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Evil is restrained by the courage of armed citizens

Here’s my column in today’s Greenville News.

‘Evil is restrained by the courage of armed citizens.’

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20130113/OPINION/301130016/Ed-Leap-Evil-restrained-by-courage-armed-citizens?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Making

 

Despite the assertion that gun-owners like me are dangerous Neanderthals, we do have a few good points to make in the current debate.  So allow me to ‘fire-off’ some reasons the current initiative is, quite frankly, stupid.

Gun control advocates are typically ignorant of the objects of their disdain.  Most of them don’t know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic; nor that you need a special FEDERAL permit for automatic weapons. (You know, the kind of weapons used by the body-guards of important politicians, businessmen and celebrities, and used in every violent film vomited from endlessly sanctimonious Hollywood.)

And few of them know the difference between a pistol and a revolver, a 12 gauge and a .38.  One of them wrote on my blog, ‘I suppose I could see having a .22 for hunting, but I don’t understand why you need anything else.’  Which .22 is that, ma’am?  Because there are a boat-load of them, and some are meaner than others.

I suppose her reasoning is that if you don’t understand, just ban all of them.  They’re guns, after all!  Of course, I don’t know why anyone needs more than one type of beer or wine.  They’re all alcohol, and lead to drunk-driving!

Another ridiculous part of the current media fire-storm over gun control is the deeply held belief that concealed weapons permit holders are especially dangerous and that gun owners should be ‘outed’ to the public. In a kind of homage to the much detested (by Communists) witch-hunts of ‘tail-gunner’ Joe McCarthy, gun-owners have been ‘outed’ by some newspapers.  Painting with a broad-brush, they’ve been ‘profiled.’  A thing which we x-ray, grope and strip to avoid in the nation’s airports.

The uncomfortable reality is that states with concealed weapons permits have seen decreased crime rates.  And even if they hadn’t, the permit holders aren’t committing crimes.  A person willing to have fingerprints and background checks, and even take a class, is not the guy we need to fret about, or identify.  (Unless it’s to make friends.)

But there’s more from this conservative curmudgeon.  And this is more personal.  I’ve seen people who have been killed and cruelly attacked.  I’ve seen them killed with guns, of course, but more killed and maimed with knives, blunt objects, boots to the throat and assorted other weapons. Death is death.  (Hammers and ball-bats killed more Americans than rifles last year, incidentally.  Even black, scary rifles!)

The thing is, the enlightened UK (which indeed has a lower gun-crime rate than ours) is one of the most violent nations in Europe.  It turns out, you don’t need a gun to be violent.  Who knew?

Sadly for civilization, in such ‘gun-free’ settings the strong and brutal thrive.  Small women or men, senior citizens and disabled individuals are all victims ripe for picking.  Abused spouses or single parents, citizens with alternate lifestyles, late-night clerks and all kinds of others are sacrificed on the altar of ‘safety.’  Darwinian survival of the fittest at it’s most despicable.

A gun in the hand of a physically weak person makes that person safer…in evolutionary terms, we could say it gives them a ‘survival advantage,’ maybe the chance to live and reproduce, or protect their young.  Unfortunately, victim-hood is the new religion of our elites.  (Who often have body-guards, incidentally).  It’s better for everyone if a mother and child are murdered, rather than a firearm be in the hands of anyone outside the military or police.  Ideology trumps biology.  And ethics.

I understand the desire to keep firearms from the mentally ill, so long as we’re careful about that determination.  But are we really ready to use emotion to trump logic, fact, evidence, tradition, law and culture?  Is the President prepared to instantly criminalize millions for owning something that had been legal all along?  To confiscate property and prosecute people who never harmed anyone with their weapons?  Especially when our own government has been supplying the same weapons to criminals in Mexico?  (And can this nation even afford such an initiative?)

I hope we can come to our senses.  I hope we can realize that new laws don’t change the hearts of law-breakers.  That collective punishment is tyranny.  That since about 47% of US adults own a firearm, the numerator of criminals is tiny compared with the denominator of the lawful.

And I hope to heaven we can embrace the fact that evil is not restrained by law, but by force of arms and the courage of free, and armed, citizens.

 

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Edwin

7 Comments

Connie

2013-01-14 11:07:49 Reply

I read your column. I understand your rant, but do you now sound just as irrational as the far other side?

Is it possible to have a rational discussion concerning the second amendment? If we can not have a rational discussion than we are indeed Neanderthals.

When the second amendment was written, we as a country, had different gun technology (no high volume technology), different organized and trained security forces (police, etc), different technology to track license/permits, etc. Our world has changed and that is why the founding fathers allowed for amendments – to bring our laws to a current state of technology and resources. This goes on every day in our government – whether you agree or disagree with every law that is passed.

I am truly a moderate person. I grew up around hunting, and applicable guns. I have no problem if you want to keep a pistol at your home for protection. But, we have a problem in our society, and any time we have a society problem, we must discuss the issue and try to come up with a solution.

I noticed that you did not offer a potential solution in your article.

I do not have a solution either as this is a very complex issue and must be discussed and studied. We as a society “of, by and for the people” have the right to study and discuss an issue – in this case, violence and mental health in this country.

An analogy – I feel completely safe driving 90 MPH on an open highway. I have a license, training and experience. I have insurance and a legally registered car, with very new safety features. So, if my mind I can drive 90 MPH. HOWEVER, our government says that for the safety of the entire public, I can not drive 90MPH; it is against the law. PUBLIC SAFETY trumps my freedom.

