Thursday, April 8, 2010

To a cancer cell, heathy tissue is the cancer.

Comparing gun control to an addiction or a cancer wouldn't be very original. It has been done. For anybody not familiar, the idea is that the desire for gun control stems from some belief that it is a solution to violence and crime. A common effect of gun control however is an increase in crime and violence as law abiding targets disarm. The result is a greater call for more gun control and so on. That is the addiction portion.

Once an area has reached the point of imploding on itself due to violence despite an extreme gun control / ban that area looks outward and determines that it is the outside world not adopting their gun bans that is causing their problems. They then seek to force their surrounding areas to do the same as they have. Then the cycle continues. That is the cancer portion.

So what brings this up? Well I came across an article that tried to make the case that the cancer in this debate is the belief that people have a right to keep and bear arms at an individual level. To quote:

America has a cancer, an interpretative error originating in our government’s DNA, the Constitution. On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court handed down an errant interpretation in District of Columbia v. Heller, exacerbating the misconception that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to own firearms.

So to counter the plain wording on the second amendment, the author falls back on an interpretation that has never been supported by the supreme court, is completely at odds with the reasoning used to protect the first amendment, and is contrary to the spirit of the amendment made clear in every discussion had about it during the drafting and ratification.

To make the case that the second amendment was never meant to be individual, the author offers the following:

One needn’t be a Constitutional law professor to discern the Founding Fathers’ intent in the Second Amendment. The original draft as presented to the first session of the First Congress read:

”The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Clearly, the Constitution’s drafters placed gun ownership solely in the context of organized military service. Even the Amendment’s final version retains and begins with the phrase, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.”

This makes me wonder if the author has any concept of what the term militia means in the constitutional sense. He claims to be former military yet clearly has no understanding of the militant structure that existed at the time the second amendment was ratified. The militia was every able bodied male over 16. More over, the framers abhorred the idea of a standing army existing while the populace is disarmed. Those two facts run contrary to the authors entire article.

The author then tries to legitimize his viewpoint with the same old emotional appeal:

Before the advent of firearms, becoming dangerous meant years of training if not a lifetime’s upbringing in a warrior caste. Using his credit card, Virginia Tech madman Seung-Hui Cho paid $571 for a Glock 19 pistol and a box of fifty bullets. A Glock 19 weighs slightly less than a quart of milk; it measures under seven inches long. Its operation is simple: load, point, shoot fifteen times, reload. In nine minutes, Cho killed 30 people, wounding dozens more.

First off, being dangerous without a gun is quite simple. Nut jobs in regions where guns have been banned and largely eliminated have quite effectively committed mass murder with knives, axes, and things like that. The difference is before guns, you had to find an area where you could physically dominate each and every person in an area since you would be attacking them face to face. With guns in the picture a 90 year old grandma who still has decent vision could stop such an attacker if she is armed. So simply finding a physically weak populace is no longer sufficient. Now the attacker has to find something else: a population with little to no chance of a law abiding victim having a gun.

In the authors emoting rant, he forgets to mention that mass shootings not only occur by and large in gun free zones, but account for only a minute fraction of the violence law abiding people risk even in their homes, but also going about their lives outside the home.

If it were possible to simply wish away every gun in existence and erase any concept of how they can be made, that might be a decent solution. Even then I would make the case that the physically frail deserve the level playing field that firearms have made possible. But at least it would be a partially viable solution. But seeing as governments have no intention of disarming (and happen to collectively be the greatest firearm-using-murderers for as long as firearms have existed), and criminals can make firearms in garages with hand tools even if the normal black market channels went dry, the argument that stripping the civilian populace of arms is for their good falls flat.

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