I find it reprehensible when the first reaction to a tragedy is to politicize it (are you listening, Rahm Emmanuel?). So I was really trying to avoid writing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in any kind of political manner. However, the reactionary call for a “national conversation” on gun ownership/laws by gun control advocates has forced my hand, so to speak. Full disclosure: I’m not really a gun person. I don’t hunt, and I don’t own any for personal protection; I just never got into them (although I do enjoy target shooting, which I have done on several occasions). However, that does not mean that I do not believe in defending and securing the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I firmly believe that Americans have the right to lawfully bear arms (not necessarily to bare arms, Ms. Obama).
Without getting into a detailed debate on gun laws, what I find especially despicable is that the leftists/gun control advocates want to use such tragedies to push their own political agenda. They’ll take the recent tragic shootings perpetrated by Adam Lanza, Jovan Belcher, James Holmes, Jacob Roberts, and Jared Laughner and argue that if we only had stricter gun control laws these senseless acts could have been prevented. Of course, such a notion ignores the reality that if these people were hell-bent on mass murder, they would have found a way, even if guns were not available. Just ask the guy in China who used a knife to slash 23 people at a Chinese school, or the guy who committed a murder-suicide with a bow and arrow. If we take their arguments at face value, we might as well ban everything that someone could use to harm another. Once all the things are banned, we’ll be safe as can be in our little utopian bubbles.
Rather, I suspect something more nefarious. Namely, I think the gun control proponents actually care less about stopping this type of violence than they do for “disarming” the American citizenry, thereby ever-increasing the power of the state. To be sure, there are the few misguided souls who truly and sincerely believe that gun control will end violence, but they aren’t the influence-peddlers.
If these people were committed to ending this type of violence, they would be interested in moving past the tool used, to the actual causes, such as the breakdown of the family and traditional values. However, I’ll leave that debate for another day.
I just noticed this in my Twitter feed courtesy of Todd Kincannon; it was written by the mother of someone like Adam Lanza and the others mentioned above. It is truly a remarkable story and is a plea to have the real cause of such behavior recognized:
[UPDATE II 12/16/12]
Randall Collins offers a sociological analysis of the background and motivations of so-called mass rampage killers, and some insight involving gun laws. It is well worth a read:
[…]It is their rarity that attracts so much attention, and their out-of-the-blue, seemingly random relationship between killer and victims, that makes them so dramatically alarming.
This rarity means that very distinctive circumstances are needed to explain mass killings, and that widely available conditions cannot be very accurate predictors. There are approximately 190 million firearms in the civilian population in America, in a population of 310 million. The vast majority of these guns are not used to kill people. Even if we focus on the total number of yearly homicides by gun (about 12,000), the percentage of guns that kill someone is about 12,000 / 190,000,000, or 1 in 16,000. Another way to put it: of approximately 44 million gun owners in the US, 99.97% of them do not murder anyone. It is not surprising that their owners resist being accused of abetting murder.
[…] What can be said analytically is that banning guns is trying to manipulate a variable that is a very weak predictor of mass homicides. It resembles TSA procedures of searching everyone who enters an airport gate area; airplane terrorists are also extremely rare, and thus the vast majority of the persons who are searched are innocent.