I would just like to see our intelligent society have a rational discussion on this topic. I have faith that we can come up with a compromise that will balance public safety with freedom. It is not easy, but nobody ever said life was easy.

Linda

2013-01-14 15:13:36 Reply

I think both the column and Connie’s response make sense. I am a progressive health professional from the northeast and am not familiar with the gun culture described here- but as a rational and balanced person I have believed there is a way to reduce mass killing events that doesn’t take away the guns from law-abiding folks.

I had a recent opportunity to be invited into the locked “gun room” of a friend of a friend in a Boston suburb. The experience of a room full of guns, especially the Bushmaster types was more disturbing than I expected. This man from all accounts is more than “normal” but also expressed a fair amount of deep anger during the visit. I was too shaken and afraid of offending to ask these questions so am asking now:

Is it really more fun to do target shooting with a semi-automatic? why?

How does a private owner safely sell or give away guns? Is there knowledge about how to include this in a will or similar directive to families?

What if a responsible gun owner develops early dementia with symptoms of irrational anger and paranoia like I have seen so dramatically in one of my own parents?

Which raises the question of mental health identification and treatment- impulsive behavior as part of any type or severity of diagnosis could lead to violent outcomes, especially in young men, especially in the current US culture. Even if there is a better mental health system and better screening for gun and ammunition purchasers it is not going to prevent all these attacks.

And back to the column: I have not seen data about the higher levels of non-gun violence in Great Britain vs. gun violence in the US. That sounds like a rationalization unless more documentation is provided. Nor has there been any talk anywhere of confiscating anyone’s guns except in conservative ranting.

I would expect a doctor to be more rational than this blog column. I urge him to think of the problem as a public health and safety issue that we could solve by interventions on a number of public policy fronts. Perhaps he would advocate for public health and mental health research dollars to be focused on this.

Steve Spoor

2013-01-16 21:53:25 Reply

Linda,

Google violent crime Great Britain and you will find all the factual articles you need to show you that GB’s crime has increased 89% since the guns were banned. In 2009 there were 2034 violent crimes per 100K residents. In the US the same year it was 446 per 100K, in 2011 it was down to 386. Our violent crime rate has fallen 54% since 2005. In the UK bobbies now are beginning to carry firearms because they are coming up against firearms in the hands of criminals, as is the general populace, they just have no way of defending themselves, hence crime is increasing.

There are many target shooting events that to even begin to compete you have to have a semi-automatic firearm, including several Olympic events. Why do some people buy Ferraris when the speed limit in the US is limited to a max of 85 in Texas, 55, 65, 70, or similar everywhere else? Because that vehicle is fun to drive, it corners better, it accelerates faster, etc. Just like that car, some firearms are more fun to shoot, some are less, some people like to shoot “black guns”, some like to shoot single shots, some like bolt actions, etc.

Regarding giving them in a will or selling them, some states have guidelines, but by Federal law no pistol can be sold or transferred across state lines except between FFL holders. Rifles and shotguns can be sold to adjoining state residents. As to who they can go to, by right, anyone. Rationalizing that guns are bad is like rationalizing that cars are bad because drunk drivers use them. We have a right to own firearms, we only have a privilege to own a car.

Right now a lot of gun owners are angry, you should be too. A right granted us by the Bill of Rights is being ignored by those who give an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was demanded by the states before they would agree to the Constitution to make sure that what is happening right now does not happen, the Government ceasing being about the people and only being about the elite.

I have no problem with ALL citizens being required to have gun training, in fact it should be mandated and part of schooling. It teaches concentration, conscience decision making skills, and would end the fear that people feel around a mechanical device that is unable to do anything unless a person picks it up and puts it to use.

Take the time to read the FBI crime reports. Babies are aborted at the rate of one every 23.3 seconds, many children are killed each year in car accidents significantly more than firearms, in fact six per day are killed in cars, should they be banned?

I can tell you that the person you are questioning as not rational enough in his column has taken the time to find facts and provide them without emotional issues getting in the way. I have known him for over 30 years and there is probably no one I know more rational and aware than he is.

What is the answer to gun crime? Actually enforce the over 20,000 laws on the books? No, I believe it is proper training, and the freedom to carry everywhere. Since criminals will always have guns, the safest concept is to place firearms into the hands of a trained populace and then you will always have at least one person to try to stop a mad man. Murder has been going on for centuries, it has been illegal for centuries, changing gun laws only affects those who are willing to be changed, not those who are going to be criminal in their actions. To think anything else is pure silliness. We cannot stop illegal immigration, we cannot stop drug importation, we cannot stop sex trafficking, we cannot stop a murderer if that is what he decides to do.

Jason

2013-01-17 15:40:55 Reply

Violent crime in the uk is likely to be higher due to its population density. The uk has a higher population density than the USA. When you compare like for like densities (ie adjust for rural areas) then USA is more violent than uk

Christian

2013-01-21 13:37:55 Reply

“GB’s crime has increased 89% since the guns were banned.” Do you suppose GB’s population went up 89%?

Christian

2013-01-21 13:40:17 Reply

There is nothing in the Constitution about any right to drive a car. Thus, the government may infringe upon those who would own one.

Christian

2013-01-21 13:44:52 Reply

The 1st amendment is not about party invitations or Christmas cards; and the 2nd is not about target shooting or hunting. Nor is either of them about how anyone “feels” about a free press or weapons.

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