Monday, 17 December 2012

Madness, by Any Other Name


Gun Control: When Is Enough Enough?

A weekend has now passed between us and the horrific shooting in Newtown, CT.  The images of crying, shaken young children will not soon be forgotten.  And the thought of little five and six year old, lifeless children with unopened Christmas presents and named stockings forever awaiting a return that will not come, spending the weekend pending crime scene investigations to be completed is too terrible a thought to consider.

Predictably, the discussion has turned to what to do about this.

I would self-identify as a pretty far-to-the-right conservative.  Not a libertarian, per se, but in that general ZIP code.  And I have to say, listening to my political fellow-travellers talking about this, and in particular, the possibility that we may finally, FINALLY get some sort of sane gun control policy is a journey into madness.

For a start, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee opened the bidding with the comment that this is all due to the fact that Americans have "systematically removed God from our schools."

Really?

And National Review have multiple articles arguing that gun control is not a part of the solution.  Indeed, that having gun-free zones actually contributes to the problem.  You see, their logic goes, it would all have been OK if the principal, or the teachers, or maybe a parent dropping of her kids at the kindergarten had been carrying a gun.

It's madness.

For a start, the idea that putting in place limits to the type and/or number of firearms is equivalent to wanting to "ban guns" is not just madness; it's stupidity.  Someone suggested to me that there is "no difference" between ownership of a single-shot hunting rifle, a revolver, a Bushmaster, or a trebuchet (??!!??).

Really?

I can see a BIG difference.  A numerical difference.  As in, the number of bodies that will result.

Also, what sort of "hunting" does one propose to do with a military-grade weapon?

At a more reasonable argument from NRO, the suggestion is made that we as Americans have an inalienable right to armaments, and that the Constitution (and amendments) are there not to spell out what our rights are, but what the limitations on our government are.  And the Second Amendment clearly states that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.  Thus, their argument goes, God himself has granted people the right to arm themselves with whatever weapon they choose.

Madness.

The Second Amendment states that we have a God given right (or, natural right, if you prefer) to keep and bear arms to defend ourselves and our liberties.  That is a FAR cry from arguing that God in His wisdom has decided that we all may arm ourselves to whatever level we want, with absolutely no restriction.

How many of such "conservatives" would argue we have the right to bazookas, or artillery pieces, or perhaps a nuclear-tipped warhead?

And while we are at it, if God has given us the right to pack whatever weaponry we wish, then how does the government have the power to remove such a "right" from mentally ill people?  Or criminals?

I've actually heard some people claim that we "need" these weapons in case our government gets too tyrannical, so that we may rise up against it.

Madness.

Who in his right mind thinks that a disorganised band of delusional buffoons are going to be able to over-throw the government, with its tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery pieces?  "Red Dawn" was a movie, folks.  And a not-well-made one.

The point is, sensible people understand that we need to balance the "rights" (and more accurately, the desires) of one individual against the rights of others.

The Republicans are just dead wrong on this.  Yes, we need to take steps to reduce the toxicity of the sewage culture - with its phony machismo, out-sized sense of "respect" that is frankly narcissistic, and plain glorification of violence.  Yes, we need parents to be parents.  We need to make sure that mentally ill people have the resources and equally, avail themselves of those resources.

But I'm sorry.  Pretending that bromides about how "guns don't kill people, people kill people," or clinging to fantasies that these yahoos are somehow keeping an otherwise tyrannical government in check is killing people.

The Democrats are right on this one.

We NEED to look at serious gun control.

Now.



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