MUST READ: The Horrors Associated with Guns pt. I
December 4, 2012 in Guns
The Horrors Associated with Guns
As a man begins to mow down innocent movie-goers with a barrage of 5.56 NATO full metal jacket bullets with a readily available, store-bought AR-15 rifle, one begins to wonder: how did our great country turn into this? How could it be that any maniac off the street could walk into a sporting goods store, wait five minutes for a background check, hand over about $1,100, and walk out with a military-grade killing machine? How could such a psychopath go about his business in the close company of so many non-murdering companions without such a hint of his violent tendencies becoming known? How could he have compiled such a large stockpile of ammunition to carry out the massacre as he allegedly did? What kind of savage, ruthless, uncaring society do we live in?
The kind of savage, ruthless, uncaring society we live in is a free one. Patriots, like this researcher, prefer it that way. The preceding paragraph is the uninformed, illogical, and oftentimes narrow-minded thoughts of those who feel that guns should be further restricted; a virtual orgy of every variety of Pathos, without the smallest grain of Logos. The fact of the matter is that guns, as inanimate objects, are neither good nor bad inherently. It is what people do with them, of course, that makes the difference. Nevertheless, misinformed individuals often maintain that guns do more harm than good for society. This is not the case. Gun control is a very bad idea. It is beginning to be better known to the public that guns reduce crime rates, criminals do not follow gun-restriction laws, and that we have a constitutional right and obligation to own and carry guns. With the following words, it is clear to any intelligent person that guns should not be restricted in any way.
* * *
It may seem totally asinine and crazy to suggest that firearms reduce crime, yet it is true. The simple fact of the matter is that a firearm is a collection of plastic and metal components that, when synthesized in an appropriate manner and combined with ammunition, is capable of sending a projectile a significant distance at a high velocity. Yet no firearm is a sentient being that is capable of self-determination, so guns are incapable of causing crime. Not surprisingly, there has never been a recorded case of a gun actually killing somebody on its own. Usually, a person must pull the trigger. Imagine, if you will, that a car accident occurs on a busy highway. A Honda Civic, going far above the posted speed, smashes into a Ford F-150. In this situation, does the Honda Civic receive the speed violation citation? No, a well-trained officer will always issue the citation to the idiot that was operating the Honda Civic. Just the same, firearms don’t get convicted of manslaughter or murder by a jury of their peers. To blame guns for crime is a logical fallacy that a three-year-old could see. Banning or further restricting guns is incapable of reducing crime because violent crimes can always be committed using other tools, such as vehicles, knives, Tasers, pepper spray, or machetes. One could still make the argument that guns are still too dangerous and must be banned or restricted. These proponents of gun control often ignore that prescription drugs, alcohol, and motor vehicles are many times more deadly each year than firearms could ever dream to be (Girion) (Gun-Deaths). If the government bans guns, why not ban amoxicillin, Jack Daniels, and Chevy’s? This point that it is the user of the weapon, rather than the weapon, that is the problem is even more apparent with a startling revelation about police officers. In 2010, a citizen of the U.S. was more than three times as likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than by a mad gunman going on a rampage (Maimon) (More Than). That fact is staggering. The idea that the officers employed by the government to keep you safe are more dangerous than lunatics with guns is amazing, yet true. It shows that the weapon is not at fault.
One of the most important reasons to keep all firearms and ammunition varieties legal is to allow citizens to defend themselves. In January of 2001, a bill entitled the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2001 was introduced in an effort to prevent the further erosion of citizens’ right to keep arms for personal defense. A wide variety of congressional findings were included in the bill’s text. For example:
- Police are not legally obligated to prevent crime on a case-to-case basis. Rather, they are only obligated to attempt to protect society in general (Boatman). It is still the individual’s responsibility to protect themselves from crime.
- Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith found that police in Dade County (which includes Miami) responded to only 200,000 9-1-1 calls out of 700,000 in 2000 (Boatman).
- In the United States, there are only 150,000 police officers on duty at any given time (Boatman). This means that there is only one police officer per two thousand citizens.
- Firearms are used sixty times more often to prevent crimes than they are used to commit them (Boatman).
