Thanks to Obama’s twenty-three Executive Orders (gee, if someone named Bush did that many in one fell swoop the leftists would be screaming “imperial presidency!”), which was brilliantly taken apart here (fair warning, don’t have liquids in your mouth when reading that post), we’ve now got the gun-control advocates thinking that they’re going to get their way this time.
But what is really behind many of the calls for greater gun control? I’m talking about the calls from the average man on the street or blog commenter, not from the Democratic Leadership (their motives would take a whole post on its own, and I may take it up someday).
Judging from what I have seen on the various blogs, it comes down to the notion that if we just add a few more gun laws, we’ll have absolute safety from violence forevermore. This concept is, thankfully, pretty easily debunked.
The idea that all violence is caused by firearms, to start with, can be refuted by pointing to several incidents, some of which you’ve probably heard of, some of which you might not have. Let’s start with probably the best-known one: Jack the Ripper.
Whoever Jack the Ripper was, and theories abound, he managed to commit five murders in London in 1888 without recourse to firearms. This isn’t because there were no firearms to be had, since flintlock pistols were developed in the 1700′s, and were followed by advances such as the percussion-cap pistol.
I can hear some of you screaming at your screen, “he was a serial killer, not a mass murderer like we had at Columbine or Sandy Hook!” True enough, but one need not use a firearm to become a mass murderer, either.
Consider 2001′s murder of eight children in a school in Osaka, Japan using just a kitchen knife. There’s also the Tokyo stabbing attack that left seven dead. And just last month, a man stabbed twenty-two children and one adult at a China “primary school” (I am betting that’s what in America we’d call an elementary school).
If Japan and China, which have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world still face mass murders, and mass murders of children, is it really the case that more gun regulations in America will solve the school violence problem? Color me extremely skeptical. It seems logical that, like the nutburgers in Japan or China, anyone bent on committing a mass murder would just switch weapons.
And it’s not just knives. Back in 2006 a man broke into a Florida home and beat six people to death with a baseball bat. Should we now have mandatory registration and background checks before someone can purchase a kitchen knife of a baseball bat? Given the overheated rhetoric I’ve seen in favor of banning guns, I honestly wouldn’t put it past them to try it someday.
The whole idea that another law, or even another twenty-three laws, on top of all the existing laws, will cause someone deranged enough to seriously contemplate mass murder to suddenly change their mind is also patently absurd if you look closely at it — likely why most of the gun-control comments I’ve seen rely heavily on emotion. I doubt that any of the mass murderers listed above or in the news recently would have said, “well, gee, I was going to go to that school or mall and kill a bunch of people, but I heard there’s a new law against that, so I’d better not.”
The bottom line is, we cannot make everything safe for everyone, and trying to do so frequently results in more harm than good. Take, for example, the rise of “antibacterial” soaps, which some researchers think is responsible for the new wave of organisms that are resistant to existing antibiotics — and they’re really not that much more effective at killing germs than plain old soap!
All too often, the urge to make something “safer” backfires, so we’d probably be safer in the long run if these nannies who want to ban everything they consider unsafe would just find better ways to spend their time. If nothing else, the overall stress level in the nation would probably drop, as the endless sturm und drang over the latest danger that’s going to kill everyone subsides.