Tim Dunkin Yet another mass shooting has taken place, and before the smoke barely had time to clear, those on the Left were already leaping into action in their efforts to politicize this terrible tragedy for their own partisan ends. Predictably, a broad spectrum of social parasites have attached themselves to the shooting in Connecticut, leeching off the devastation to try to gain support for their agenda. Rahm Emanuel's advice to “never let a crisis go to waste” has become a watchword of late for the Left, and this has never been on display more nakedly than in the aftermath of the murder of 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. In Seattle, the leftie mayor was quick to call for more gun control. Senator Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ) joined the chorus, as did New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, who chided Obama for not taking “direct executive action” to ban guns and overturn the Constitution. Michael Moore, the corpulent chieftain of celluloid calumnity, opined that “the NRA hates freedom,” for, presumably, standing up for our constitutional right to self-defense. Andrew Cuomo demanded that we “crack down” on guns. Rupert Murdoch called for a ban on “automatic weapons,” even though “automatic weapons” weren't used in this shooting, and are, in fact, already generally illegal for civilian ownership.
Equally as predictable will be the gasps of outrage coming from the Left when conservatives and liberty lovers, as well as millions of other Americans who otherwise don't generally fall into those categories, refuse to capitulate on the issue of gun rights as a kneejerk reaction to the shooting. How dare we refrain from going along with implementing “common sense, reasonable” gun control! Why, we're just aiding and abetting the next school shooter by our refusal to implement more laws, more regulations, more bans! After all, that's what happens pretty much every time something like this happens: the Left goes into hysterics, calling for more gun control, more restrictions; meanwhile the Right weathers the storm, cooler heads prevail, and the 2nd amendment remains intact. It surely must be frustrating for the left-wingers – each time, a perfect opportunity fallen by the wayside. Don't we stupid yokels get it?
As an aside, have you ever noticed that these types of mass shootings always seem to happen whenever the Left starts to crank up another drive for gun control? The Colorado theater shooting earlier this year, right after the Democrats started to push for the UN ban on small arms? The Connecticut shooting, right after prominent Democrats, including Colorado governor Hickenlooper, had already been noising around that gun control needs to be back on the agenda? Entirely coincidental, I'm sure. It would be loopy to think otherwise. Absolutely nuts. Crazy. Cu-ray-zee!
Anywise, I think it's a fair discussion to have, this question of why we don't jump onto the gun control bandwagon whenever a tragedy such as this most recent school shooting occurs. After all, in the minds of many, it makes perfect sense – the shooter used guns to kill innocent people, so why don't we want to get rid of the guns? What kind of insanity would keep us from finally coming to our senses, after yet another disaster of this type?
I think there are four general reasons why conservatives, liberty lovers, and these millions of other Americans I spoke of above don't do so.
First, there's the simple fact that for many folks – and not just those of us on the ideological Right – trying to use a catastrophe such as Newtown for your own political ends seems just a little...what's the word?...creepy. There's something ghoulish about using the blood of dead children to try to advance your agenda, no matter how genuine may be your belief in the necessity of gun control. Doing so makes you look like some sort of sick, twisted sociopath who can't figure out that the middle of picking up the pieces from a tragedy of this sort is not the time to be politicizing. Instantly, the act of this politicization turns off many from hearing what the Left has to say.
Second, many Americans find the sort of behavior being shown by the Left to be distasteful because they know, deep down, that the sort of knee-jerk, emotionalistic scaremongering being done by the Left is not how this country was intended to operate by those who founded it. Our nation was meant to be a representative republic, one where the citizenry had a say in the crafting of our laws through their elected representatives. This citizen participation presupposes an informed, educated, rational citizenry – exactly the opposite of the kind that the Democrats and leftists are appealing to with the fear-rhetoric and histrionics. While many of our people do, indeed, fall for that sort of appeal, many, many more Americans can't help but feel somewhat demeaned that the Left tries to sway to them with arguments that are essentially on the maturity level of a five year old.
For all the hype and thunder, the simple fact of the matter is that, school shootings or no, fact and reason are not on the side of those calling for more gun control, and this has been the case each time a shooting like this occurs. Most of us know that when a crazy psycho shoots up a school, they violate any number of already-existing gun control laws to do so. Kliebold and Harris, who committed the Columbine massacre, violated 19 gun control laws in the process of obtaining and using their weapons. Connecticut laws prohibiting those under 21 from possessing firearms did not stop Adam Lanza from shooting up that school, nor did the laws against carrying guns onto school properties. Here's the simple fact: lawbreakers break laws – make all the laws you want, you're only hindering the law-abiding from defending themselves and others, you're not slowing down the psychos in the least. Passing laws that restrict the millions of law-abiding gun owners in this country does nothing to prevent criminals from committing their deeds. Gun control laws do not work, and in fact, make things even worse because they disarm people, making them prime targets for violence by the lawless. Millions of Americans are smart enough to see through the emotionalism to realize that as much as liberal Democrats may scream for gun control, these proposed laws would be absolutely worthless.
