When I was a kid, we’d sit around after dinner, watching our TV, spending what the social engineers now refer to as “quality time.” My dad is a music teacher. He had some pointedly different ideas about education than today’s touchy-feely, outcome-based educators. For example, when a commercial would come on, he’d start up a discussion about the advertisers’ claims and the logic behind them. My personal fave: “Dash makes your automatic (washer) work like it’s 10 feet tall!” “What good is a ten-foot tall washer,” my dad would ask. “How easy would it be to load? Would it wash clothes any better?  Sadly, there’s not an awful lot of independent thinkers anymore. Nowhere is the willingness of the sheeple to follow any Tom (Daschle), Dick (Durbin) or Harry (Reid) down the primrose path of illogic when it comes to guns.

When you hear someone say “everyone agrees,” “the science is settled,” or “no reasonable person can argue that . . ” it’s time to put on your waders, cause they’re piling it pretty high, and pretty deep. And they’ve gotten it to talk.

The simple facts are these: statistics are statistics. Numbers. Data. Facts are facts. The problem comes when those facts get interpreted by people that have an agenda. When you’re dealing with agendas, most people don’t let a few inconvenient truths get in the way of the point they are trying to make. (This happens on both sides of any argument, just to be fair.)

So what’s the answer? Simple. Do your own thinking. But don’t be satisfied with whatever you hear. Do some digging on your own. Ask questions. Find out who’s providing the sources for for the stories that claim to have the answers. Determine what kind of bias the reporters/columnists/pundits might have. Back in the (Watergate) day, the admonition was to “follow the money.” Good advice. But take that logic farther: see if you can tell who’s got skin in the game, and what they stand to gain by influencing a specific outcome.

Let’s take a specific “for instance.”

A tragic shooting takes place, um . . . let’s say on a college campus. Said campus was designated as a “gun-free zone.” A lone, deranged assailant brought guns on the campus and killed a number of students and teachers before the cops arrive (with guns). When cornered, the wacko turns his gun on himself before the police can A) arrest him or B) kill him. Those are the facts.

What happens next depends on who you listen to. The anti-gun people (they like to call themselves “gun control advocates” because that makes guns sound like some sorts of unruly pets that need to be kept on leashes) claim that gun-free zones are just peachy, but don’t go far enough. That we’ll all be safe only when and if all guns are banned.

The pro-gun people point to the ineffectiveness of proclaiming anywhere as a “gun-free zone” and that if even one student had been packing, the incident could have ended a lot sooner, with far less loss of life.

Now let’s see if we can throw a dose of sanity on this. Let me start by stating that I am on the pro-gun side of equation, but I don’t consider myself to be rabidly pro-gun, nor do I agree, lock-step, with anybody on anything.

The way I see it, “gun-free zone” is a euphemism for “target-rich environment. If you were a deranged sicko, intent on taking down as many people as you could before you die, would you carry out your plot in a place where you absolutely, positively knew there’d be no guns, or a place where you knew the odds dictated that someone might have a concealed handgun and be perfectly able to defend themselves?

On the other side of the coin, I do a lot of training with handguns. And I know how difficult it is to shoot the bad guy (and not a “friendly”) in training situations. I’m also keenly aware that in a real-life scenario, everything’s different, especially having to deal with massive amounts of adrenaline, tunnel vision, and fear.

While it’s reasonable to say that if someone had been carrying a concealed weapon it could have made a difference, that argument assumes that the person carrying is well-trained (a big assumption), is mentally prepared to appropriately deal with the threat (another one), and can take down the perp without causing more harm (not to mention, not getting themselves shot). That’s a lot to assume.

The Bloombergs, Huffingtons, and Bradys of the world would have you believe that no sane person would believe that guns are necessary, and that the obvious solution is to ban them all. They also tend to conveniently ignore those pesky facts regarding the increase in gun crime in every country that has enacted strict gun control laws in the time since they’ve gone on the books.

Conversely, gun rights advocates would have you believe that every time a perp pulls a pistol, there’d be a responsible gun owner nearby who would be able to disarm the creep or perhaps shoot the gun out of his hand without drawing blood.

Nonsense. We’re all adults here. How about a hyperbole-free discussion of the facts, without all the spin?

Here’s my own perspective: I believe that conceal carry laws function in our society much like the police do – most people obey the law not because there’s a policeman right there, 24/7, but because they know that, if they break the law, the law is liable to catch and punish them. Same with a gun.

If the bad guy knows he’s got to contend with the potential that anybody might be packin’ and could potentially help him assume room temperature, that’s often enough of a deterrent. That may seem insignificant. It’s not. And in fact, that line of reasoning is the foundation for much of our daily lives. (If you don’t agree, you can safely drop your car, home, life, and health insurance, since you won’t be needing them.)

We don’t get insurance because we expect we’ll need it. We carry policies in case we ever do. It’s the same reason I have a concealed handgun permit. Just like insurance, sometimes when you need your gun, it may not work as intended (just ask anybody filing an insurance claim or trying to unholster a gun in a stress situation). But you’re better off with it than without it.

People that claim they have all the answers are immediately suspicious in my book. I prefer to get my data from the source, and make up my own mind. If you don’t agree, I recommend you turn your head and say “baaaaaaaah.” Just try not to get fleeced, the next time you read a story where the author claims to have all the answers.

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