I’ve done the work on guns. I own one. I’ve fired just about every kind. I’ve packed them up in containers and hauled them around the world and spent hours lining them up and taking inventory and maintaining them. I even spent about six months walking around in a foreign country with a Sig Saur P226 strapped to me under my shirt.
Sometimes it made me feel safer. Sometimes it didn’t.
I know guns. The way someone that spent a good chunk of his life making a living using them does. I’m comfortable with them. I understand them.
But I’m honest about them.
A gun’s purpose is to kill. And perhaps nothing is as efficient at its purpose than a gun is. About two thirds of the half a million people on earth murdered this year will be murdered with a gun. That rate goes up to about four out of five in global murder champions like Honduras and Venezuela. Because the gun is the engine of murder efficiency. In fact, you can’t have high murder rates in places without guns. It appears to be impossible. It’s not a factor of poverty or race or culture that makes for a truly murderous society. You need guns. Poverty and guns are the equation for murder. It’s mathematical.
In the poorest parts of Chicago, where upwards of 60% of the population is at or below the poverty line, the murder rate is on par with Panama or Nigeria, places with equal poverty and high gun ownership. In Liberia, one of the poorest countries on earth, far poorer than any part of Chicago, you’re half as likely to be murdered than you are if you live in America.
That’s right. Liberia is safer than America.
Because Liberia has 1.2 percent of the guns that we do. That contrast is hard to ignore.
When most of your murders happen with a gun and where there are no guns, there’s nearly no murder, there’s only one objective conclusion. Guns make a society less safe. There’s no honest debate about it. The problem for gun control advocates is that no one is actually debating it. Because no serious people disagree. Because, while gun control may be about public safety for gun control advocates, it’s about something entirely different for gun rights advocates.
We’ve been having the same debate for 240 years as a country. The details change. The terms change. But the root is always the same. Are you willing to surrender power for the common good? Or is the common good defined by preservation of individual power.
Right now, the political party that believes the latter is winning. And it’s not close. Republicans control both the legislature and executive offices of the Federal and 26 state governments. The tally for the Democrats is six states. As recently as 2010, The Democrats controlled Congress and the White House and 17 states to the Republican’s 10. 56% of every state or federally elected office is held by a Republican, the highest it’s been in my lifetime. In 1976, that number was 36%. We are moving rapidly in a more conservative direction. And there’s no end in sight.
Perhaps an incident so clear and disturbing, like a 64-year old American born white man killing or hurting 600 people by himself without breaking a single law until the moment he pulled the trigger will compel us to take a situational left turn here for gun control. History is full of moments that are simply too hard to ignore not to drive change.
My money is on path dependency and momentum though. And nothing meaningful changes at all.
If the NRA ceased to exist tomorrow, magically, no Dana Loesch, no obtuse, easily refuted yet impossible to defeat arguments, no large bankroll, no well managed website and network of activists, we wouldn’t be any closer to substantial gun control legislation than we are right now. Because the cultural identities that make up this country wouldn’t feel any different about guns. If you doubt that, go ahead and look at the share prices of gun manufacturers yesterday, after the worst mass shooting in American history…for now at least.
Gun advocates have the government, the Constitution and the electorate on their side. And there’s only one way to change it.
If you want gun control, start by demanding better candidates from your party. Ones that look more like Jim Webb than Bernie Sanders. If you want to win elections, start by finding candidates that are running on something other than compassion and globalism.
If you think we’re any closer to changing this, ask yourself this:
Who’s the president of the United States of America in 2020?
If your money isn’t on Donald J. Trump, then who?
All the outrage and memes and data and honest, effective, impossible to refute arguments don’t matter anything until we find another leader the American people trust enough to take some of their power away.
We haven’t see one of those in a long time…
4 thoughts on “The Hard Truth”
On point! Thank you
Thanks. I appreciate your insights. I think you are right. However, my instincts tell me that the NRA is complicating legislation. My nephew tells me that if the 300 laws on the books are enforced it would go a long way to solving this problem. My gut tells me the existing laws were intentionally constructed to be ineffective. Not loopholes, because that suggests unintended consequences but intentionally worded to be inefficient.
And now there’s a bill before Congress to allow people to purchase silencers. To “protect the shooter’s ears.” Silencers.
I’d be afraid to suggest private citizens should have the right to own thermonuclear weapons. I might be taken seriously.
The best analogy I’ve ever read on the issue. Nailed it.