Guns or No Guns
Updated December 6,2015
• This is a controversial subject and some of it may be offensive to you.
• I come from a biased position. I like guns and shooting.
• I am a gun owner, but have never shot at anyone….Thank, Goodness.
There is a pretty good chance I would have hit them if I had shot at them.
• I hate gun violence. I would choose the “Dirty Harry” approach to
people who do wanton acts of violence.
• I stopped most hunting activities some years back (but would
accept a quail hunting offer any time and you might see me with
one of my Grandkids in a deer blind!)
I don’t know how many guns I have owned over the years. I am not sure how many I have at this moment hidden away. Only one is loaded and nearby. Just in case.
The number, to some, would seem very large but I know people who have “lots” of guns. Their intention is not to start a revolution or cause anyone any harm, they just like guns and gun collections, much the same way others might collect porcelain or china dolls or art. For you it might be caps or T-shirts or pieces of antique furniture. I once was in a farm house in South Georgia and the man had turned a room into a vault. It was full of Parker 20 Gauge shotguns. To those unfamiliar with Parkers, at that time they were bringing about $4000 each in pristine condition. This was his 401K plan.
We hear a lot about guns and gun control, especially when some lunatic goes out with the intent of harming others for whatever their agenda might seem to be to them. We see the political flavor that much of the rhetoric takes depending on what stage we are in in the election process. And no one can argue that a guy shooting kids in a school or a theater is one of the most terrible things imaginable. And the Supreme Court is hinting it might do some more social engineering and outlaw capital punishment.
In light of the attack in San Bernardino this past week the first thing that came up was gun control and the President, as usual, wants to divert attention from the failed policies of his administration. The two “killers” were planning to kill and guns were a part of that planning. They had two illegally modified weapons, but they had a quantity of bombs that are illegal at every level! Apparently the ones they took to the building failed to detonate for whatever reason.
Bombs are the preferred weapon of the women extremists, it seems to me, and inflict death and misery around the world on a daily basis. Yesterday three women killed about 30 people near Lake Chad. Suicide bombers. While skill is required on some level to make bombs, the most naive and untrained can push a button ( or release one ) to blow up a bomb strapped to their chest. No “target practice” is required.
There was one effort yesterday to compare us to Japan and their low rate of murders. Japan was an occupied country following World War II and they were disarmed. Tomorrow is the anniversary of their attack on Pearl Harbor. They killed plenty of people in their day with all types of weapons. It took an atomic bomb (actually two)to bring them to their knees.
Today, Japan allows very little immigration coming in and is 98.9% Ethnic Japanese. But with their declining birthrate and aging population, they may have to start having a lot of babies or importing people to work and pay taxes. Their population is expected to go from 128 Million to 86 Million in the next 40 years! But, today, they do not have the social diversity and enmity that exists in the US.
The venom and hatred flowing from the Islamic “radicals” is a clear and present anger. Their desire to remain in the old and ancient ways of life is brought with them and allowed to flourish here under the guise of “political correctness” and the government apologizes when someone dares to try to proselyte them. The group in California (CAIR) is suing a Check/Money Order Business in Michigan for wanting to be able to identify the women cashing in money orders as they do not want to remove their facial masks! Hate, stupidity, and political correctness. This combination will be the downfall of the US. Not AR 15’s.
The CAIR group comes on and says this is not the way of Islam but the family either turned a blind eye to the bomb factory operation or had no idea of what these people were doing. I have to believe there were many people coming and going over at their house, according to neighbors, and there were many people who did know, probably got their own stash of bombs and said nothing.
This masked group is the new “black hat” version of the old KKK. Instead of burning crosses, they are using bombs as their signature. The goal of the Islamic groups is to reform America into an Islamic group and their proselyting is just fine as seen by numerous people, some big name athletes, who have joined their ranks in the past several years.
The urge to outlaw guns and gun ownership as the solution to our problems is understandable and justifiable from the point of view of many. So recently we have the leading candidates talking about implementing more controls on guns.
I certainly do not have a simple cure for the crime rate and murder rate in the US. And, I hear a lot of reference to Australia as a model for how to handle gun violence.
I believe that if you are going to use Australia, ( or Japan )as a comparison, you have to use all of the models of comparison that are available to try and draw a conclusion and that is beyond the scope of my space here and my ability. Just this key point: Australia is not the USA. Although, given time, it could be a mini version.
I could point out here that the US has a population that is 14 times bigger than Australia. While we think of Australia as some vast place, it is smaller than the US in size and population. And even before they instituted strict gun laws they had much lower murder rates than the US per 100,000 people.
Guns are not outlawed in Australia. There are about 4 Million registered guns there. All guns are supposed to be registered there but in the last few years there has been an increase in the number of illegal guns coming into the country. There were only 238 murders in all of Australia in 2014. The most common weapon for murder in Australia ( and Japan, with about 1300 murders ) is a knife. Australia did a buyback program and that made big news and a lot of old, non-working hand me downs were part of it. And, sure, some bad weapons too.