- Of those sixty crime preventions, fifty-five involve the defendant merely brandishing the firearm in a show of force. This means that firearms are still discharged to prevent crime five times as often as they are to commit crimes (Boatman).
With those facts in mind, it seems very clear that firearms can be and are used to protect citizens from harm in a way that the police cannot. When a home invasion is taking place, a firearm is much more practical to prevent harm to oneself than a phone line tied to a law enforcement agency that will take at least several minutes to arrive. Usually, if the criminal has violent intent, the police will only arrive in time to photograph the crime scene after the fact.
The aforementioned points are highlighted exponentially when one looks at the effect gun laws have on crime. In 1987, Florida was considering a revolutionary piece of legislation that would guarantee any applicant the right to conceal a firearm on their person in public. Following is an excerpt from Robert Boatman’s book, Living With Glocks.
The media, however, was predictably vociferous in its opposition to the exercise of [carrying a firearm], and in its total submission to the party line of radical anti-freedom, anti-self-defense and anti-gun forces. Headlines predicted vigilante justice and wild-west shootouts on every corner. “Florida will become the ‘Gunshine State.’” “A pistol-packing citizenry will mean itchier trigger fingers.” “Florida’s climate of smoldering fear will flash like napalm when every stranger totes a piece.” “Every mental snap in traffic could lead to the crack of gunfire” (Boatman).
These dire predictions were never realized. Florida’s homicide rate dropped a massive twenty-three percent as the rest of the country’s crime rates skyrocketed over the next five years (Boatman). All of the conventional logic, which said that less guns equals less crime, proved to be completely bogus. Many states began to create similar legislation after seeing the obvious benefits. As of last year, thirty-seven states will issue any legal applicant a concealed carry permit, eight states may issue, four states have no restrictions on carrying at all, and only Illinois bans carrying in every form.
Certain places have even taken citizens owning and carrying guns to a whole new level. Kennesaw, GA decided that gun control was exactly the idiocracy that it is. As a suburb of Atlanta, it was not completely immune to crime. In a response to Morton Grove, IL completely banning handguns, Kennesaw unanimously passed an ordinance requiring all non-felon households to have a firearm and sufficient ammunition in 1982 (Farah). While the media declared that Kennesaw would soon resemble a war-torn third-world nation, the crime rates (which were admittedly not horribly high to begin with) dropped to points never seen in decades. Murders averaged a ridiculously low 0.19 murders per 100,000 people per year, while armed robberies, burglaries, and rapes dropped to an average 1.69, 25.6, and 2 per 100,000 respectively (Baldwin).
This concept of mandatory ownership of firearms is not unusual in other parts of the world, however. In Switzerland, every male adult is issued a firearm. In fact, the standard issue firearm they receive is the same type of scary “assault weapon” that the media in the U.S. demonizes day-in and day-out. Each citizen is also required to have on hand sufficient ammunition for themselves in a time of war and/or to quell any kind of civil unrest. If that weren’t enough, each citizen is also required to spend a specific number of hours of training each year (Kopel, D’Andrilli). The result? Less than one homicide per 100,000 people (Firearms Switzerland). Our homicide rate still hovers around 4.4 per 100,000 at a minimum (Firearms United States).
The other radical end of the spectrum is shown in countries like Mexico. In Mexico, there is a long bureaucratic process for applying for a license just to own a firearm (Cave). In addition, there are restrictions as to what firearms you may have and how many you may keep. Because civilians are restricted from using any caliber that the police or military use (while the Mexican police and military use almost every imaginable caliber), almost no firearms are completely legal to own. Conventional wisdom might dictate that they would have almost no crime. This is not the case, as Mexico has averaged about nineteen homocides per 100,000 in each of the past five years (Firearms Mexico). That number is over four times the national average in the U.S. in the past decade (Firearms United States).
* * *
In the gun control debate, there is another startling revelation that usually shocks people to their foundations: criminals, generally, do not follow laws. Since that is the case, how can gun laws ever prevent criminals from being violent with guns? On October 16th, 1991, George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, TX. He then went on to shoot and kill twenty-three people, injure twenty others, and then shoot himself (Chin). When he did that, he was not concerned about Texas law prohibiting drivers from driving into a restaurant. He was not concerned about the headlight that he busted when he broke the front window of Luby’s. He most certainly was not concerned with Texas law prohibiting, at the time, the carrying of firearms on your person. He was there to kill and that was that. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold did not care that Jefferson County, Colorado, and federal law all prohibited carrying firearms into a public school. They were there to kill thirteen people and that was that. When Seung-Hei Cho killed thirty-two people at Virginia Tech, he, once again, was not concerned with the illegality of carrying firearms on campus.
