Saturday, December 05, 2015

When Guns Are Outlawed Only Outlaws Will Have Guns

The talking heads at the New York Times penned an editorial in response to the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and it was about what one would expect from that august body: End The Gun Epidemic In America. It is an eminently forgettable screed that only serves as a self-righteous echo chamber for leftists. However some of what they wrote demands a response because it exposes not just a hatred for private gun ownership but a distressing naivete and an all too common disdain for common sense and the Constitution. Exhibit A where we treat every crime where a gun is involved as a "gun crime" even if the actual crime being committed is terrorism or gang violence.
But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.
So according to the sages at the New York Time, the purpose of our government is to "keep us safe". That sounds great! But is it true? The framers of the document that created our Federal government explained why they were making the Constitution in the preamble. Is there a mention of safety being the "job" of our elected officials?
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Notice please that something is missing. There is no mention of our elected officials keeping us "safe". The Federal government was given very limited powers to adjudicate disputes between the states, provide for a common military for the defense of the nation and generally to do collectively only what the states could not easily do separately. In fact the Founders were highly suspicious of an armed government, having fought a war against the British and their standing army. They didn't write the Constitution creating the Federal government to keep us safe from criminals, they wrote the Constitution and intentionally limited the Federal government to keep Americans safe from that same government. This is Civics 101. The New York Times (All the news liberal opinion that's fit to print!) editors apparently skipped the day in class when the formation of the Constitiution was discussed. The Times continues with an unusual display of honesty:
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
I wonder if they hold the same opinion of the right to an unfettered press? What if Donald J. Trump becomes President and decides that some news stories and opinion pieces like this one are dangerous and need to be controlled via "reasonable regulation"? One can imagine the outcry of "Freedom of the press!" from the New York Times. If you can count on anything besides death and taxes, it is that the news media have a schizophrenic relationship with the Constitution, defending with their dying breath certain parts of the First Amendment but ignoring or discounting entirely the very next Amendment. To the media the only truly important part of the Bill of Rights is the freedom for them to print drivel without regulation. The rest doesn't matter much. The Times goes on:
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.
Riiiiigggghhhhtttt. If you have half a brain and even the most rudimentary powers of reasoning you will see the problem right away. Expecting to eliminate gun violence by, at first, outlawing certain types of guns and then relying on the goodness of law abiding citizens to turn them in means that the only people who are giving up "assault weapons" or other firearms decreed "bad" by the Times are people who obey the law. As it turns out, those sorts of people are not the criminals who use these weapons in the commission of a crime by definition. In the Fascist fantasyland where the Times editorial board lives, would-be terrorists and criminals will glumly line up to turn in their weapons. "Shucks, I wuz gunna shoot up an office party but I have to turn in my assault weapon." In real life that is not going to happen. One of the truths about the New York Times that makes it useless for national discourse is that it thinks that only people in New York, and to a much lesser extent Boston, Chicago and L.A., have opinions that matter. If the editors of the New York Times ever lowered themselves to listen to people in "fly over" country they would realize that calls to turn in guns is a joke. I am not turning in my firearms and no one else I know would either. In fact the response would be kind of like this (the Persians in this case being the Federal government)

What is truly insidious about this is that the Times and other liberal anti-2nd Amendment types is that they are not in favor of eliminating guns, just eliminating guns in the hands of private citizens. Federal agents in possession of firearms are great because they need those guns to make citizens obey every whim of the government, no matter how asinine or counter-productive. Don't want to buy health insurance? Armed agents are on their way. Want to buy actual milk in a transaction between two consenting, informed adults? Good chance your door is getting kicked in by agents with guns drawn. Not joking, that has happened. Memes are poor excuses for discourse but now and again they serve a purpose:

Yep. Gun control is really people control. 

I know I am something of a seeming contradiction. a non-resistant Christian in the tradition of the Anabaptists who is also a frothing at the mouth supporter of the Second Amendment but if life has taught me anything it is that liberty is more valuable than "security" and that people in the government and writing for the editorial board of the NY Times are not interested in your safety, liberty or prosperity, they are mostly interested in controlling you to benefit themselves. That is an inconvenient truth but a truth nonetheless. 

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