Obsessing Over the Guns

Of course we should place some restrictions on the sale of guns—they are dangerous, after all, so let’s not sell them to children—but we should not kid ourselves that gun control will prevent attacks from those dark souls who would terrorize us. After the Las Vegas shooting, there’s a lot of serious-sounding discussion about regulating the sale of “bump stocks.” Well, the Las Vegas shooter had an arsenal of 23 guns in his room and 50 lb of Tannerite (explosive) in his car. Take away the “bump stocks,” and we still have a problem, no?

In fact, most of the gun control ideas being discussed in the aftermath of the shooting are bizarre non-sequiturs to the tragedy. Background checks? The shooter passed those. Ban suppressors? Laughable, Hillary. Please go home and stay there. Ban automatic weapons? Already banned with an exception for pre-1986 guns, and it’s hard to get those. Ban assault weapons? We tried that from 1994 to 2004, and still had the Columbine shooting in 1999; in fact, from what I’ve read, the impact of the ban relative to gun violence is that it made little or no difference, although it did reduce by over 20% the incidence of…gun shows. (The ban was not renewed.)

Even if we were to go to the extreme and repeal the Second Amendment, then confiscate all the guns we can, and make the sale and possession of guns illegal, we would be about where we were when weed was illegal in all 50 states, i.e., there was still a lot of it around. So we would accomplish nothing useful, but do a lot of damage to our constitutional democracy. It would not be worth it because the problem is not the guns. Not really. See, even if, if, we were able to keep guns out of the hands of mass murderers, these sociopaths will not be stopped because, unfortunately, there are many other ways to kill a bunch of people. Drive a truck into a crowd of tourists, say.

We want to live normal lives and raise our children to be healthy and successful, but roaming among us like the living dead are those who did not get the memo that love and peace is where it’s at.  It’s time for some cultural introspection. Time to take stock of this social environment we have created as we try to explain these villains—did we feed them too many violent movies, too many first-person shooter video games? Did we give them too much privilege, or not enough? Did we fall back too easily on drugs to address their anxieties? Did we set them loose in the name of Freedom, only to find they actually needed to be cared for and kept separate from us? Did we spare them the burden of our ancient religion, only to find that they needed that burden, so replaced it with an ancient evil?

I don’t have the answers, but I know that “gun control” is misdirection and that politicians who make a big show of calling for it are wasting everyone’s time. We will not make things better by obsessing over the guns.

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