Some people are, however, concerned with the illegality of carrying firearms on one’s person in certain areas. As Suzanna Gratia Hupp was ducking behind a table in Luby’s, trying to avoid being hit by George Hennard’s bullets, she was intensely frustrated with Texas law. She left her revolver in her vehicle just a dozen yards away in an effort to comply with Texas law at the time. Imagine her regret to follow the law as her father was shot in the back and her mother was shot in the head, execution-style, in front of her eyes. A few other patrons had guns locked in their vehicles outside. If (soon-to-be Texas Representative) Suzanna Gratia Hupp or others had broken the law and carried their firearms on their persons, dozens could have been spared (Boatman).
However, some patriots do break the law. The assistant principal of a high school in Pearl, Mississippi named Joel Myrick illegally kept a .45-caliber pistol in his car. For him, this was a compromise to keeping it illegally on his person. When a student opened fire one day, Joel couldn’t easily draw his weapon like normal. Instead, he had to run all the way out of the building and out to his car to retrieve the weapon so that he could stop the rampaging student (Boatman). However, the retrieving of his weapon from his vehicle cost the lives of two students. If he had kept his pistol on his person, he could have saved one or both of the murdered students’ lives.
For these reasons, so called “gun-safety zones” are the most dangerous places for a law-abiding citizen to be. A gun-free area is an insurance policy for a violent criminal. Essentially, it’s akin to having a billboard saying “criminal safety zone.” In a gun-free zone, there are dozens of law-abiding citizens that do not wish to violate the law by carrying a firearm on their person. The violent criminal, who breaks laws indiscriminately, does not care that murder is illegal, let alone carrying a firearm on their person. Therefore, the concept of “victim disarmament” is prevalent. Only the potential victims are the ones who are disarmed. This serious problem is obvious to see and easy to rectify. These unconstitutional and dangerous gun-free zones are the playground of a violent criminal who wants soft, easy targets. Who ever heard of a mass murder at a police station, shooting range, or gun show?
Gun-free zones aside, it is also-well known that criminals do not follow laws in regards to the process for purchasing firearms. The vast majority of criminals purchase firearms anonymously and illegally. Cash is untraceable and commonplace in the transfer of weapons. One needs to simply post on the internet a weapon for sale or a specific weapon that they want to buy to find another person with whom to trade. Some criminals make a business out of going into gun shops and buying up many firearms just to resell at a profit to other criminals who cannot pass the instant background check. Using anonymous, decentralized currencies such as Bitcoin, all kinds of illegal trades can be made on TOR protocol websites anonymously. One particular TOR protocol website that this researcher visited included literally a hundred listings of legal and illegal military-grade weapons of all kinds, including grenades, machine guns, mortars, and explosive ammunition. These internet resources that fuel the growing black market of arms in the U.S. is impossible to track, trace, or shut down by any authority because they are all decentralized and peer-to-peer based.
This brings up another interesting problem that comes about. By restricting the sale of certain guns or ammunition, legislators are actually increasing crime by creating a new market for criminals to capitalize on. During Prohibition in the 1920s, gangsters such as Al Capone made fortunes smuggling in alcohol illegally. Crime skyrocketed in all major cities, people still got drunk every night, and the country was worse off. Just the same, the war on drugs that our government continues only encourages crime as it creates a new illegal product that gangs can move and sell for a nice profit. In Detroit, the homicide capital of the U.S., more than two-thirds of the hundreds of murders per year are attributed to narcotics alone (Shelton). If narcotics were not illegal, those gangs would not have been able to profit off of them and, subsequently, hundreds of people’s lives could be spared in Detroit alone. Banning handguns, for example, would take a protective measure out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, create a new market for gangs to capitalize on, and spur a stronger wave of crime that the now-disarmed citizens cannot protect themselves against.