No, we don’t.
A rare editorial commentary.
In the wake of the recent ‘mass shootings,’ an amazing amount of rhetoric has arisen on both sides of the political spectrum and from the Venn diagram of those who bridge the continuum. Both sides are wrong. I’ll probably annoy some people with this commentary and lose some subscribers but so be it.
On one side, commonly referred to as the Left, we hear renewed call for various forms of gun control, ranging from Universal Background Checks to outright banning of ‘assault weapons.’ These calls are the continued extension of a propaganda campaign that would have made Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proud. In numerical terms, the probability of being involved in a ‘mass shooting’ is so small a possibility that it’s not even worth considering in our daily lives much less for making public policy. There were more one-on-one homicide victims last year than in all the so-called ‘mass shootings’ of the 20th and 21st Centuries combined. I feel sorry for the victims of active killers but no more so than for the Dekalb County murder victims who annually outnumber ‘active killer’ victims but who get about one minute of news coverage every few days.
The whole ‘mass shooting’ thing is an invention of the mass media elites to boost their ratings and push forward the topic of gun control. Anyone who thinks that media personalities making millions of dollars a year care one whit about the plight of the average person is seriously naïve. What they care about is their ratings and how much money and power they can accumulate.
In terms of absolutely preventable deaths, the victims of ‘gun violence’ represent a tiny percentage. As I’ve said for many years, if we were really concerned about nutballs going out and slaughtering people, every car in the country would have a mandatory breathalyzer interlock on the ignition. But that would inconvenience everyone, which is unacceptable even if it would save tens of thousands of lives every year. I’ve been accused of deflecting for saying that because it’s a fact that everyone wants to ignore. It would inconvenience everyone who drives at least twice a day and “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Having some way to keep the texting function of cell phones from working while you’re driving would probably go a long way toward preventing death and injuries, too.
The fact is that people’s convenience and choices are far more important to them than other peoples’ well-being. If we really cared about the welfare of the population at large, we’d ban soda pop or limit the amount of it that can be bought. We’ve already seen how popular that idea is. Inconvenience is an automatic no-go.
The gunowning community side is no better. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the phrase “Carry your gun with you everywhere” as a result of these incidents. This is usually about two posts down from a diatribe about how stupid the average gunowner is because they don’t carry the right kind of gun in a holster the poster finds acceptable. Which is it, everyone carry a gun or nearly everyone who carries a gun is incompetent?
Everyone should get training! As I’ve pointed out, there’s a serious numerical problem with the idea that everyone needs training. Folks who advocate that everyone needs training should do some research and then plug the numbers into Excel. It would take 500 years, that’s not a typo, to get everyone who owns a gun trained to even a mediocre level. The idea that those who carry a gun should be able to make a 25 yard head shot on an active killer is so far out of reach that I won’t even hazard a guess at how few people could be trained to that standard. Nowadays, many USPSA Grandmasters can’t accomplish that task with their raceguns.
Speaking of Excel, being able to use it correctly and effectively should be mandatory for anyone who makes or opines about public policy or legal issues. Psychobabble looks a lot different when you start plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and find out that the numbers aren’t what you think they are.
So when we feel “We need to do something,” what do we do? NOTHING DIFFERENT! We accept the fact that life can be dangerous and then get on with our daily lives. We get in our cars, go to work, and at least carry a can of pepper spray to deal with the much more likely possibility of having to apply some social lubricant to a run-of-the-mill criminal. While we’re out, we’re judicious about using our Smartphones so we don’t have our head stuffed up our fourth point of contact (paratrooper term for buttocks) most of the time.
When we get home, we give thanks for the fact that we are so fortunate as to live in the USA. After all, we could be stuck in some Third or Fourth World shithole or a repressive Second World autocracy, such as the UK or FRG, where we can be imprisoned for saying something on Facebook or Twitter.
What we don’t do is SOMETHING STUPID, either individually or as a Nation.
If we choose to carry a gun to protect ourselves and our loved ones, perhaps we buy the Tactical Professor’s Concealed Carry Skills and Drills book so we at least have some vague notion of what personal protection skills actually are and what we’re capable of.
Maybe we even buy the Tactical Professor’s Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make recording. That might help ward off a gun related problem that could have been avoided.
None of those are the answers either side wants but they are the real answers.