Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I'm on a roll....my last several posts have pissed off a lot of people. Now I'm really gonna stroke people out. My topic today is GUNS!
It would be pretty easy to make the argument that the world would be better off if there were no guns at all. (Hunters might disagree, but that's a topic for another day.) No guns would mean fewer wars, robberies, accidental shootings, and ex-spouses offed by their former mates, all good things. Some countries have even outlawed guns in the hands of private citizens, with varying degrees of success.
Fact is, though, in the USA there are already well over 300,000,000 guns in the public domain. Fortunately most are in the hands of decent, law abiding citizens, but sadly more than a few are in the hands of some really bad people, hereafter referred to as "the Bad Guys". What makes them "Bad Guys" is the fact that they disobey laws.
Guns are a major political issue. One group wants to ban them entirely, one group wants virtually no restrictions at all, and another group is somewhere in the middle.
Those who want to ban guns are IMO living in La-La-Land. Even if a law was passed that said everyone must turn in their guns, only law abiding citizens would comply. Bad Guys, by definition, disobey laws, and this is one they would surely disobey. Guns are the tools of their trade, just like a hammer is to a carpenter, or a Word program is to a writer. We will NEVER get rid of all guns in America.
The crux of the "ban-'em-all" argument is that the Constitution says only MILITIAS can be armed, not individual citizens. To which I say, it's a moot point. Those 300M genies are NOT going back in the bottle.
At the other extreme are the hard-core NRA types who say they will give up their guns only "when you pry them from my cold, dead hands", and I believe they're speaking literally. They will (reluctantly?) agree that felons and the mentally insane shouldn't have guns, but not much more. I'm always amazed by the power of the NRA. (Full disclosure: I'm not a member of the NRA.)
Unless you're one of the unlucky ones who lives in a high crime area, you've probably never been the victim of a violent crime, which might lead you to say people don't need guns. The odds of being attacked are infinitesimal. Not true. You can be a victim anywhere.
Some examples: I have a friend who was shot when he was caught in the middle of a botched robbery. He walked in to a rather nice restaurant on Mockingbird Ave in Dallas, not far from the fashionable M Streets and Lakewood, at the wrong time. (He recovered.)
My cousin and her husband were once the victims of a home invasion. They lived in a comfortable neighborhood, but were run over by armed intruders who ruffed her up and pistol-whipped him so badly he needed brain surgery. (Fortunately, he recovered, too.)
And this lady....
She was visiting friends at the high-end Shops of Legacy, the same neighborhood where K and I lived for three years, when she was abducted. Now, five months later, she's still missing and presumed dead. I've parked in the same garage she did, dined at the same restaurants, and walked along the same streets. *gulp!*
I think the middle-grounders are on the right track. Some people definitely should not have guns, but others, those who know guns, all the safety rules, and the legal obligations of gun ownership, should be allowed to have them, and even carry them concealed. Odds are they will never need to use them, but the odds are their house will never burn to the ground, either, but they still want the protection of fire insurance.
It's relatively easy to identify who the good guys are. They agree to being fingerprinted and photographed, a very detailed 2-3 month long background check (by local, state, and national law enforcement), and take safety classes and pass proficiency tests with their firearms.
These measures seem to work. In the most recent year my gun-totin' state of Texas has records for, the number of crimes committed by over 500,000 licensed concealed handgun carriers was only .1897% of all crimes reported.
If you ask a concealed carrying gun owner why he carries, he will likely tell you there are too many Bad Guys, and not enough good guys (cops). True. Cops are almost always RE-active. They show up AFTER a crime has occurred.
A super efficient police force might take 4-5 minutes to respond to a call for help, but in many cities that might be 30 minutes or more. In rural areas it might take an hour. Most violent crimes are over in less than 2 minutes.
Unless we're prepared for a DRAMATIC increase in taxes to support 5 times (?) as many cops as we have now (and good luck even finding 5 times as many potential cops!), enough to put one on every corner, we can't depend on the police to protect us.
The real answer to the "to have or not to have" guns issue is finding out how to get guns out of the hands of the Bad Guys, and that is an answer we may never find. *sigh* Figure that out, and everything else will fall into place.
Some might say, "two wrongs don't make a right". Just say "NO" to guns. Others will say it's human nature to want to protect yourself, and the more you tell people they CAN'T do something, the more they'll want to do it.
Bottom line: Guns are here, now. People already have them. Many people will carry them concealed for protection. I would rather see them reasonably regulated and made legally available to those who are vetted and properly trained, than have them purchased with no restrictions from a guy named Rocko in a back alley somewhere.