You may have read my previous article about gun control. I’m here today to reflect on why I think it’s a good thing for people to own guns.
Take a look at some of the pics my excellent host Lyn has used that are pro-gun. We all might agree that many are over the top, but the messages they convey—guns are necessary for a woman’s protection, gun ownership is both patriotic and necessary to keep the government from overstepping its bounds—resonate with a good many Americans, myself included.
Let’s take guns as a means for protection first. If you are a woman, having a gun in your home may or may not make you feel empowered. Taking a training class, developing marksmanship with a gun, and being familiar with one to the point you view the gun as a tool WILL make you feel empowered, no question. Self-reliance is a trait I think is important. Do I advocate calling the police in an emergency? Of course! But the facts are it will take them a while to show up to save you and your loved ones. Be aware of that, and plan accordingly. I’m not advocating private justice instead of the police. I’m advocating survival, so that you can be alive when the police get there to help you.
Many Americans take their right to bear arms seriously as a patriotic duty, and as a democratic right. It is a fact that a government with a disarmed populace can more easily turn into a dictatorship or be invaded than one with an armed populace. Look at the dictators listed in the pic. ALL of these dictators disarmed their people as one of their steps to assuming power. Is the US in danger of being a dictatorship? Probably not anytime soon. But the framers of the constitution put the second amendment in place so that Americans would always retain that right, especially against our friends the British, whose gun control measure of 1776 was one of the causes of the American Revolution: http://www.davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html
Here are some facts on US gun use, comparing criminals shot to innocents shot: http://www.gunowners.org/fs0101.htm
You might argue that the facts being presented in the above link are from a pro-gun organization. So here is an interview with author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, John Lotts, who has no political agenda and used a university press to publish his findings: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html . He was asked about the difference in UK and US violent crimes, which I excerpt below:
Question: What about other countries? It’s often argued that Britain, for instance, has a lower violent crime rate than the USA because guns are much harder to obtain and own.
Lott: The data analyzed in this book is from the USA. Many countries, such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland, and Israel have high gun-ownership rates and low crime rates, while other countries have low gun ownership rates and either low or high crime rates. It is difficult to obtain comparable data on crime rates both over time and across countries, and to control for all the other differences across the legal systems and cultures across countries. Even the cross country polling data on gun ownership is difficult to assess, because ownership is underreported in countries where gun ownership is illegal and the same polls are never used across countries.
Mr. Lott raises an important issue, one I’ve debated with my pro-gun coworkers at the metal fabrication shop where I work: that it is not having guns available to a populace that encourages violent acts, but instead the CULTURE of that populace—and glorification of violent acts—which leads to mass killings. Whenever there is a mass killing in the United States, we have TONS of media coverage telling us not only all the statistics of the current tragedy, but comparing it to all the past ones. A media spotlight is shown not usually on the victims so much as the perpetrators, investigating all the aspects of their lives and the crime to the umpteenth degree, keeping the story in the media for months after it happened (as I write this, 3 more news stories about the Sandy Hook Massacre were published by various media in the last four hours). This tragedy already has a complete Wikipedia page complete with pictures, links and a very detailed timeline of the events:
There is a photo of the shooter, and a section devoted to his accomplishments, birthday, schooling and other info. In comparison, his young victims are listed by name only. We don’t know anything about them except what grade they were in, and that he murdered them. Yet at the bottom of the page is a list of 148 media references for the article, and a list of mass shootings and school shootings from 1700s to present. All of them have their own Wikipedia pages.
Take a closer look at the shootings listed, and how many are at schools; so many that they have a separate list just for school shootings. That is not an accident, or aberration. If a perpetrator is looking for the highest body count, they will target an area where it’s very unlikely anyone will be able to shoot back. Schools are universally gun-free zones in the United States, something that is supposed to protect our children. But it doesn’t seem to be working that way, if you look at the number of school shootings from 2000-2010.
Finally, in closing, I want to add that I did not grow up in a family who had guns. I became a fan of the late William W. Johnstone’s fiction books in college (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_W._Johnstone), and his message of being able to protect yourself resonated enough with me that I learned to shoot, with the help of a friend and later a training class. I also encouraged my family to learn to use guns. I am not pro-gun at the expense of logic or life. But this problem can’t be legislated away. If we as a people truly want to decrease gun violence, we need to take a fair look at the way our culture views not only guns but gun violence…and work together to make some changes.
I hope you'll return tomorrow for Jenny Twist's final summing up.