Now is exactly the right time to wonder why things like this happen and how to prevent them. It’s also the time to wonder why other murders happen (frequently for relatively mundane reasons, like an argument over money), and how to prevent those. But we should not dive automatically into gun control.
There were approximately 15,000 homicides in 2009 in the
This is according to the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime), in their
2011 report which is available here. But I know that millions (if not billions) of
bullets were fired in the United
that year. That means most people are
responsible with their guns. I’m not
inclined to limit everyone’s rights when a relatively small number of people
abuse their rights. Think of it like
Substantive Due Process in the Constitution; there must be a compelling,
overriding reason to limit someone’s rights. U.S.
Homicide is a compelling reason, but not an overriding one. This is because gun control is not the only way to reduce homicide. I’m not even convinced that it would be effective at reducing homicide. Gun control proponents like to point out the relatively low crime rates in
and Australia and
many Western European countries, where guns are strictly controlled if not
outlawed. True, but how do they explain Canada ? Russia
In 2009, there were 16,000 homicides in
according to the same UN study. Their
population is slightly less than half the size of the Russia
population. This makes their murder rate
slightly more than twice ours. And their
gun control laws are very strict.
Handguns and automatic weapons are outlawed. Shotguns and rifles are heavily restricted,
requiring citizens to go through a strict and extensive licensing process. All of these rules don’t appear to do a damn
thing. Nice work, tovariches. U.S.
There are other examples I’ve heard in the news that make me wonder why we fixate on gun control. Gun bans have been removed in D.C. and Chicago. Murder is up (way up) in
but down in D.C. Violence has been on a
consistent decline in the Chicago
and gun ownership is on the rise. Presence
or lack of guns and gun control laws doesn’t appear to have anything to do with
anything. We have a murder problem, not
a gun problem. So why the hell do people
want to kill each other? If we figure
that out, we’ll actually make some progress.
Sadly, every time we try, we stray into a minefield of political correctness. Murderers tend to come from poor neighborhoods. Murderers tend to come from single parent homes. Mentioning facts like these tends to manufacture more outrage than results. There are plenty of other possible causes, some controversial, some not. But they all have to be explored if we ever expect to make a real change, even if we risk hurting someone’s feelings. Hurt feelings are preferable to more dead people.
So the left wing is right for saying we need to talk about this now, but dumb for knee-jerking its way into gun control. The right wing is right to dispute this, but dumb when they accuse the left of exploiting a tragedy. Exploiting a tragedy to prevent future tragedies is an entirely worthwhile exercise. Just exploit it in a way that gets actual results.
The political agenda that needs pushing is that we need murder control, not gun control. Focusing on gun control is just taking our eyes off of the ball. It’s times like this that I’m happily and thankfully non-partisan. I hope they eventually get it together. Before anyone dies or anything.