Brady Board member Joan Peterson, blogging as Japete, makes her second post within a day and a half of the murderous assault by probable psychopath Jared Loughner. The anti-gun groups jumped on this incident of political violence with exuberance, undoubtedly hoping for the kind of success they attained after other political assassinations (from Kennedy to Reagan, though none of those laws affected this assault). And honestly … I don’t blame them. At their core are people who truly believe that all violence is due to guns and that without them violent people would be harmless (which is not actually supported by history, recent or otherwise) and so it’s natural that they assume that every violent incident will suddenly “open the eyes” of Americans to agree with their version of “common sense” (though it may be anything but).
But a reading of Japete’s post and opinion gives a window to the reasoning the anti-gun groups are using to try and take away a constitutionally protected right, personal empowerment, and cultural tradition … but contrary to what they say their views are not logical, not in our best interests as a nation, and not really common sense at all.
I do realize that Ms. Peterson lost a beloved family member in an incident of domestic violence, and I do feel for her. But while it explains some of her rhetoric … we can’t let the pain of another person make all of our decisions for us. I’m sure the initial reaction of any parent who has lost a child in a drowning accident in a private pool would be to demand a legal ban on all privately held pools … but how many of us would support that? We would understand their pain, we might even support laws protecting pools better from children … but in the end, we would not want to take away a cherished privilege (not even a right) based on a relatively rare occurrence (and given the number of private pools available, they are statistically more dangerous to children than guns).
But looking at her post …
First off, the post is titled More than zero is too many. And in fact Japete has made it clear in the past that she will continue to support gun restrictions until there are zero gun deaths — which means that despite her protests to the contrary she is in favor of a complete gun ban and confiscation. Because there will always be some number of gun deaths if there are any guns left anywhere in the world … because that’s what we humans are like.
But in any case … her position is not surprising. The anti-gun groups, who recently have claimed to just be anti-violence since the public has turned against them on the gun ban issue, have never seen an anti-gun law they didn’t like. Including the gun bans in D.C. and Chicago.
Now to delve into her words …
On average 32 people a day are murdered by bullets.
Except … no one has ever been “murdered by bullets.” Murder is a crime, and a bullet can’t commit a crime. On average 32 people a day are murdered with bullets. Although some might claim this is a nitpicking grammatical error, this kind of speech is predominate in anti-gun writings. Anti-gun people truly do blame the gun/bullet more than the murderers who pull the trigger. And Japete has made it clear repeatedly in debates that she doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about people murdered by any other means, or how many people defend themselves with guns … she is only against guns. Period. Until they are banned all “gun” violence has ceased completely.
Representative Giffords made mention during the 2010 campaign of Sarah Palin’s web page that listed 20 Democrats to “go after” with a big gun site over the names. … Palin took down this web page after the shootings. Why? She had to have understood that her posting of candidates in the cross hairs of a gun scope would be an issue.
Except, as I pointed out in my earlier post, there were no gun sights, bullseyes, or even the “cross hairs” of a gun scope on that map; the symbol used was a common one for graphical programs.
But really … I don’t feel we should have to defend Palin on this one. Even if she had used the crosshairs of a gun scope, that is a normal icon that all American’s relate to. I’ve seen crosshairs in hundreds of various documents, none of which caused a mass murder. And anyone who thinks that an otherwise normal person goes over the edge and commits murder because they see a “gun sight” over a map … does not understand the nature of humans. It takes more than an icon to get us past our aversion to murder. Duh.
We’ve spent too many aftermaths of mass shootings in this country in denial, refusing to call attention to the obvious elephant in the room. Guns. And then we go on to the next event or news item that captures our fancy and we forget how we felt when we learned that another mass shooting happened in the U.S. This time, because it affected a sitting Congresswoman, I have hopes that it will be different. All in Congress now feel vulnerable and shaken by the senseless and surprise shooting of their colleague.
So she believes that before this congresspeople were voting pro-gun, and we American’s were supporting the right to keep and bear arms, because we collectively believed our congresspeople were immune from violence? And that now that a congresswoman has been shot, they will suddenly take action? Who’s in denial now?
Again … the anti-gun people just refuse to understand that there are millions of Americans who know very well what the aftermath of violence is, but who also have the historical and common sense perspective to understand that it is what is in the heart of a person, not their hand, that makes a murderer. Anyone who has read a history book, newspaper, or the Bible knows that violent people will find a way.
And we also understand that all of our protected rights … whether it’s the right to speech, religion, or to refuse a search without a warrant … present some dangers to society at large. But in America we cherish our freedoms and rights and surrender them only when there is no other choice.
You can read my blog for all my various reasons, but after many late nights poring over the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics and other facts I have determined that the minimal theoretical decrease in lethal violence from gun control (not seen anywhere gun control is passed) is overshadowed by the loss of the empowerment of private arms ownership. And Ms Peterson’s fears, or even what happened in Tucson, don’t change that. So if you see a politician suddenly change his/her mind because suddenly they realize they are not immune to the dangers we all face … it’s probably time to reconsider your support of that person.
