A Brief Message from Our Sponsor: The Truth

After my recent dietribe [sic] against an ATF sting, commentator Dan Baum called me an NPCG (Needlessly Paranoid Gun Clinger). “Maybe ATF discovered two guys trying to buy a really fearsome illegal weapon and, lucky for everybody, busted them before they could do it. Nothing in the press release disproves my admittedly wacky theory.” As [other] regular readers of this site know, I’m equally skeptical of news reports, editorials and official statements from clingers or grabbers. All of the playas in this ballistic battle have an axe to grind. But it’s also true that I find more truth on the pro-gun rights side of the debate than the anti. Here’s why . . .

People lie. All the time. For many reasons, both personal and political. When it comes to guns, they lie as if their life depends on it. Because it does. Or at least, they think it does.

Many gun rights’ advocates are convinced that a firearm is all that stands between them and violent crime. They’ve bought into the Hollywood-inspired lie that an armed man is an island, capable of defending kith and kin against the slings and arrows of outrageous felons. They over-estimate both the threat and the role their firearm can and should play in their defense.

Gun control advocates aren’t as paranoid. They believe in their heart of hearts that people are fundamentally good. For felons who fall afoul of the nurture vs. nature debate, the resulting destruction can be limited by reducing access to firearms. In other words, less guns equals less crime. Less violence. Less suffering. Less danger for them. Less danger for the criminals themselves. And less danger for society.

Both sides of this debate may be equally delusional, but one side is far more willing to lie to convince fence straddlers of the “truth” of their position.

I’ve heard gun control advocates like Jadegold say it straight out: I ignore or deny facts because my cause is just. Most antis are ready, willing and able to cast aside incontrovertible factual evidence (e.g., John Lott’s book More Guns, Less Crime). They “massage” data and/or obscure inconvenient truth with horrific anecdotes, using emotion to overcome reason.

Equally important, gun control advocates perpetuate the idea that the threat of evil is easily controlled. The standard reply to gun crime (as explored in Wildfire’s post): let the cops handle it. They paint themselves as big-hearted pro “progress” people: an educated elite that knows what’s best for less fortunate people. Deep down, they have a child-like faith in authority.

Why else would anyone trust the ATF—or any federal agency—to tell the truth about guns? And while you’re pondering that affront to history and human nature, check this post from Mikeb302000. It’s about a story I was about to blog: Officer falls, gun shoots, strikes cop. Stimulus:

While officers searched the apartment, one officer stood on a table to look in an attic crawl space.  Police spokesman Cpl. Anthony Hipolito said that’s when the officer fell off the table. When he hit the ground his duty weapon went off, and a bullet struck a second officer who was in the apartment, in the foot.

Mikeb302000′s response:

I realize accidents can happen to anybody, nevertheless, this guy should surrender his weapon and work in the property shed from now on.

First, Mike should know by now that there’s no such thing as a firearms “accident.” Only “negligent discharges.” Second, no cop carries a weapon that “goes off” from striking the ground. The cop had to have his finger on the trigger for his weapon to fire. Third, highly dubious police shootings—complete with official under-carpet sweeping—are a regular occurrence.

Never mind. Mikeb302000 is happy to accept the official version of events and view the incident from the naive point-of-view that the police are supremely well suited to the responsibility of carrying firearms. If they screw up, that’s bad. But irresponsible, sometime reprehensible behavior by LEOs doesn’t shake Mikeb302000′s faith in the idea that guns are good for guardians, not the “common man.”

If, however, an armed civilian goes off the reservation, that’s a different story. Every such incident proves that the concept of armed self-defense is fundamentally flawed. That’s because Mikeb302000 has bought the infantile lie that the world divides into good guys (the police) and bad guys (most if not all gun owners). A few bad apples on one side, or a few good ones on the other, can’t disturb his world view.

To be fair, plenty of gun rights advocates share this black-and-white perspective. The gun blogger at learnaboutguns.com never met a defensive gun use he didn’t like—despite the fact that most such incidents involve drugs. The NRA, GOA and other powerful lobby groups genuinely believe that universal gun ownership would reduce violent crime to negligible levels.

This belief that guns are good—or bad—reminds me of the idea that “good health” comes from virtuous eating and exercise habits, rather than genetics. In fact, good health is a stalemate in an ongoing (until it stops) battle between the things trying to kill you and things that stop the things trying to kill you from killing you. Personal safety? Same thing.

To be safe, we need both honest, well-trained police and easily accessible, effective personal self-defense (including firearms). Both are ideals. Neither is perfect. Generally speaking, I find more people on the pro-gun rights side of the debate understand the truth underlying this inherent imperfection: you can’t change human nature. You can’t improve it. You can barely control it. The best you can do is protect yourself against it. Sometimes, the only way you can do that is with a gun. And that’s the truth.