An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Guns’

Lefty’s Special Comment: The Aurora, Colorado Massacre

I haven’t done one of these in a long time.  I haven’t thought about something this seriously in a long time.  After it happened, I did a post about the fact that before people even knew all the facts, they were jumping on the two major bandwagons that exist in this country.

The first bandwagon is the liberal one.  It says that this happened because there it is so easy to get guns.  If we make it harder for people to get guns, then these sorts of crimes won’t happen.  The second bandwagon is that if people had more guns, they could have stopped this.  That people with guns could have made a difference.

I want to be far more thorough in this special comment than I was in the other post.  Here’s the thing about the liberal argument – it’s lazy.  It is a lazy argument to say that if we get rid of guns, violent crimes will go away.  Because it deliberately ignores the investigation into why these things happen.  So many people just say, “he’s crazy.”  “The shooter was mentally ill.”  That is also lazy.  There seems to be a phobia among Americans when it comes to looking at things critically.

Violent crime doesn’t come from guns.  It has never come from guns.  Long before people had guns, people were killing people.  Of course, I am not one of those people who makes the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  That argument is as tired as it is weak.  But long before guns, murder was still happening.

The reasons why are many.  The first is because there is a part of human nature that is violent.  We are not beholden to it, but it is there all the same.  Before guns, we used swords.  The sword has killed just as many people, if not more, than a gun.  Before swords, primitive humans beat each other to death with clubs or primitive tools.  The violence of the human animal goes back to before we were human.  Violence is a part of nature.  And much as we like to deny it, we are animals.

The next reason is because there are a LOT of social problems in this country.  Before we look at regulating guns, here’s a thought – how about we end the drug war.  It is a safe bet that most violent crime in this country comes from the unbelievably stupid war on drugs, which is hugely tied into the existence of gangs and organized crime.  Where there is organized crime, there is violence.  These two things have gone hand in hand since day one.  If all drugs, not just marijuana, but everything was made legal, it could be controlled, taxed, and taken off the street.  You can bet that if all of the drug market was legal, the illegal market would be crushed in a matter of weeks.  In a matter of weeks, crime would drop because gangs would be put out of business.

If the liberals are going to argue for the making of having firearms illegal, then they have to be smarter about that.  Now, some liberals take a position that owning a gun should be a lot like getting a car.  I am not totally against that.  It is a fact that the regulations already in place are often ignored.  That is taking things from a measured perspective, but to say that we should outright ban them is foolish.

Another thing that must be taken into account is that how would getting rid of all guns be enforced?  It would be enforced by cops.  The police.  Honestly, the cops are far more dangerous than the average criminal.  The police have demonstrated, time and time again, how they will abuse authority and are accountable to nobody.  So, we want an armed and more and more violent force who has shown that cracking down on the public is not outside the purview of what is acceptable to have jurisdiction over what we keep in our homes?

Not only would the cops, who have been proven not to be trustworthy, have authority over average people, but if you take away people’s right to have something, guess what you create – a black market.  Another black market would be made, in addition to the one we have now.  Ironically, the one we have now would feed into this new one.  Neat little spiral of death, isn’t it?

Alright, so we’ve railed off on the liberals for a bit.  Don’t want to see one-sided.  The conservative position – that if all people had had guns, this wouldn’t have happened, is also flawed.

For one thing, it isn’t like people can’t get guns now.  Guns have less requirements to purchase than pretty much any other dangerous item in this country.  I am not for taking them away, but I have a great deal of respect for how dangerous these weapons are.  People in this country only have to go through a background check, and then they can have a weapon.

Here’s another thing – most theaters don’t have laws that prohibit people from having a weapon.  And plenty of people don’t listen to those laws anyway, just going where they go armed.  So, with that being said, would more weapons have made a difference here?  Well, if people could have guns, why didn’t they?  Why didn’t they shoot back at him?