But, this low number of murders may not be attributable to guns or the lack of them. I believe we would have to look deeper at the problem to get a true picture of the situation in America, especially if Australia is the benchmark. It’s when we start digging into some of the numbers that we can get on someone’s bad side. The conclusions one might draw become personal rather than focused on an inanimate object.
Violent crime numbers as have been kept by the FBI have been changed over the past few years and they avoided, some think on purpose, the demographics of crime. Hispanic numbers, for example, were separated out for a long period of time and then were included in other categories. This was done for primarily political reasons so as not to offend a voting segment and to garner favor for supporting granting some citizenship to illegal immigrants. That is not stated anywhere but there seems to be a connection.
They have decided to go back to the separation of those numbers. There is no doubt that when the numbers are reviewed, there is a lopsided amount of violent crimes done by certain segments of the population. When these comparisons are pointed out you run the risk of being called a “racist”. That is a charge that is used to often cut off debate.
If you compare the demographics of Australia to the US, there is a huge difference in the population makeup. These numbers, while they would be unpopular to discuss, say a lot about where violent crime is coming from and who is doing it. And that area is off limits for public debate, it seems, in the US and fosters all types of claims about bigotry. Some justified.
In New York, according to one 2008 study, 98% of gun violence came from two groups and almost 85% of the arrests for crime. Here, some would say that the law enforcement agencies unfairly enforce the laws and some are arrested in some groups that should not be and others in other demographics are not arrested when they should have been. No doubt, there is some amount of truth in that but the disproportion is astounding.
More homogeneous societies seem to have less crime. That is a perception on my part without a multimillion dollar study.
Where there are many different diversities that seems to foster violence and they are not all racial. Some are religious as we see in the Middle East where one group is at war with another group but everyone looks and talks the same. It is not always as easy as talking about or blaming racial diversity. In some places problems seem to result from economic extremes and some of that may be part of the problem in the US.
We also have different classes of gun violence. There is the extremist that walks into a public place or business intent on righting some wrong that they perceived in their warped view of things. There is the person who has a political agenda, wanting mass shock effect for massive coverage in the news. And there are those that are so removed mentally from reality that no real conclusion can be drawn for their behavior. A fellow lived in Lincoln, Montana and sent bombs in the mail.
We have the drug violence in the US brought about by the prohibition of many popular drugs. Whether we like it or not, making drugs illegal has made them highly profitable, made criminals of a lot of high school and college students, and made gangsters out of others. The jails are overflowing and the tide has not been stemmed. The same happened with alcohol. The war on drugs, like the war on poverty, the war of terrorism and the war in Iraq, has proven futile so far. We have declared victory in some cases only to find out “tain’t so”.
I wonder in the case of New York, how many of the violent crimes are committed directly or indirectly because of the drug element. Drugs are controlled and outlawed to no avail, it seems. So Denver, Colorado (and others, too) has its own state regulated stores. Now, you can get your drugs and the state gets its tax money. What a deal! And, it openly violates Federal laws.
We have the gang culture that instills violence as a tool for gaining and protecting turf. Who knows how to deal with that?
We certainly have domestic violence and the underlying causes there. Some would argue that having guns contribute to that violence. Attitudes toward women and the propensity to solve problems with force are cultural problems of major proportions.
We have the suspicion of, and lack of respect for, law enforcement that seems to show up more and more every day with police shootouts. And more dead people.
Today’s video game culture endorses and entertains by the constant “destruction” of the enemy. Sooner or later, kids get immunized to the idea of people getting killed. Many say it’s not a problem. Indoctrination to violence is not a problem?
If we criminalize guns, how will it be any different than drugs or alcohol prohibitions? Maybe in a practical sense, no difference. But from the standpoint of the Constitution, the implications would be far reaching. But our tendency is to make life more difficult for law abiding citizens and have little impact on the real problem. The “blanket approach” brings about a “blanket loss of freedom.” Maybe the concept of “freedom” has been lost in the USA because most here have never experienced the totalitarianism present in other places and taken to be normal.
We see that in some areas of the world, many of these extremist carry out their murderous intent with suicide bombs, motorcycle bombs, car bombs, and in the case of Boston, pressure cooker bombs. Nearly two hundred were killed in Turkey last week. And in Israel there were several knife attacks as part of the renewed violence there.
But, in the US there is a serious problem in how to deal with the problem of gun violence. Gun ownership is as fundamental to the basis of the founding of the country as free speech. The Second Amendment cannot be ripped from the pages of the Constitution without endangering the other rights written there. If one of these can be deemed expendable, who’s to say the others can’t as well? I dare say few people can tell you what the Third Amendment is without looking it up.
In China, for the past 30 years, the number of children a couple could have has been regulated. Only recently have these rules been relaxed some. Saudi Arabia, a so called friend of the US and welcomed guest at the White House, prohibits women from driving and all women must have a male escort. In many societies women cannot show their faces. We could look at Nazi Germany and other extreme situations today where the rights of the individuals were and are restricted and draw much argument and wide ranging conclusions.
