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Monday, June 20, 2016

Drowning in Guns?

 The June 18th Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson is at it again calling for more control of guns in light of the Orlando killings. In this editorial he puts a slightly new twist on the standard leftist mantra that guns are to blame for killings. It's not guns as such but their widespread proliferation, their abundance.

"Why shouldn't we recast the Second Amendment to recognize more of a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of the massive proliferation of gun possession, legal and illegal, that has led to intolerable carnage?"

What does it mean to have a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of shootings (which he assumes is caused by gun abundance)? It would have to be some rights protection mixed with some rights violations. And what would that mixture look like? I shudder to think.

Regardless, the obvious goal here is to restrict gun ownership to some extent. That is a slippery slope down which we don't want to slide. The principle at work here is this: if some x (gun restrictions) is a good thing then logically will come the cry that more x will be a better thing. In other words the principle of restricting rights will grow by virtue of its own alleged merit whether that merit is true or false.

To put it more simply, to see some restrictions on gun ownership as good, is to see more restrictions as better and that will be followed by seeing total restrictions on all gun ownership as best. (Good, better, best. That's the way principles grow whether true or false). Then no one will have the right to defend themselves. And that dear reader is what happened in Orlando.

Not mentioned in the editorial is the fact that the Pulse club was reported in the news as a gun free zone. This means that the patrons were not allowed to protect themselves. I for one would never venture into an establishment that posted signs saying 'no guns' or 'gun free zone' unless I knew there were at least two armed security guards therein. Only one security guard is woefully inadequate.

But there is something more troubling going on here. To focus on inanimate matter like guns and their numbers as the editorial does, as having a causal influence on the killings, is to ignore the behavior of the killer and its causes. There is nothing morally good about such neglect. The question should be why did the killer feel the need to sacrifice those people for whatever he deemed to be his version of the good? Could it be he was a True Believer--about which Eric Hoffer once wrote--in the morality of sacrifice?

Those victims perished not because guns are so abundant, but because the protection of their right to life was not taken seriously. It is not the widespread proliferation of guns but rather, the war on guns by the gun control movement that's turning America into the modern day equivalent of the Wild West. The war on guns is a war on the right to life.

It stands to reason that if you don't have the right to defend your life, you don't have a right to life. And if that becomes America's new normal, the future will be worse than the old Wild West.

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