Intellectuals love to tell people that things are complicated. Well duh. If things are complicated you have to be really smart and spend a lot of time thinking about them to figure them out. Like . . . an intellectual. The converse is also true (for them). If you’re not an intellectual then your opinions aren’t as valuable because you haven’t thought things through. In other words, you’re stupid. And lazy. So if you ever wondered why intellectuals tend to be arrogant and condescending, there you go. This also explains why so many intellectuals are pro-gun control: the absolute right to keep and bear arms strikes them as simplistic twaddle. Just ask Joel Waldron . . .
Waldron [above center] recently caught heat for Facebooking the propostion that “If Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (of the Columbine massacre) only had a fork and a pencil, many people would be alive right now that are dead, and a lot less anguish would have been visited on the slaughtered victims’ families.”
According to Waldron, readers misunderstood his comment. He wasn’t arguing for gun control. He was rejecting bumper sticker politics, championing the need for a more intellectual approach to gun rights and other politically contentious issues. Writing at meridenpatch.com, Mr. Waldron wants you to know that “It’s Never as Simple as Just ‘For or Against‘”.
To prove his point, Waldron tackles the big one: “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
So I tried my experiment with a person instead of a gun. I put a person at the table and watched as many more people walked by. Again, no one died. So the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” side must be wrong! But that’s where the simplicity ends.
Next, I put a very angry person, or a person with issues, or maybe even a deranged person at the table and watched again. In the most extreme cases, this person actually got up and strangled a person or two, and then got tackled and stopped. Or maybe they had a pencil or a fork and stabbed several people and then they got tackled and subdued. (By the way, most of the people who were stabbed survived their wounds.)
One last variation of the experiment. I put a gun at the table with the angry/deranged person and things really started to get interesting. In most cases, nothing happened. But in some cases, lots of people died. And how many people died seemed to be in direct proportion to the type of gun I put on the table. Put a revolver at the table and six or so people died. Maybe one or two survived their wounds. Put a shotgun at the table with lots of ammo, and lots of people died. Few survived their wounds. Put a machine gun at the table and a whole lot of people died.
So what did I discover through my experiment?
1) Guns sitting by themselves don’t kill people.
2) People without guns have a very limited ability to kill people. Usually just one or two at a time. No mass killings. Few indiscriminate killings.
3) With a gun, any fool can kill lots of people, and they are very hard to stop until they run out of ammo. And the “bigger” the gun, the more damage they can cause until they can be stopped. You don’t see many “drive by clubbings”.
Ironic isn’t it? Waldron’s condemning pro gun rights folk for being simple-minded by using simple-minded sophistry. Gun control = less guns = less violence. Less violent violence. This is exactly the kind of non-thinking analysis that sustains gun control advocates. And it’s patently untrue.
First, it’s important to note that violent criminals and/or mentally disturbed people don’t wield pencils or forks. When they don’t have access to firearms—whether through gun control, market forces or incarceration—they choose other lethal weapons. As Ralph points out in a comment below . . .
Waldron’s assertion that a bad guy with a knife will jack up a couple of people before he’s subdued is silly. Mamoru Takuma killed eight children and wounded 15 with a kitchen knife. Tomohiro Katō killed seven and injured ten with a knife and his truck. Maksim Gelman killed four with his knife and wasn’t “subdued” for a full day.
Like so many gun grabbers attempting to claim the “middle ground,” Waldron does so with only a rudimentary understanding of firearms. What does he mean by “bigger” gun? Higher caliber? More capacity? Full vs. semi-automatic? All of the above? The FBI’s 1993 Supplemental Homicide Report concluded that 57 percent of all murders were committed with handguns, three percent with rifles, five percent with shotguns.
Waldron’s thought experiment ignores non-firearm-specific tactical issues of accuracy, training or reloading. The Virginia Tech spree killer’s gun wasn’t high capacity. Nor was the Luby’s killer. Both men reloaded. Both men committed suicide before they ran out of bullets.
Waldron also ignores alternative methods of mass murder, from set fires to fertilizer bombs. More to the point, Waldron assumes that there would be no resistance from the intended victim. Whose best defense against ANY of Waldron theoretical scenarios would be . . . a firearm.
By focusing on one crazy or criminal person’s access to a specific type of offensive weapons Waldron’s experiment also ignores the fact that there is a society. The fight for gun rights is a fight to create and maintain a free and just society. While firearms are useful for personal protection against criminals and lunatics, they also protect the citizen’s ability to protect themselves from oppressive and tyrannical regimes.
As today’s post on armed robberies in Melbourne shows, as the ongoing horror in Mexico illustrates, even the most stringent gun control laws can’t eliminate guns; they can only limit access to the criminal class and the state. Again, still, the result is not pretty. On a scale that Waldron simply can’t imagine. Or remember. Or see.
The idea that gun control makes for a less dangerous society is laughable. That said, gun control advocates’ anti-intellectual intellectual snobbery is a dangerous business. It leads to gun control. Like many of you, I am four-square against gun control for one simple reason: it doesn’t work. Preventing law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms doesn’t reduce crime or prevent mass murder. Never has. Never will.
Quite the opposite in true. Gun control increases crime and enables violence and mass murder.
It’s no surprise that those who refuse to see the truth about guns take refuge from reality in an intellectually dishonest proposition: all truth is relative. Adhering to The Mother of All Nyah Nyahs has a side benefit for its proponents: it makes all those who “cling” to the truth into extremists.
There will always be the Jack the Rippers and the Jeffery Dahmers in the world who will kill people. There’s no stopping that. But if these guys and those like them have guns, they will do more damage. It’s not about “guns for everyone” or “guns for none.” Let’s get away from those polarities and talk about the real world.
See what I mean?