I grew up in homes that all had a shotgun in the corner with a box of shells or one hanging over the fireplace and a box of shells on the mantle. I cannot recall a single incident where kids bothered the guns. Why? They were told to leave them alone.
Kids were shooting and squirrel hunting at 8, 9, or 10 years old. The guns were just as deadly then as now. We did not have the high powered semi-automatics, but a 12 gauge with double-ought (00) buck shot is pretty deadly. Some people were fortunate enough to have a Winchester or Marlin 30-30.
There are extreme views on both sided of the issue of guns. There are some who believe they all should be banned. The Constitution stands in the way. For how long, well, we’ll see. It would take 38 States and Congress to change it. Or maybe there will be an executive order or a social engineering move by the Supreme Court. But if the people in 38 states can be convinced that our problems stem from guns, then, there you go.
Others believe everyone should carry a gun. And the 8 year old child is killed, supposedly, by a dropped semi-automatic while her mother is doing her hair. A tragedy, in anyone’s book. Two kids are playing this week and get the gun the father had on top of the refrigerator and one shoots the other. He did not think they could reach it. Another tragedy.
The recent laws passed in Georgia are preposterous. If churches feel they need protection, I would suggest hiring a professional law enforcement person for security at the appropriate times. Having Sister Mary and Brother Joseph whip out their 9 MM semi-auto’s while the offering plate is going around because they think there is a problem could result in lead flying all over the place.
I can tell you that I do not believe everyone should be carrying a gun. There are many people who are too quick to anger and some that are not emotionally stable. Sometimes the “right” to do something does not make it the “right” thing to do. Like riding a bike on the busiest highway in town at 5:00. Like having 5 kids by 5 different fathers and no means to support them because you have the “right”.
I do know that laws are usually obeyed by law abiding people. Crooks do not care and do what they want. Whether it’s stealing a car, embezzling money from the company, using drugs that are listed as illegal, or buying a gun from an illegal gun dealer, criminals do criminal things. We can try one more “prohibition” but with likely disastrous results. This is not Australia.
There was a man named Pareto that lived in Italy and he developed the “Pareto Principal”. Most of us call it the 80-20 rule. It applies to a lot of areas of life. In this case, we have a 20% doing 80% of the bad things but 100% end up losing….something. Non gun owners do not feel threatened about the possible loss of guns but there may be something else they care about. Is that fair game too?
We do have a problem with gun violence. There probably are too many guns. I seriously question the numbers I hear in the media about the number of guns, but I have not counted them and neither have they.
There are people who have them that should not have them. But, I want to keep mine. Just because I want to. And, it is my Constitutional right. If you don’t want one, don’t have one. That’s your right, too.
I don’t know if there is enough love and kindness left to cure the problems of society. I don’t know if the lack of a cohesive family unit can be resolved in our society. Maybe not. I see many young people doing a great job of nurturing and teaching their kids to be responsible adults, so I know it can be done.
We are great at dealing with the aftermath of problems and forming after the fact predictions but we are doing little on the front end to solve the growing problems of youth growing up without parenting, parents with no values to teach, parents active in the drug business and selling drugs to the kids their kids go to school with, schools who are more concerned about political correctness than correctly dealing with problems and where religion is now seen as a bad influence. At least some religions. The tolerance for the “Christian” standards seem to be waning. Crime seems to be increasing. Any correlation?
Many of our enemies start with the children at an early age in school and teach them to hate, that murder is ok if you are doing it for your beliefs. We are letting a few continue to justify their existence by making everything about being treated unfairly, all the time and that others are to be considered of no value. Let’s teach ours to love and respect others. Help them to learn that people can disagree without always having to fight.
As long as there is a lot of money to be made, enmity between groups, divisive politicians, extreme poverty, divisive elements, and lack of basic human respect, there is the potential for violence. When kids get more inspiration from a gang or some terrorist group like ISIS, they will use rocks, bottles, bombs, knives, and yes, guns. On the higher level, its F-18’s, guided missiles, tanks, and gas canisters.
We have a problem with evil here and around the world that is becoming more and more a protected species and love, respect, and mutual understanding and tolerance become more and more on the “endangered” list.
Mrs. Clinton says she would consider the Australian model for how to deal with gun violence. I will accept the Australian Model as well. Before the 1996 law change regarding guns they had only about 400 murders a year in Australia. They now have about 300 and they use knives mostly. A place about the size of Texas.
But for things to work the same way, you have to change the demographics of our society. IN 2014 in California, 46% of the murders were committed by one minority group and 27.2% by another. You can go to the California Attorney General Website for the most recent crime figures from that state. These numbers are disturbing and you will not hear them discussed by “civic leaders” very much.
And you will also find with a little research on the internet that over 9,000 illegal guns were confiscated after being smuggled into Australia this past year alone, Those are the ones they caught. Another industry has been created there: gun smuggling.
So use Australia as your model if you want. You will have to do some serious rearranging here in this country to make that work. And it will not be popular, either. And the root causes will continue to be unattended. This ain’t Australia.
© 2015 SPT