More mass shootings. More demands for gun control. Rallies, and media, and political candidates all screaming to curtail freedom, tear up the constitution. The new tack is to ask, “What one law would you like to see passed right now?”
There will never be progress until we are successful in separating guns from violence. Guns are tools. They are inanimate objects that have neither inherent goodness nor evil.
As a society we should be concerned with violence. We talk about it a lot, but not in meaningful or helpful ways. Our schools deny children the right to defend themselves against bullies, treating the offender and the defender as equally guilty. Self-defense is a basic instinct, yet we are attempting to negate that reaction. Legally, the United States is, if not the only, then one of the few, countries that considers a person innocent when killing in self-defense. In most of the world, you will be punished for killing someone who is attempting to kill you.
We do not demand laws governing violent behavior when a violent person inflicts pain and death on multiple strangers. We shield that behavior in suggestions of mental instability, and, thereby, excuse it. We feel uncomfortable discussing the perpetrator’s rationale, unless we can possibly link him to a group with which we do not agree. We can discuss, and possibly ban, social affiliations, but not the root cause of destructive actions.
So, this week, as every time there is a shooting, we can expect the hue and cry for more effective gun control. This will encourage the politicians who are vowing to take away the second amendment in some way. More, “sensible” gun control laws. More assaults on our human rights.
Make no mistake, gun control is about control of the population. Whether or not it is as sinister as it sometimes seems, there is a movement to control everything in our lives. Everything. From what kind of fuel we can use to heat (or cool) our homes and move our vehicles, to how much sugar we can consume, to the softness of our toilet paper, someone is trying to impose his will on everyone else. Gone is the idea that different people will make different choices given the same situations, and that difference is a good thing.
A basic concept behind our form of government is that the states are equal entities, and each is able to govern itself within certain parameters, with the federal government having very limited powers. It was understood that this would mean the states could find different ways of dealing with the problems that arise, and if one state found a really good solution, others might follow. Should they wish.
Over time, as the founders warned, this independence of the members of the federation has been eroded. Washington is taking control of more and more aspects of our lives. Still, most Americans are not that easy to control. We do not go quietly into that night of compliance. The self-reliant independence that was once considered a mark of virtue might be losing popularity in our modern society, but it is not dead.
Regardless of your political affiliation and philosophy, if you are a gun-owner in today’s world, you are among the less controlled population. You are, therefore, a threat to those who wish to rule in a way that is outside our Constitution. This is a very important concept to keep in mind.
We live in interesting times, and that is an ancient Chinese curse. We do not discuss individual topics and search for mutuality. We find ourselves labeled and possibly labeling others based on a few issues. After the label is attached, we think we know what the person thinks about everything. Although it is unlikely that the analysis is correct, the reality ceases to matter, because of the intensity of disagreement that prevails.
I was lucky to learn the danger of labeling decades ago. When I first became involved in protecting the basic human right of self-defense, I almost immediately had an epiphany. Coming from the Northeast where people feel very comfortable publicly proclaiming their animosity towards gun ownership, it was very comforting to attend national meetings with people who owned guns. Because it was such an important aspect of my life, I assumed that the people who agreed with me about that topic would agree with me about other things. At dinner on the first night of the Gun Rights Policy Conference, I was seated with a group of people I had met that afternoon. The talk quickly changed to a topic on which I was not in agreement. I was shocked. Not that they thought what they did, but that we could be so in sync on one thing and so far apart on the other.
However, that is exactly the way life is! I learned very quickly to work with those with whom I agree to get the things I want done. And, leave everything else alone. We must not alienate people who agree with us on an important issue. If we will work only with people who agree with us on everything, there will be fewer workers and less likelihood of success.
Our goal as gun owners must be to change the conversation from ‘guns’ to ‘violence.’ It can be done as simply as asking a question when someone is proposing the latest law. “Do you think it might be important to start looking at the source of violence?” “Why do you think people are so violent that they can cause such horrible destruction?” There will probably not be an answer, but we will have planted the seeds. If not in the person we are questioning, then hopefully in someone who is listening.
Gun control laws apply only to lawful citizens. They do not apply to criminals. They do not apply to those wanting to commit carnage. Gun control laws have not prevented any mass shootings. They will not prevent them in the future. They will disarm those who would protect themselves and those around them. Gun laws do not save lives. They create potential victims.