It is no surprise that the shameful and horrific crime committed at the “Dark Knight Rising” film viewing in Colorado, and the tragedy of the dozen innocent dead and dozens wounded is quickly being abused as a cheap political ploy to end American’s Constitutional right to bear arms.
In this article, without getting into the details the gun control debate, which we can leave for another occasion, we will focus on why, as in many other issues, the two sides are debating apples and oranges.
Firstly, one would hope that it is clear enough that the crime is the shooter’s, James Holmes, alone. Neither guns nor bullets walk into theaters and massacre people on their own, and the worthless and cowardly Holmes (who seemed all to eager to surrender once other folks WITH guns showed up) could have as just as easily driven a large semi-trailer truck filled with gasoline into the theater which would have killed many more people. That is just one of endless ways that harm may be done to others, and in such a case, few would advocate for the banning of trucks or gasoline.
Perhaps it is theaters that should be banned, as they allow for people to concentrate together in the dark, ready for ambush and mass casualties. And let us not forget movies like Dark Knight Rises, which ironically will get a tremendous financial boost due to this event; surely films that can apparently inspire maniacs to fulfill their perverted obsessions with themselves by shooting everyone should be banned, right?
We could go on and on banning everything… or realize that trying to kill everyone is already illegal and apparently of little importance to the likes of Holmes. Ironically, it was the law-abiding citizens of the theater that were unarmed due to weapon carrying laws and helpless at the hands of the law breaking psychopath. If one must try to look for deeper root causes, then perhaps instead of taking away the law abiding citizens’ freedoms, who are already the victims of the psychopaths, one could look at the leftist inspired decay of society among the bored, idle, spoiled well-to-do. There is much wisdom in the old adage, “Idle hands do the devil’s work”. Already are stories emerging of heroism among the victims; of servicemen diving in front of bullets to save their girlfriends. The latest reports tell of at least 3 current or former servicemen among the casualties. Little would the introverted spoiled Holmes have been able to accomplish against the likes of those young men and their fellow citizens if they as well, had been armed.
Euphemisms and misguided Laws
In any event, if modern society could but once actually call a spade a spade, and avoid its endless euphemisms, it would do itself a great favor. Much like the “War on Terror” which I have explained before as a terribly weak euphemism (which ironically Obama and the left consider too harsh and cannot accept). Terror is but a tactic and one does not go to war against a tactic, but rather against the people employing the tactic. Wars are not fought against guns, against tanks, planes, guerrilla warfare, ambushes, frontal attacks, full envelopments nor urban combat, but rather against the actual enemy who could be employing any and all of those tools and tactics.
Why then do we go to war against “terror”? Because defining our enemy is not politically correct. The resulting media circus is amusing as every people on earth accuse their enemy of being terrorists so that the US and the West will be on their side. Israel, Arabs, Chechnyans, Russians, Irish, English, Hindus, Pakistanis, Basques, Spaniards, all are constantly labeled terrorists by different media at different times. This is how we arrive at the absurd situation of NATO backing al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda type groups against established governments (Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria etc). The Lighthouse has reported at length about that…
Here again the same urge to sanitize the argument and bring it down to the level of simply making a law curtailing one more freedom is dominant.
If we only but banned guns…
Firstly, one would hope people can realize how futile it is to talk about laws when speaking of people willing to murder innocent people arbitrarily. Murder is already illegal. In countries where weapons and ammunition are virtually completely illegal (like Mexico), criminals do not seem to have any trouble obtaining weapons. In the US, rape, murder, theft, assault, drug dealing, crack cocaine, heroine and crystal meth are all illegal and unfortunately all too common. In fact, they are far more common than these types of mass casualty shootings. This is not to argue laws are meaningless, in fact quite the opposite, they are all too significant for law-abiding citizens who continually have less and less freedoms, while they remain pretty irrelevant to the criminal. What is far more interesting, is that though guns have always been legal in the USA (in fact, they are actually under an ever decreasing legality from the original complete legal status under the US constitution until the grayish semi-toleration of the present day), these types of random mass murders were unheard of in the past, and ever more frequent the present.
Any objective observer could see that they actually exist in an inverse proportion to gun laws across US history. The more gun control laws, the more frequent these have become. This is due to two obvious reasons, the first is that when guns were more widespread and commonplace, it was physically more difficult to shoot a large number of people since others in the vicinity are armed as well. The fascination with weapons and killing people is also much more dulled, when they (weapons) are commonplace. This is something akin to binge drinking in America’s colleges. While drinking in Europe is commonplace from a young age, it holds no “forbidden fascination” with college age students, some of whom in America yearly and across every campus drink themselves to death.
