Opinion: Gun control won’t stop premeditated crimesWritten by Kenneth Sharp | | email@example.com
I would much rather be writing about the fiscal cliff, or right to work legislation, but the events in Newtown, Conn., have galvanized and polarized us.
It is horrid; a nightmare that everyone wishes had not happened. But how can such dark days be avoided? That is the question that is lighting up blogs and social media, bar rooms and coffee houses, kitchen tables and legislatures. The immediate response is to restrict guns in some fashion, or an outright ban on certain types of guns. This is a reasonable first response, but not likely to help.
Crimes of this type are rare, though more common in the United States than elsewhere. They are horrific in scope, in the numbers of lives lost and irrevocably scarred. They are also intentional and planned. These particular crimes are carried out by antisocial psycho/sociopaths who either feel no empathy or feel they are doing their victims a favor by taking them from a random and cruel world.
Guns are effective and the weapon of choice, but by no means the only option. These killers are not opportunists. Unfortunately, many are bright and clever. They will carry out their plans by whatever means they deem best for their purpose.
The deadliest school massacre happened 85 years ago in Bath, Mich. That man used fire and explosives to kill more than 40 people, children included, and injure many more. Between 2010 and 2011, in China, unrelated attacks at schools using knives, cleavers and hammers (guns are not available) have left more than 20 dead and more than 90 injured. Just recently 22 more children were wounded in a knife attack. It is the madness we must address; we will never be able to account for all the methods.
By addressing guns, as the weapon of choice used by some of these few, we punish the vast majority who may benefit if not for the new restraints. These are not the crimes of passion or economics that we seem to have become desensitized to in our current culture. Those crimes are all too common and we are all at greater risk. I have an inalienable right to self protection, as we all do. I have a right to decide how to best achieve that, as long as it does not involve the initiation of force or threats of force against another. I do not need a Second Amendment for that right. The Second Amendment assumes my personal right and goes further to protect that right against a tyrannical state. The type of weapon is never discussed, as it is immaterial.
Rights come with responsibility. There are repercussions for libel and slander. The repercussions for errant gun ownership are likely far more permanent than irresponsible speech. But these are not issues that should be addressed in raw emotion or for political expediency. If that is how we solve our problems we will find ourselves asking why the same problems have come back so quickly and more violently.
We are a violent society. Our government leads us in this category. As of Dec. 1, there have been 178 children killed in drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Just 2 percent of the drone casualties were intended targets. Our heavy hand at home, on the border and elsewhere around the globe has resulted in the deaths of thousands. These we glorify. This is justified. These lives we see from the same eyes, either without empathy or with the cold calculation that they are better off somehow.
I think some form of new gun laws will be enacted. But the real problem will be enforcement. These new laws, like most of our old laws, will undoubtedly mean a greater number of arrests of poor minorities. The majority of mass murders are committed by white males, usually of some means and education. It would be surprising if the laws were not used to arrest more in urban centers, of people who already feel under siege by the state and in need of self-protection. One thing is certain, our already over-crowded prisons are going to get many new residents. For many of you, that is fine. It will help you sleep at night, believing the bad people are locked up. But our dark cultural undercurrent will still be there, erupting violently and unexpectedly, shattering illusions of safety.
The Newtown killer committed suicide, depriving us of our pound of flesh. We are a violent society; we want someone to punish; that is what needs addressed. Dealing with and not just medicating our kids and the mentally ill; that is what needs addressed. Ours is not the free society we think, not for most. Those who can’t find help or options are marginalized and see in the media a way to become relevant, important, heard. Our society is oppressive and repressive; that is what needs addressed.