Monday, January 31, 2011

Editorial: Gun freedoms cannot overshadow trends

The shootings in Tucson and the subsequent renewal of the periodic public dialog about gun control has penetrated to the the Courier editorial suite, once an impervious bastion of NRA propaganda. But the unnamed editor is still too hung up on the old lies to build a cogent argument, and fails utterly to make any sense. In the comments, the piranhas shred his ankles.

He starts right off making the case for the other side: "The argument that deadly weapons will end up in the hands of the wrong people no matter what laws are on the books is valid," so, the argument goes, trying to control guns is futile. Of course, if that line of reasoning ever made sense, we'd have long ago given up enforcing laws against any kind of sociopathic behavior, since some will be sociopaths no matter what.

He spends another two grafs trying to armor up for the backlash, explaining that he's completely bought into the legally very shaky idea that personal-use weapons are every American's gad-given right. This of course undermines his ultimate point, leading him to absurdly advocate "correcting flaws in an inherent right."

Let's be generous and supply what the editor is groping for here: that no legal right is absolute. All are granted on the condition that we use them responsibly.

Since the Industrial Revolution began bringing us ever more efficient, cheap and lethal machines for tearing one another to pieces, a minor but significant proportion of Americans have been irresponsible with guns. But it's only been since the 1970s that political pressure groups have been working to redefine gun ownership as a sacrosanct, inalienable and legally uncontrollable right. That hardline view would be as weird and unworkable to Sheriff Buckey O'Neill as it is to thinking people today.

That the editor is willing to crack open the door on this ridiculous debate -- ridiculous because where adults are in charge, talking like the NRA causes only doubt about one's ability to reason -- would be commendable if he weren't so damn timid about it. Go ahead editor, come out into the light. The NRA goons may slip a bag over your head and and use you for target practice, but only metaphorically, I promise.

I would, however, suggest some serious research to start unlearning all that wacky stuff you've been parroting from the NRA over the years. It'll help develop a take on the issue that's a little better grounded in reality.


dovh49 said...

Save lives disarm the police:

The reason we have arms is to repel oppressive government.

Steven Ayres said...

This is simply not so. The reason we have arms is to repel invading armies from other countries. It's right there in the Constitution, plain as day unless you're reading it through the filter of your own desires.

Our government is not the enemy. Our government is us.

dovh49 said...

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." --Thomas Jefferson, proposed Virginia constitution, June 1776. Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C. J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." --Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in "On Crimes and Punishment", 1764

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny --Thomas Jefferson

"And what country can preserve it's liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take up arms. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William S. Smith, 1787

"The Constitution of most of our states, and the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves: that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press." Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776

Tell the Jews from Germany that the government was them. Tell that to all the people Saddam killed. Tell that to all the people that Stalin killed. Tell that to...and on and on.

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government." -- Yes governments do become corrupt and we must sometimes put them in their place or entirely abolish them.

It's a fantasy to believe that governments are somehow a saintly organization. People that seek power seek to wield their power over others, even when the people don't want it to be wielded over them.

Obviously you haven't read this yet:

Mia Connolly said...

dovh49, FIRST of all, there is not a significant number of people who want to abolish the right to personal gun ownership to even have this discussion, nor does there appear to be any movement in that direction. Sensible gun laws and banning ownership are two entirely different things. I can't understand why this distortion keeps happening in dialogue poised to address real issues of innocent victims. Second, please explain to me how gun ownership will protect you from an oppressive government. Will you shoot legislators that don't share your political philosophy? Do you imagine some Nazi-like scenario where armed forces will be at your door (demanding what - guns, taxes?) and you will have to shoot them? And honestly, if there was a government anything like this, and they wanted you out, your handgun wouldn't be much help.