We have a problem in this country. Let’s call it what it is: a gun epidemic. The NRA, with the right wing nut bar Tea Party that has taken over the GOP, have managed to convince a surprisingly large number of people that their Second Amendment rights trump everything else in the constitution. An acquaintance of mine posted a meme on Facebook to the effect that the San Bernardino shooting happened despite strict gun laws, and that the gun laws did nothing. The truth of the matter is that the two people who committed this heinous act obtained the guns through completely legal channels. The fact that they were able to do this demonstrates that the gun laws are probably not addressing the problem well enough. Well known is the gun show loophole, where if you go to a gun show to buy your weapons you don’t have to pass a background check.
One of the more ludicrous ideas being floated is that if everybody had guns, there would be fewer shootings. The solution to too many guns in the environment is to add even more guns. No, really. People actually believe this. Here is the argument I presented to one such person on Facebook who posted one of these silly memes that suggested that the gun laws did nothing, and were therefore useless – and then backed it up with this preposterous claim that adding more weapons to a social environment makes it safer:
Think. Every person around you, everywhere you go, no matter how stupid, no matter how untrained, no matter how down on their luck they are, no matter how angry at the world they might be, no matter how delusional they might be because some false holy man has convinced them that green is blue and up is down and wrong is right, EVERY person around you now has a loaded gun on their person, ready to use it. Potentially on YOU. And you want to give loaded guns to every one of them.
Now. How safe are you? Is that the world you really want to live in?
Nobody thinks when they get up in the morning, “I’m a bad person, so I’m going to go do bad things.” Everybody knows, deep in their hearts, that they are one of the good guys. The good guy with a gun theory does not work, because they’re all good guys. They do bad things anyway, and people die anyway.
Give everybody a gun. Turn that dial up to eleven and intensify that situation and watch this bring out the worst tendencies in every person around you.
Societies work because there are rules in place that keep innocent people, good people, from being put in positions where they must be judge, jury and executioner all in one and nobody – nobody – has the right to that much power, or deserves the burden of that much responsibility. At that level, life becomes cheap, and anyone could, for any reason, in any value system they choose to arbitrarily apply, without consulting a single other human being, decide you really need killing.
And then kill you.
And then the “good guys with guns,” who can’t be distinguished from the bad guys with the guns for the most part, these good guys gun him down, assuming you haven’t been caught out someplace where nobody is close enough to you to see what’s going on. But you’re still dead anyway.
Because you put your life in the hands of people who have their own problems, who might not have that knife’s edge alertness every waking moment toward danger that might be near them, and might not have the near-psychic prescience to tell that somebody may be about to shoot you, even by accident, from up to 100 yards away – you’ve trusted that this random person, who almost certainly has no battlefield or law enforcement experience, will be able to take out their gun and shoot somebody before that person, who has possibly already taken aim with a telescopic sight, shoots you.
Now how safe do you feel?
Don’t just be a ditto head. Think it through. The solution to gun violence may be difficult to achieve, but it is certainly and very obviously not more guns.