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Son Of A Gun

With the Omaha mall massacre last week, the issue of guns and gun control has come up. I got into a minor disagreement with folks over at one liberal site, and terms such as "gun nuts," "turn everywhere in America into Tombstone," and "shootouts" were tossed around.

There is always an argument about how to best prevent massacres like that one and the Virginia Tech shootings. One side says it's because the guns are too prevalent, and we need to control them more; the other side says that the gun restrictions only disarm the law-abiding people and create safe hunting grounds for the criminals.

The arguments by the first side often escalate to hysteria. We're warned about shootouts in the streets, the violence in other parts of the world where a lot of people are armed, and allusions to the Old West are frequent.

That last one irritates me. I've done a little reading on the subject, and it's my understanding that the whole image of gunfights and showdowns and cowboys and outlaws is largely a myth. A few heavily-publicized incidents and outlaws go a long way, especially when Hollywood gets into the act. The idea that Hollywood would pervert actual history to make money is nothing new -- they've been making big bucks out of the "Wild West" for decades.

The argument that we've seen overseas the affect of a readily-armed populace is a tougher one to refute, but I don't think it's as valid as its proponents say. They don't take into account the nature of American society; I think that we can handle it.

One thing that has never really been tried since the Old West has been the idea that the 2nd Amendment (one of the worst-written laws I've ever seen; I've seen three different interpretations of just what it means, and semantically all are equally valid) does recognize the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, and allow people to decide for themselves how they wish to help ensure their own safety.

I think it's about time we gave that a try. We can change our minds after the fact, but acounts of people at the scene of massacres like this one (unverified, but plausible) in Omaha or the story of Suzanna Hupp, who saw her parents gunned down in the Luby's massacre in Killeen, Texas in 1991. She was infuriated that she had left her gun locked in her vehicle, in compliance with the law, and could not even try to stop the killer from murdering 23 people.

It boils down to a simple question: do we trust our fellow citizens to not kill us?

We do that already. Every time I venture out unarmed, I am gambling that no one will decide to kill me. Every time I walk down the street, I am taking as an article of faith that no one driving will choose to run me down. Every time I drive, I am trusting that no one will try to ram me or run me off the road or suddenly decide that they'd rather drive on the wrong side of the street or choose to go the "wrong" way on the highway.

In the long run, Americans tend to do the right thing, tend to make the right choices. We make mistakes, but we have quite possibly the greatest self-correcting form of government the world has ever seen. We can literally rewrite the laws almost at whim, with absolutely nothing being sacrosanct and immutable. Even the Constitution, the highest law in the land, has been amended 17 times since it was first passed.

Personally, I don't own a gun. I never have. And if my little idea were to come to pass, I probably wouldn't. It's just a matter of personal preference.

But I have known several people who did own guns, and they never bothered me. When I lived in Manchester, I lived in a rather scummy neighborhood. The guy in the next apartment owned several guns, and I never once felt the least bit threatened by his guns. In fact, I felt a bit safer, knowing that in an emergency he was only a door away.

And I have a couple of blog-buddies who are quite fond of their firearms. I've never met either of them in person, but I would not feel threatened in the least were I to encounter Rob or Bruce -- even knowing they'd probably be armed.

It all boils down to a few liberal buzzwords -- "choice" and "empowerment." I am calling for people to have the CHOICE on whether or not they want to carry the means of their own protection, to EMPOWER them to stand up against the criminals and terrorists and nutcases if they so choose.

Because as we've seen, in both the Virginia Tech and the Omaha Mall massacres, the laws didn't do a hell of a lot of good. Both shooters were legally forbidden from possessing guns, and both massacres took place in "gun-free zones."

Laws stop people who respect the law. They don't stop people who are bound and determined to break them. A fleeing bank robber will not stop for a red light, an arsonist will transport gasoline in an unsafe, illegal fashion, and someone determined to kill a bunch of people before ending his own life won't see a "GUN FREE ZONE" sign and decide he ought to go somewhere else. In fact, in each case the criminal won't even think twice about the lesser crime, because it simply makes getting away with the bigger one easier.

