Guns, Cars and Knives: A Question of Balance

A friend of mine posted her status on FaceBook recently after having the pleasure of visiting the great city war zone that is Oakland, California. “Man! The Streets of Oakland are Mean!” Her statement is hardly unique to the east bay. Many urban areas of this country are becoming rife with gang violence, drugs and crime. On Friday, four men were killed within a span of six hours on the bright side of the bay. In a shocking development, police are reporting that the deaths were linked to feuding groups of gangs. The media dutifully report the shootings and robberies. After all, if it bleeds, it leads. But they rarely focus on the core issues behind the criminality: organized crime, drugs, and prostitution . . .

The tendency to downplay the causes — or how innocent Oaklanders can protect themselves — doesn’t help combat the “gun deaths” much less anything else. Not to be outdone, across the bay, San Francisco police arrested 26-year-old Jovan Jones. He’s being charged with a laundry list of items: burglary, robbery, making threats, rape, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. You could argue that this should have been a DGU, but San Francisco, like Oakland, is as hard a place to get a concealed carry permit as Chicago.

There are many reasons why we carry or choose to have a gun in our home. I’m obviously preaching to the choir here. The overwhelming majority of people who are gun owners are, almost by definition, helpful, peaceful, and law abiding individuals.

Anti-gun politicians love to wave the bloody shirt particularly after the most tragic deaths and the media help to fan the flames of citizen disarmament. Unfortunately no one wants to take a serious look at really eliminating violent crime in this country, never mind taking steps to allow peaceful, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. Instead, it’s easier to spend tremendous amounts of resources on making something illegal that’s easier to demonize to an uneducated public.

What happened in Connecticut was unquestionably a tragedy. But there’s not nearly the same outcry over the hundreds more who died in Chicago last year. And no one’s producing YouTube videos demanding a solution to stop the 115 men, woman and children from dying on our nations roads each day.

If we’re so upset when a head-case kills fifteen or twenty people in a theater or a school, why aren’t we even more unnerved when that many are slaughtered in one midwestern city every week? Or when almost five times that many are killed on the highways each day?

Saying we don’t need cars with 500-horse power engines that travel significantly faster than 65 miles an hour isn’t a popular issue. Guns, though, are much easier to vilify. Many people have ceased to see them as the tools they are. But along with cars and knives, all of these things can be used in a productive manner with a net positive value to society. And just like cars and knives, firearms can be used by bad people to do bad things, too. All I’m asking is, where’s the balance?