Hook ’em horns! Or, in this case, get the hook! University of Texas Religious Studies and Anthropology Professor John Traphagan has penned an anti-gun editorial for dallasnews.com that starts with hand-wringing and proceeds straight to a clarion call for gun control. And lots of it . . .
In the past few years, Americans have witnessed shootings at a movie in Colorado, a 3-year-old shooting and killing his father in Indiana and, most recently, nine people killed in a fight among biker gangs in Waco.
Amazingly, Americans seem to see these regular incidents as normal. It’s a powerful and sad testament to how anesthetized we have become to this ongoing violence. And despite all of this violence and loss of life, many in Texas and elsewhere want to increase gun ownership and allow people to openly carry firearms.
Well, John, violent incidents involving guns are “normal.” When you have a large population whose citizens are free to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, ballistic bad things happen. Just as people who live in a society where they can purchase poisonous chemicals will experience chemical poisoning. And car owners will die and suffer horrendous injuries.
I could say something about eating deep-fried mozzarella sticks and heart disease, but I think we’re clear on the freedom > danger > personal responsibility/shit happens front. If not, let me be perfectly clear: firearms-related accidents, homicides and injuries are the price we pay for our freedom. We should do whatever we can to reduce the toll – save infringing on Americans’ gun rights.
And that’s where the Professor and his gun control compadres part company with the pro-gun side. For the antis, the ends justify the means. They believe that Americans’ gun rights should be – are – subject to arguments about social utility. Which leads to nonsense like this:
There is simply no need for a civilized society to tolerate the type of gun-related violence that Americans seem to accept as normal. Other modern industrial countries have realized, in some cases long ago, that it is unnecessary for people in a free society to have easy access to guns.
The solution to gun-related crime is not further arming the public. It involves enacting comprehensive gun control laws that prohibit many forms of gun ownership, significantly curtailing or eliminating access to and the ability to purchase guns, and implementing programs in which the government confiscates or purchases illegal guns already in circulation among the public.
Too bad Professor Traphagan didn’t spend ten minutes in a history class. Or an hour with my late father, a Holocaust survivor who could have told to the academic exactly what happens to a disarmed population. Couldn’t happen here? Tell that to Native Americans. Or our disarmed neighbors in cartel country.
I don’t think it’s going too far to suggest that the UT employee is completely divorced from reality. Any action by the government to confiscate “illegal” guns – such as attempting to remove “assault rifles” in the hands of gun owners in New York (contrary to the SAFE Act’s provisions) – is a perfect recipe for the kind of gun violence the professor professes to abhor.
In an era of extreme concern about national security, Americans need to recognize that one of the greatest threats to national security is their own heavily armed population. We need to enact legislation that will greatly reduce gun-related crimes and protect people from the dangers associated with widespread gun access and ownership. Unfortunately, our proven inability to handle widespread gun ownership suggests strongly that the way to do this is to deeply restrict access to and ownership of most types of guns.
And there I was thinking that armed Americans are one of America’s greatest protections of our national security, both in terms of terrorist attack and potential government tyranny (which I consider a threat to “national security”). But what really rankles: Professor Traphagan’s off-hand assertion that Americans have a “proven inability to handle widespread gun ownership.”
America is home to 300m guns. While Professor Bloody Shirt Waver can trumpet examples of firearms-related death and injury, you can round down to zero the percentage of gun-owning Americans who handle their guns irresponsibly. Every day of the week, and twice on Sundays, American gun owners own guns responsibly.
True to form, Professor Traphagan’s dietribe [sic] ends with a false dichotomy:
Americans should ask themselves whether they want to live in a society that is secure because everyone is ready to shoot one another or one that is secure because people have peace of mind and experience freedom from violence and the freedom to pursue their lives in safety and happiness rather than fear.
Safety without guns? Good luck with that. Besides, better you than me Professor. Not that our gun rights depend on the democratic process, but most Americans are “cold dead hands” types. Maybe even a few surveying this great country from an ivory tower.