The reason is because guns are dangerous.  They make loud noises.  They are known to kill people.  Most people don’t want to kill people.  Conservatives who talk about getting more guns have, and I think you can bet, almost never fired a gun at a real person before.  They have never had human life in their hands.  Being so cavalier about killing people is part of the problem of our culture.  We can talk about it easy as you like, but doing it?  That’s harder.

Here’s the reality – there is a lot of social change that needs to happen before we can even talk about gun laws.  And getting more guns to more people isn’t going to change things anyway.  But the real tragedy is that not one person is trying to get into the underlying issue that got us here.  Or rather, not one person who is in the mainstream media.  That’s how America is now.

It’s sad, really, when thinking about something is just too hard.

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Guns, Gun Control, and The Dark Knight Rises

One of the worst parts of society is how people will exploit just about anything if they think that it will get them ahead in a position that they have.  For real, anytime that there is an incident with guns, the left immediately runs to the “get rid of the guns!” argument.  And the right, meanwhile, runs to the “get more guns to people!” argument.  Both sides talk with such fervor and both sides are completely ignorant.

But it is absolutely, positively, every single time.  Every time that something with a gun happens, those are the only two arguments.  Virginia Tech shooting, those were the arguments.  Gabbie Giffords shooting, those were the arguments.  Columbine, those were the arguments.

Are people just afraid to examine the issues in a critical nature?  For real, instead of saying, “why did this happen?  What got these people to this point?  Were they mentally deranged?  Were they confused?  What happened?”  Instead of asking any of those questions, they decide to simply look at guns.

Case and point – at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora, Colorado, there was a man who came to the theater.  He was armed to the teeth and he opened fire on the people waiting to see the film.  He killed 12 people, injured 50 more.  The identity of the shooter hasn’t been released, by the making of this post.  But before we even know who did it, or why, the talking heads of the left and the right are assembling, ready to debate this.  And you know what the debates are?

The Left –

We need to get rid of guns!  If people didn’t have guns, this wouldn’t have happened!

The Right –

We need to get more guns!  If those people had had guns too, this wouldn’t have happened, because they could have shot back!

To both sides –

You’re idiots.

Let’s attack the liberal position on this first.  Do you really think that violence is going to stop if people don’t have guns?  Let’s take a look back through history.  Throughout history, people have been violent.  Before they had guns to kill people with, they were using swords.  Before swords, they used clubs.  That is because there is a part of the human animal that has propensity to kill other people.  We have a violent side to us.

Now, it isn’t like we are beholden to this side, but we have to acknowledge its existence.  But do the people who look at these tragedies do that?  No.  Of course not.  To do that means to shine a rather unflattering light on America and humanity itself, and we are such a self-pitying species that we can’t do that.  It’s just too hard.

But back to the issues – getting rid of guns isn’t going to stop violence.  In fact, getting rid of guns would create even more.  This is because if we ban guns, it would make another black market.  We already have one ridiculous and pointless black market with drugs.  We shouldn’t have any drugs illegal, because it is pointless and doesn’t help anything.  If it were legal, it could be controlled.  So, with one black market which leads to incredible amounts of senseless violence in the form of gang violence, you want to add another?  It would absolutely cause more harm than good.

And in the case of what happened at this theater, that man could have just as easily come into the place with a machete as he could with a gun and killed people.

To the Right – don’t you realize that these people already had the ability to have guns?  Most theaters don’t have a policy that says that you can’t bring in guns.  People have the ability to get a gun if they want to.  There really is nothing standing in the way of them getting a gun, other than a registration process that checks to see if you have a criminal history involving guns.

So, they could have had a gun and fired back at this guy.  Why didn’t they?  Because most people aren’t horribly violent and want to have guns on them to potentially kill an attacker.  Your obsession with people having guns really does confuse/annoy me, because it’s like you all don’t have a firm grasp on reality.  Well, you are conservative, so that isn’t too surprising.

It all comes down to this – America refuses to look at these issues like they are a bigger problem.  They want to simplify it down to “it’s guns.”  That’s lazy, ignorant, and stupid.

Wow, all terms to describe America.  Convenient.

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