The bottom line is … if murderous people can’t find a gun they’ll use a knife, a speeding vehicle, a Ryder truck full of fertilizer explosives, or boxcutters and an airline ticket.
This article highlights how rare it is in our history as a nation for sitting members of Congress to be the targets of shooters. Only 5 have died so far. That is why this incident is so unsettling for Americans.
Very rare indeed. But then so is murder in general to those not involved in (or living in the vicinity of) the drug subculture. But does the rarity of this mean we need to react that much stronger to it? 32 mere citizens a day? No worries and no restrictions. 5 members of congress in 237 years? HOLY COW START PASSING GUN CONTROL!!!
What we also know about the gun and the ammunition is that Jared Loughner had 2 ammunition clips each holding more than 30 rounds. He was attempting to load the second clip when he was tackled by some people at the scene. A witness thought it only took about 10 seconds to shoot off the first round. It needs to be said here that if the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 had not been allowed to lapse in 2004, this type of high capacity ammunition clip would not have been legal to import or sell in gun stores
I don’t care that she calls a “magazine” a “clip,” that’s common. But having been at least around guns during the ten years of the 1994 weapons ban (at the time I was apathetic about the 2nd amendment) I can tell you that she is wrong about the availability of magazines with more than a 10 round capacity. They were always easily available, you just had to pay a premium for them, usually about $60 instead of $20 (about 3x). But if you’re planning a one time mass murder and then either jail or death … you’re probably not worried about wasting an extra $40 on a magazine.
But while details are still coming, I believe that when Loughner was taken down he still had rounds in that first magazine. He didn’t have a chance to get through it all. And in any case … a magazine change takes less than 2 seconds. So whether you have 10 round magazines or 30 round magazines … reloading doesn’t create an opportunity to stop someone unless you’re right there on top of them to begin with; and in that case, as we saw here, you’re going to tackle them anyway if you’re that kind of person (or shoot them if you have a firearm of your own and a clear field of fire).
As to Arizona gun laws, people who carry guns don’t need a permit to do so. How would anyone know the difference between someone who has evil intentions with that gun and someone who doesn’t? Without having to go through a background check to carry a loaded gun in public means that anyone can carry a loaded gun in public.
You can carry a gun anywhere in America as long as you’re not afraid of the consequences. And clearly this murderer was not. The fact that he could “legally” carry a gun was moot. I honestly don’t think anyone sits at home thinking, “man, I’d really like to go to a political rally and shoot a bunch of people and either get shot by the police or go to jail, but since carrying a gun is illegal I’d better not.” Carry laws don’t matter in the least to people like this, though at least in some situations they may allow someone to fight back who otherwise is powerless to do so.
Could a law have stopped this man from getting his gun? Maybe. Maybe not. I have said before, however, that we have a culture in the U.S peculiar to our country. We have the second amendment which people hold sacred leading to a culture where we have almost as many guns as we have citizens in our country. This is just not the case in other countries. If more guns make us safer, we need to ask why it isn’t working out that way. We have the greatest rate of gun deaths per 100,000 over other civilized countries not at war(current figures hard to find). It requires leaving of our senses and our common sense to believe that more guns have made us safer. How did the gun lobby get so many people to believe this? They are very clever. They are powerful. They use fear. They are well funded and they fund well. They are the NRA.
Obviously there will be some discussion on this, and that’s fine. After the VTI shooting some reasonable laws about possession were passed that the NRA supported.
But while I don’t want to go into every point above … again, look at my blog. Whenever you look at a place that used to have access to guns and then had it taken away, be that place the U.K., Austrailia, D.C., or Chicago … the murder rate did NOT go down. Those other countries had a lower murder rate than us before the ban and they have a lower murder rate now … but that’s because it’s the way it’s always been there; the ban itself had no measurable effect. And no gun control passed in this country has had an effect, though we have passed quite a lot.
I am the NRA, as are millions of other Americans. We’re only moderately well funded, and while we sometimes are clever … we mostly win because we have the facts and the voters on our side. This recent assault cannot change the former and hopefully won’t change the latter.
I could go on about her post, but I’m already at better than 2000 words and really she’s just going back into an attack on recent political rhetoric, which I’ve covered in 3 previous posts and which is being covered by many other good bloggers and pundits nationwide.
No doubt the horrendous actions of a psychopath in Tucson will cause some discussions on many subjects, from political civility to gun control, and that’s good; I look forward to all of them. It may also have consequences and effects, and that’s to be expected as well.
But let’s not let a single event, not matter how horrible, coerce us into completely surrendering a long held right and cultural tradition; that of the private ownership of firearms and weapons. Any more than we let 9-11 intimidate us into adopting Shariah law.
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