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A Connecticut Tragedy

Horrific shootings are in the news today. Connecticut was the most recent site of violence as some madman gunned down more than a score of schoolchildren. Combined with the mall shooting, it’s been a sad week.

Naturally, after the de rigeur expressions of sympathy, the anti-gun people began beating the war-drums of banning firearms. If only, they say, he couldn’t get a gun so easily, this could have been avoided. Or, if only it hadn’t been an assault rifle. Or, if only guns were limited to one shot, muzzle loading weapons. Or if, or if….

There are a couple of points to be made here. The first is on the nature of guns. Guns are a tool, and as such, can be used for good or for evil purposes. In the hands of a psychopath, they can be terribly misused. In the hands of a soldier, they can be used to liberate the world. In the hands of a hunter, they can feed a family; in the hands of a government, they can attempt genocide. Like a hammer, a gun is neither good nor bad.

The second is that in Connecticut, a permit is required to purchase a handgun, while assault weapons are banned completely from the state, according to the National Rifle Association. And yet, this man got hold of both, in plain contravention of the law. Would one more law have made a difference? Doubtful.

The third is the idea that gun-free zones somehow magically make children safer. In that gun-free zone, the only people who were gun-free were the victims. The prohibition against guns didn’t make them safer, it made them defenseless. Is it any wonder that a recreant (Thanks, Pete!) would choose such an area for his depraved activity?

Concurrently, more or less, with the Connecticut shooting is this interesting piece from Beijing:

“A knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes Friday, police said, the latest in a series of periodic rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens. A Tangshan county hospital administrator said the man first attacked an elderly woman, then students, before being subdued by security guards who have been posted across China following a spate of school attacks in recent years.”

I wonder if Bob Costas is pontificating at the Chinese about their “knife culture?”

Assume for a moment that all of the passengers on Flight 93 had been armed. Or any of the other three flights that day. Could the outcome have been any worse? Not really. The end result could only have been better.

While the media reminds us over the next few days about Columbine, et. al., the one that will be conspicuously absent will be Appalachian State. If you remember, that was the university in North Carolina where a gunmen was stopped by armed students.

But all of this is really beyond the point. There are some 300 million guns in America. I own a number of them. Very few of them are ever used in mass homicides. And if you remove drug related killings from the overall number of homicides, the rate drops significantly. Children are still more likely to be killed by cars than by guns.

The real issue is why are people killing like this? The availability of guns isn’t the cause. Guns have been available in large numbers throughout America’s history. In a lot of areas, guns were seen on the streets. People would carry them around as casually as today one might carry a wrench. There was a law, in fact, in Massachusetts during the late 18th century that required households to have guns and ammunition. Yet mass killings were unheard of. So to blame guns would be contrary to common sense and evidence.

Yet the parents who blame guns, or the “gun culture,” or the NRA, are the same parents who don’t bother to listen to the lyrics of the rap albums their kids buy. Or don’t bother to look at the video games their kids play.

Is anybody really surprised at the seemingly ever-increasing level of violence in America? We feed our children a diet of Grand Theft Auto video games, thug music, and TV shows that desensitize them to violence; we make a mother’s right to kill her unborn child a centerpiece of our recent election, and then are shocked when they kill? The people that are really shocked and couldn’t see this coming shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. If you steep a child in violent imagery long enough, how is it surprising that they absorb those images? A child only knows what they’re taught. We have to stop the degradation of humanity and start teaching the dignity of every individual before this plague will pass.

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