This is a call for comments and I am genuinely interested in hearing opposing views because the talking heads and soundbites that are coming through just don’t make sense. I’m talking about Gun control.
For the record, I am generally liberal, and I make a point of trying to understand opposing views. So please don’t trash me if you disagree, I am actually trying to understand here.
Anyways, here’s what I’m hearing that just doesn’t make sense. The arguments against tighter gun control, or an outrageous step like requiring all gun owners to be either active police or national guardsmen (ie – part of a “well-regulated militia”) boil down to two basic arguments.
- Giving guns to good guys will serve as a deterrent to the bad guys (and bad guys will get guns anyways)
- The condition of the mental health safety net is the real problem
Now if we start with the second (because it’s easier) then we can say a couple of quick things about this fact.
- Yes, mental health care in the USA is abysmal. No argument there.
- Improving mental health care in the USA would require a hike in taxes and an expansion of Federal oversight in the health care industry. Would any libertarian out there like to advocate that one?
- Are we really going to victimize people who have spent their entire lives victimized? Way to contribute to the problem people.
I’m not arguing that mental health isn’t an issue, but I think this is a scape goat or a smoke screen that victimizes people, a subgroup of people I should say, who are so horribly misunderstood, and have such a difficult time communicating in the first place, that there is not real likelihood of having them defend themselves. I mean, can you imagine a paranoid schizophrenic living under a bridge in LA county writing this blog post saying “I have mental illness and I am still a person”? Not really. And those who would advocate for the mentally ill are specialized in their industry and so easily written off as “bleeding hearts” or “obtuse” for using too much jargon. Let’s leave that question alone.
So now we get to what I call the “Kindergarten Cop” defense. It’s this idea that putting guns in the hands of well meaning, and good hearted individuals will deter the use of violence by a criminal element. Funny enough, we do that; they are called “police” or “national guardsmen.” And they are administered and monitored to assure that the life and liberty of everyone else is safe and guaranteed. Now we know how difficult that is in its current scale (Freddy Gray, Eric Garner etc), imagine how much worse it would be if we had to consider all 320 million residents of the United States as well intentioned people who could violate others constitutional rights?
So I have a gun to defend myself from the bad guys, are the bad guys going to Mass on Sunday or Mosque on Saturday? Are the bad guys driving down the street playing loud music? Do they LOOK a certain way? Should I expect them to DO certain things? Or am I just on the lookout for a particular minority that I find offensive?
I call this the Kindergarten Cop defense because it seems to me to paint the world in the simple black and white of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film: I am the good guy (because it’s my story and I’m the good guy of course) and I must fight the bad guy (and because it’s my story, I get to determine who the bad guy is and I’m right no matter what you say).
Let’s ignore the version of the story that says an armed civilian population is necessary to defend against a suddenly tyrannical US government, or the collapse of said government in the face of an invading army (presumably of terrestrial origin, but I don’t want to make assumptions here). If ignore the “everyman fighting for his home” narrative (which is REALLY Hollywood), I still have a real problem with the Kindergarten Cop defense precisely because justice, and the use of force is relegated to the lowest common denominator. I have a really hard time believing this would make people safer.
So, gun advocates. Please feel free to educate me, because the suggestion that anyone with a gun can be effective against “bad guys” with guns sounds a little too “Judge Dredd” to me to actually work in reality.