The more important reason is the social values and norms of the society. Weather its the “gothic” punks who murdered students at Columbine High a decade ago or this week’s Jason Holmes, it is society’s declining values that allow for these types of heinous crimes to occur with more frequency. Though in his deceiving documentary Michael Moore famously (and pathetically) blamed Republicans, the NRA and the venerable Charleston Heston (Moses in the film, The Ten Commandments) for that shooting, he would have done better in asking himself if he really thought that two “gothic” outcasts were conservative Republicans. In typical liberal philosophy however, all except the responsible are always responsible. Though we will not get into details in this paper, the same social winds that would favor gun control laws, go hand in hand with those that will produce killing spree shooters.
The urge to create laws that appeal to the euphemisms for, rather than the essence of, a problem can be illustrated by the ridiculous nature of America’s airport security. The current state of events is that young Muslim men, 17-29 with names like “Ahmed” will tend to form 99% if not 100% of the terrorist threat on board passenger flights. However, in the US, this fact is ignored completely since it is not politically correct. Therefore, the US is in an endless cartoonist merry-go-round with the terrorists. After 9/11, a host of new extreme Airport security regulations revolutionized (for the worse) air travel. After America experienced the failed shoe-bomber, TSA subsequently ordered all passengers to take off their shoes on screening. When the next terrorist packed explosives in his underwear (the “underwear bomber”) passengers then had to deal with proving TSA hands down their pants, and full body scans. One can only imagine the thousands of Americans that must have observed that if:
The next terrorist inserts explosives in his rectum, then we are really in for it!
The problem with all of this is that the TSA continues to look for bombs and weapons (a thankless and impossible task; notice that despite all of these measures, and the inconvenience and even humiliation in some cases of millions, no terrorist was caught with explosives prior to boarding) instead of looking for terrorists. A quick look at Israel’s El-Al paints a completely different story. El-Al remains the world’s number one terrorist target, and has a sterling track-record nonetheless. Anyone who has ever flown in El-Al is well acquainted with the casual conversation (really an interrogation) young girls employed by the airline engage passengers with.
Despite what we see in Hollywood films, where the terrorists can employ blond blue-eyed Norwegians who stay as cool as James Bond while on their ‘mission’, reality is starkly different. Terrorists not only meet a certain profile, but are also anything but James Bond-like. They are human beings who know they are close to death, struggling with their decision to go through with the act, and often a sweating nervous wreck. El-Al looks for terrorists, not bombs, and in doing so finds the bombs.
In El-Al the security personnel find no reason to strip search the 80-year-old Swedish grandmother, because political correctness be damned, she is NOT a terrorist.
What if the terrorists start being 80-year-old Swedish grandmothers? Well, then we could change our profiling accordingly couldn’t we? Seems like that is still a bit off in the future. Meanwhile, couldn’t we lay off them?
So Where are the Apples and Oranges?
The likes of Michael Moore and the mainstream media will focus on the ease in which these weapons and ammunition were purchased. Though it has not been reported yet, I can see the headlines “Shooter Bought Shotgun at Big 5” etc etc. Since he was apparently armed with several types of weapons and a lot of ammunition, the media will make a big deal about how, where with what ease these were purchased. Using the emotional hook of so many casualties and innocent dead, they will then push people to the conclusion that the current law is grotesque…. and press them to act to change it, namely to ban guns in the USA.
The right will correctly, point out some of the issues mentioned previously in this article. However, the problem is that both sides are arguing something completely different.
The truth is that guns in the US are currently largely illegal in all but name in most states. It is true, that purchasing them is often fairly easy, including large amounts of ammunition and in some states even semi-automatic weapons. However, it is virtually universally illegal to carry them! Why is this so? For a very simple reason, banning guns outright is unconstitutional as Washington DC found out when it tried to ban handguns (law was struck down by the Supreme Court). Therefore, modern society has looked the other way while it fools itself. Guns can in name remain “legal” to satisfy the constitution, but with so many regulations applicable that they might as well be illegal.
This is why when you walk around the streets in the US, you do not see people armed as can be seen in Western films. The society in the US certainly doesn’t LOOK like the NRA pro-gun lobby controlled militia crazed society the left accuses it to be. If guns are legal in the US, why can’t they be seen anywhere? Drugs, which are mostly illegal, can be seen far more often and widespread than guns who are supposedly all so legal and “easy” to get.
