on that, versus someone somewhere they know to be unarmed. I would generally advise, even if you don't like guns, to still pretend like you have them in your house or on your person and not broadcast your vulnerabilities to the world. That seems like a good way to paint a target on your back.
Be a sheep in wolf's clothing at the very least.
This is also why most gun crimes tend to happen in places that have gun control, because the law strips the antelope of its horns, making it more vulnerable. You only have to consider it from the point of view of the predator, and which location would you prefer as your hunting grounds? Again, refer to the image above of the two women. Who do you think makes a better victim?
If you still don't think herd immunity is a deterrent, ask yourself this. Do you trust the police?
I mean, I personally don't. I tend to remain cautious around them and treat them like the snake until I find out they're a stick, but that's only because I had some bad experiences with them in the past and feel that, if it could happen once, it could happen again, so I choose to be proactive and take my safety into my own hands.
And I do it in such a way that doesn't draw unwanted attention to myself, or which creates the potential for negative repercussions to befall me or others, because I'm generally a conscientious, moral human being like that.
Odds are, you probably just let some government-run school teach them.
That's not to say I think the police are bad people. I truly know most of them are just doing their jobs, trying to make the world safe as best they can, putting their lives on the line. Doesn't change how I feel, because of past experiences that occurred.
I'm not a mind-reader, so I can't know which are the bad ones - which are the predators - so the safest course is to assume mistrust until proven otherwise; though again, I do genuinely try to be empathetic towards them, because most of them are good people and it's not their fault.
Maybe you are more trusting of the police than me, but then ask yourself why that is. The police have guns. Guns are scary and dangerous, right? Oh, but they're trained in how to use them properly, you might say. Ok, sure, but then why can't regular citizens be trained how to use them as well and thus obviate the need for police altogether? Does putting on a badge and a uniform grant you some sort of magic powers to learn the elusive dark arts of gun safety?
If police shootings are any indiction, one could reasonably argue that the average gun-owning citizen is perhaps even better trained than the police. Right?
I'm genuinely curious how commies and SJWs plan to stop crime without guns or prisons.
Speaking for myself, I'd take a thousand mass-shootings before an Orwellian regime. You can live under tyranny and oppression if you like. That's your business and I won't tell you what to do, just leave me out of it. Fair?
Again, I'm not suggesting anyone in particular has done anything nefarious, or even that they would, I'm just trying to get you to think about things in a different light.
So you trust the cops, right? And the cops have guns and are trained to use them. Well, it's been shown that increased police presence has a marked impact on reducing crime. Rudy Guilliani proved that when he cleaned up the streets of New York, with part of his strategy being to hire more police. It's perfectly fair to say certain of his tactics clearly had issues (like Stop and Frisk); but as someone who's lived near there and been to Manhattan many times, I can tell you, it was a real shithole before he took office.
What increased police presence really means, though, is an increase in the number of people wielding guns with the intent to use them for lawful purposes.
That's all the police are - a good guy with a gun.
At least most of the time.
So, if it's just good guys with guns that are preventing crime, the badge is really superfluous, at least for that purpose.
And for anyone worried about vigilante justice, do yourself a favor and skip taking your kids to see Black Panther, or any other superhero thing ever again, because that's all they are, is vigilantes. Same with most action movies or video games. It's someone taking morality into their own hands rather than waiting around for the democratically-appointed authorities to do it for them.
Obviously, there are some caveats that go along with that - not everyone is equally trustworthy and some people become villains - but my point is, we're a culture that worships vigilantes, so pardon me if I find your concern to be just a little bit precious.
Also, definitely take your kids to see Black Panther.
I know I'm super psyched to see it, and just in time for my birthday. 38D
Still not convinced about guns granting herd immunity? Consider this. Would you say you are more or less likely to commit a crime if the police are not present? I know you're a moral, upright citizen who wouldn't even consider it, but humor me. You know you would, right? If you could get away with it and not get caught. Maybe you don't say it out loud, but deep down, some darker part of you has probably already considered something you'd do, but for the cops - or someone else - being there to stop you.
Again, the uniform and badge only really matter in terms of optics, as you probably wouldn't commit a crime in front of a redneck with a shotgun or a midget with an AR-15 either. Hell, even an itty-bitty derringer might be enough to dissuade you.
I can be sure of this, since there are people who shit their pants at the sight of Pop-Tarts shaped like guns. Guess these people never played cops and robbers as kids.
They must be from Britain, where guns are banned and people go to jail for Tweets.
Anyways, my general attitude is this. It's well and good to try, but you will never be able to rid the world of crime. Rather than wait to be a victim, or outsource your security to someone else, it's better to do what you can at a personal level to protect yourself. If you can fight off one wolf, you can fight off more that come and you'll never have to worry or feel helpless ever again.
That's a much better feeling than living in fear, right?
People have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and property. That always remains, and if people aren't going to obey "thou shalt not murder," they aren't gonna bother with your carry permits either. Again, you can say it adds friction, but so does being armed yourself.
As far as what to do about offenders, I default to the presumption of innocence. Do what you want, but harm no one. And then, and only then, if you hurt someone, you get punished for it.
Towards that end, I say we should maintain two lists. The first is of people duly convicted of felonies in a court of law, whom a judge or jury, through due process, has declared so dangerous they cannot be allowed to carry firearms. The other is a list of people evaluated by competent medical experts as being sufficiently psychologically deficient in some way, such that they could pose a threat to others.
So criminals and the mentally ill, basically.
If you want a gun, this is how you do it. You go up to someone selling a gun. You tell them, "Hey, I'd like to buy a gun," whatever kind it might happen to be - a tank if you can afford it, or one of Elon Musk's flamethrowers. The vendor opens up an app on their phone, checks the two lists. If your name isn't on either one, you give him money, he gives you a gun. Congrats, you're not a proud new gun-owner.
Simple as that.
And if you're on those lists and the vendor sells them to you, by all means, take them to court as well, but again, it should be that simple. Responsible people have rights, and a corresponding duty to exercise those rights in a way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others. We talk about the right to bear arms and the duty not to shoot someone without cause, but there's another duty incumbent in that. The duty to use those arms to protect the weak and helpless, even if it just means standing guard and contributing to the herd immunity.
Let me say that again. You don't just have a right to be armed, you have a duty to be armed, as it helps protect your fellow citizens.
So much for keeping it short. At least this way, I'll save myself a lot of writing in the future and I can just whip out this out next time some nut job fires off a wrong and spooks the herd and we all get stupid and start panicking, calling for inane things like gun control.
Hopefully, we won't have to have this conversation again in the future, but I know we will. Because people are stupid and want their loved ones to die, apparently.