Come on, folks. Don't we TRUST our fellow Americans, as a whole? Don't we want to EMPOWER them and give them the CHOICE of how they wish to protect themselves?


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Comments (16)

The problem still goes back... (Below threshold)

The problem still goes back to the self-inflicted mental health problems created by those who continue to use illegal drugs. Both the mall killer and that Clinton office hostage crisis guy had long histories of drug abuse, that no doubt resulted in further paranoid thinking, and increased mental health problems. Illegal drugs make a person mentally ill and can result in some seriously violent conduct by them, including the abuse of guns.

These paranoid persons become blind to seeing that their own drug abuse is responsible for all their problems and instead selfishly blame and strike out against others. The mall shooter was so messed up on drugs that even McDonalds fired him, and his girlfriend gave up on him. When drug dealers screw someone's life up this much, they certainly bear responsibility for creating problems. The gun used by the mall shooter belonged to a relative, and should have been better locked up to prevent a mentally ill person from access to it.

The US Supreme Court has se... (Below threshold)
LGD:

The US Supreme Court has several times cleared up the semantic confusion in the wording of the Second Amendment. For example, it has been ruled that 'militia' refers to all free citizens able to bear arms, whether they will or not.

The problem with the politics of today is that the liberals will not accept any USSC ruling they disagree with. They continue to bring up challenge after challenge over the same facts and words, even though they insist that the rulings they agree with must be set in stare decisis stone forever.

Despite the US constitution, and a recent state constitutional amendment meant to reinforce the federal Second Amendment, the liberal politicians of Wisconsin still routinely act to deny state citizens the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense or any other lawful purpose-- if they can get away with it.

And since liberal politicians include judges, already our court rulings on carrying weapons are all over the map. With the final decisions left to a state supreme court with a majority of elected liberal justices.

This just illustrates the h... (Below threshold)
yo:

This just illustrates the hypocrisy in the liberal mindset.

Guns: The state should be allowed to determine that you don't have the right to (ultimately) kill someone.

Why? Because they think that a gun-owner shouldn't have the choice of whether to take a life, or not.


Abortion: The state should be allowed to determine that you DO have the right to (ultimately) kill someone.

Why? Because they think a woman should have the choice of whether to take a life, or not.


Liberals seem to think it's alright to take a life as long as the victim doesn't get a chance to fight back.

Or, did I miss something?

I used to eat in a Luby's t... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I used to eat in a Luby's that was the exact same floorplan as the one in Kileen. I'd sit in the same section each time, and enjoy my lunch quietly.

After the Killeen murders, I pointed out to all of my anti-gun friends that if a similar situation had come up in that Luby's, and I'd been carrying a pistol, the death toll would have been one - the bad guy.

It seems there's a lot of f... (Below threshold)

It seems there's a lot of folks who believe that passing a law is equivalent to enforcing that law. As if there's a certain critical number of laws beyond which the would-be criminal will suddenly go "You know - I can't do this because I'll be breaking the law!" and magically turn law-abiding.

Shame it doesn't actually happen, isn't it? But the more laws, the more lawyers employed... and that's what's really important!

Still, better to be judged ... (Below threshold)
Proof:

Still, better to be judged by twelve than carried by six!

Once again we have a lot of... (Below threshold)
Larry Sheldon:

Once again we have a lot of people completely missing the point.

Some nut uses a firearm (a weapon of mass destruction, just to get all the useless term out onto the table) to commit mayhem and murder.

The echoes of the cacophony of the gunfire has scarcely died away before there arises the dual cacophonies of the mindless gun abolitionists and the gun supporters, both missing the point.

Did the proliferation of guns cause the events at Westroads? No.

Is such a thing possible in Canada or England where guns are outlawed? You read the papers and tell me. Do you mind if I ask you to screen the articles on senslessness and body counts, instead of choice of weapons used?