The Worst of both Worlds
In essence, this trick of avoiding Constitutionality has left the US with the worse of both worlds. While it is very easy to obtain weapons, no one can carry them. Conceal Carry permits are extremely limited and difficult to obtain in most states. And even though in some states, carrying your gun out in the open (cowboy style) is technically legal, this is not respected or accepted by the society and law enforcement agents will quickly arrest anyone walking around gun toting. They can then spend hours trying to explain to the judge that they were technically in the right. Most opt to avoid being constantly arrested.
Therefore, it is true, that having a gun at home is somewhat common in the US, and this fact goes along way to explain why the number of home invasions are not higher and why burglaries occur when “no one is home” since criminals do not want to be surprised with a gun slinging home owner that will blow them away. But aside from some homeowners being armed, the American law abiding society is completely unarmed, while its criminal element is armed. Of what possible use is it that a gun is legal to posses, if it is illegal to actually posses it on your person?
And this is what must be clearly understood, (even if he had purchased all the weapons legally which is yet unknown) the Aurora movie theater shooter was already breaking the existing gun laws from the moment he exited his home! It was completely illegal for him to travel around armed to the teeth. It was illegal to CARRY the weapons, just like it was illegal for him to enter the theater with them, and certainly illegal to start killing everyone in it! We could be fairly confident, that one more law was not going to stop this particular looser.
So while the left is outraged at how easy it is to purchase weapons, the right argues that it is the law abiding citizen’s LACK of guns that allows him to be massacred. But why does he have a lack of guns if they are legal? And this is the apples and oranges, guns are illegal in all but name in the US.
The alternative is not fairy tale speculation, but reality. Surely America’s past can be observed as an example of what a society that allows citizens to bear arms could look like (obviously the framers of the Constitution who lived in such a society, thought it just fine) but there are contemporary examples. In a society that your humble author knows very well, regular citizens are armed in every day life.
In Israel, people wearing nothing but jeans and a shirt along with an M-16 walk freely into a BANK without raising so much as an eyebrow. For tourists and newcomers, it is a awe inspiring or shocking experience. In Jerusalem, it is not uncommon to see one out of 4 or 5 men strapped with handguns. Once crossing the “Green Line” almost all Jewish settlers walk around with semi-automatic weapons.
The reason for this is obviously the threat of Arab terrorist attacks. However, Columbine style attacks where one Israeli starts shooting other Israelis is unheard of, despite the widespread availability of weapons. The reason for this again, is the society’s values. It is no coincidence that Arab terrorists who are able to infiltrate Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv almost always blow themselves up to inflict casualties. If they attempted the lone shooter tactics common in the US (and more recently in Europe, such as the child murdering maniac in Norway this last year) they would be able to inflict little damage before being killed by the armed citizenry.
The debate is over before it begins, the example exists in the modern day state of Israel. An armed citizenry is far safer than an unarmed one. We must remember that laws apply only to the law abiding, and continuously punishing him for the crimes of the criminal does little to the criminal except embolden him.
Some will doubt the effectiveness of armed citizenry. One need look no further than these cases for the evidence to answer that question. Holmes immediately surrendered as soon as armed people (cops) showed up at the theater parking lot. The goths at Columbine committed suicide when the same happened. Time after time, these malcontents take their own lives or surrender when they are presented with force. It is extremely rare that any “fight to the death”. People that do that tend to be fugitives attempting to get away and not to randomly kill people. For example, the famous North Hollywood shootout in 1997 (pre-emptively made famous by the movie “Heat” with De Niro, Pacino and Val Kilmer) where two bank robbers armed to the teeth and wearing amour battled the LAPD for nearly an hour comes to mind. Their motivation however, was money and escaping with their life, and not to murder as many random innocent people as possible.
To those that will argue that the American society is not morally capable of handling this constitutional freedom (which is a valid question), the response is that they have too little faith in the great American silent majority. The criminal element in America already is armed, the gang members in the inner cities, the drug runners across the border, and the effeminate, pampered (which the media calls “bullied”) self absorbed cowardly maniacs that go off on these shooting sprees. The murderers who commit their crimes with guns, baseball bats, knives, poison or any other means, already have the tools they need at their disposal. The law abiding citizen who wishes to protect his family and his fellow citizens around him however, is left helpless and unarmed by the very law that is meant to protect him.