Germany has tough gun control laws, yet this didn't stop a gunman from killing 15 at a school near Stuttgart in 2009, nor did they prevent another gunman from killing 16 in Erfurt in 2002. The United Kingdom has very strict gun laws, yet this didn't prevent a psycho from killing 16 at a school in Dunblane, Scotland. Norway restricts guns severely, yet Anders Behring Breivik still managed to kill 69 children at a youth camp. Facts make it very clear – gun laws and “gun-free zones” don't deter criminals, they encourage them. Passing stricter gun control laws simply means more people are prepared to be victims of violent criminals who don't bother to obey these laws. In essence, one failed law simply becomes the predicate for more failed laws. I wonder if anyone on the Left ever stops to ponder the question of why Switzerland and Israel never seem to have these mass school shootings. Or, for that matter, why these types of shooting almost always take place in blue states that have already disarmed their citizens fairly thoroughly. Perhaps the psychos are smart enough to remember that when a shooter tried to terrorize a school in Pearl, Mississippi, the assistant principal got his pistol out of his pickup truck and subdued the shooter before he could get beyond victim number two. Yeah. Blue states are definitely safer for that sort of thing.
Third, most Americans can understand at a foundational level that punishing millions of law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a handful of psychopathic shooters is inherently unfair. Because one kid shoots up a school – breaking existing gun control laws in the process – we have to clamp down on everybody else, making their exercise of their right to keep and bear arms more onerous, or even non-existent? All this, so that the next kid that goes crazy can break the news laws, too? No – that seems fundamentally unjust on so many levels. It's like telling people that own swimming pools that they will now have to install all kinds of prohibitively expensive safety equipment, or even fill in their pools and be done with them completely, all because some irresponsible parents let their kid dive into the 3” end of a motel pool, breaking his neck and killing him. It's like making all car owners add hugely expensive bumper radar systems that shut the car off it they get near a person, all because a few pedestrians are struck and killed each year. Instituting more and more extensive gun control is a misguided – in the literal sense of the word – response that relies on treating all firearms users as if they were they same: the law-abiding hunter, sport-shoooter, or gun owner who carries to protect himself and his loved ones is no morally different from the crazed psycho who guns down defenseless human beings for sport. That is essentially the argument that the Democrats and others on the Left are making, even if they would not admit to it if confronted directly. It's no wonder that the 130 million or more law-abiding gun owners in this country, many of whom have never shot anything more than a paper target, recoil at the arrogant, broad-brush strokes of the insipid fools calling for more gun control.
Fourth, there is the simple fact alluded to above – gun owners make up a class of Americans numbering over 130 million people, from all walks of life, all different socioeconomic classes, all different races and ethnicities. As a result, gun owners are not easily pigeon-holed for demonization by the Left. It is much more difficult for the Left to successfully con the majority of Americans into hating and persecuting a group that makes up over a third of our population, and who are the family and friends of millions more. In contrast, it is easy for the Left to demonize the rich, since there aren't that many of them comparatively. Most of us are not rich, nor do most of us personally know many rich people that we would have close, personal bonds with. As a result, it's easy for the Left to cast “the rich” as “the other” and incite those lizard-brain feelings of tribal jealousy and hatred in many Americans. This doesn't work with gun owners, and many Americans outside of the Northeast and the Left Coast do not sympathize with efforts to denigrate and persecute their friends and neighbors.
As such, there are many valid reasons why we do not jump to the call of more gun control laws when our pretended social betters issue the clarion. We're smart enough to realize that the problem is not with guns – it is with defective people who slipped through the cracks of the mental health or criminal justice systems in this country. Indeed, we realize – as our Founders also did – that firearms widely dispersed into the hands of the law-abiding citizens of this country are the surest safeguard of both liberty and safety. Could a school shooting such as that in Newtown, Connecticut have been prevented or minimized had the teachers been armed? We'll never know for as long as we keep making our schools into target-rich environments full of defenseless victims of criminals who ignore all the laws. Nevertheless, the American people must resist the Left's emotionalistic bleatings, and stand firm in defense of our 2nd amendment rights.