Is there a commonality in the events here in Omaha, and any of a myriad of scenes of destruction in the last 50 years?

I think so.

I think the common thread...no, it is a common fabric is this:

For a lot of reasons, not all of which I can explain, or even identify we humans have become perhaps for the first (and last?) time since the dawn of time a species committed to the notion that our own mutual destruction is the key to survival.

Look at the "games" we play--where brilliance is defined in terns of how many "others" can be destroyed with thunderous noise and blinding flashes of light.

Look at our identification of what for eons (or at least for most of our history as we have been able to understand it) has been a benign process--the warming of the planet out of a deadly chill. What is the required solution? To kill ourselves off.

Look at the way we "entertain" ourselves (when not in "virtual reality"--think about those two words for a minute). Am I alone in thinking that filling myself with all manner of "recreational" drugs is NOT a fun way to enjoy myself? Am I the only one who thinks hanging around with people who do think so is among the ten most dreadful things that might happen to me?

Look at our dominant mode of warfare--which used to be, as somebody said--probably Patton--the business of helping some fool die for his country. Now the people getting the glory are the ones blowing themselves to Kingdom Come (or 72 camels or goats or something) while taking their friends and neighbors--or better yet, a large group of unknown non-combatant nobodies with them.

Guns or the absence of them really have little to do with the big picture. Make rules that require or forbid--the people looking for the glory will work around what ever rules are inconvenient.

What needs to change and change quickly if we are to avoid a return to the Stone Ages, is our attitudes. We can control that--we might not be able to prevent a return to the Ice Ages.

Simple answer, I trust a wh... (Below threshold)
UncleZeb:

Simple answer, I trust a whole bunch of nuts to properly drive and maintain control of their vehicles and there are a bunch more of them than gguns in America. So far no one has come gunning for me in my truck with their truck but then again If I saw em coming I would either get out of their way or run em down first. Kinda like the gun situation.

And now we have two more sh... (Below threshold)
Larry Sheldon:

And now we have two more shootings, in Colorado this time.

Not clear to me what the body count is yet--four from the midnight massacre, looks like, how many more from the church shoot-up a little while ago is unclear.

They owed him a bed or something.

Re: Arvada and Colorado Spr... (Below threshold)
Larry Sheldon:

Re: Arvada and Colorado Springs--Criminal Noise Network has the usual vapid noting to report reports up on-line.

I'm not going to try and find the controls for the TV--not likely to be worth the effort.

The shooting in Colorado Sp... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

The shooting in Colorado Springs was ended by a church security guard shooting the gunman. There were many thousands of people on the church campus at the time, but only five victims, one fatal.

Good work by the security guard, scores of people if not hundreds, owe him thanks for saving them.

This just illustrates th... (Below threshold)
Brian:

This just illustrates the hypocrisy in the liberal mindset.

As opposed to, say, the "pro-life, pro-death (penalty)" conservative mindset?

By the way...

Abortion: The state should be allowed to determine that you DO have the right to (ultimately) kill someone.

Pro-choice advocates want no such thing. They want the state to stay out of it. But nice strawman argument, anyway.

Or, did I miss something?

Yep.

Pro-choice advocates wan... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Pro-choice advocates want no such thing. They want the state to stay out of it.

Much as I disagree with the pro-life grounds, you pretty much confirmed his argument, Brian, not refuted it.

Brian, hilarious that you m... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Brian, hilarious that you make a strawman argument and within a sentence or two later decry another's.

Yep, you know hypocrisy all right ...

1. I am a liberal2.... (Below threshold)

1. I am a liberal
2. I believe in the Constitution
3. I believe that it is not only the right, but the duty of Americans to bare arms. We must arm ourselves so that we can overthrow an un-just government.

I agree. I support America... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

I agree. I support Americans Baring Arms.

Power to the t-shirts!!!
Power to the t-shirts!!!
Power to the t-shirts!!!

(dumbass)




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