Back in May, after the Navy Yard spree killing, Mark O’Mara came out for “reasonable restrictions” on gun ownership. The man who successfully defended George Zimmerman against Second Degree murder charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin asserted that the Second Amendment “can survive modification and restriction without the fear that it will vanish altogether.” Without these infringements, the 2A will “buckle under the weight of thoughtful opposition.” Well, it didn’t buckle then. And it ain’t gona buckle it now. Never mind. O’Mara’s recycled his [increasingly fatalistic] kill-it-to-save-it meme to mark the aftermath of the Oregon high school shooting . . .
Gun debate? What gun debate? Americans seem to have this settled.
Yes, we witnessed on our TV screens this week yet another parade of children being evacuated from their school — this time in Oregon — their arms held high to show they were not armed as they fled a 15-year-old shooter who police said took the life of their 14-year-old classmate.
But Americans, ever more desensitized to the school/mall/navy yard attacks that come, weekly, into their lives, don’t seem to want to talk about a gun problem. Americans remain pleased for the general population — even 15-year-old kids — to have nearly unfettered access to all manner of firearms, including assault rifles. Even the President seems to have acquiesced. A tweet from @WhiteHouse: “‘If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change.’ — President Obama on legislation to prevent gun violence.”
Americans do not have anything like “unfettered access” to “all manner of firearms” including “assault rifles.” Americans have restricted, government-monitored access to guns, with various local, state and federal agencies playing unconstitutional gatekeeper to their natural and civil right to keep and bear arms. By the same token, most American do not have access to assault rifles (properly defined). They have access to semi-automatic rifles. In some states. In some states, the firearms are banned.
Of course, I know what O’Mara means. He’s saying Americans have too much access to firearms as it is currently stands. I’m also aware that O’Mara is sneaking in the idea – slur, really – that most Americans are happy for 15-year-old kids to have “unfettered access” to AR-15-style rifles. Which is also false. Even the most ardent gun rights supporters believe that teenagers should only be given access to these rifles with proper adult training and supervision.
And no one is arguing that Jared Michael Padgett, the Oregon high school killer, should’ve had “unfettered access” to his parents’ guns. Which, by the way, the police deemed properly “secured” (right until they weren’t). But that’s how gun control advocates work: they set-up straw man arguments so they can burn them down. Otherwise, they’d have to deal with the facts of the matter. And any good lawyer knows if you don’t have the facts, you argue the law.
What this means is that we’ve accepted school shootings and other random mass shootings as a normal part of life in America, no matter how they affect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that was first announced in the Declaration of Independence, some 13 years before our oft-quoted Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
O’Mara is using a classic gun control ruse: declaring that the Declaration of Independence is the law of the land. Never mind gun rights, what about the victim’s right to life? In fact (there’s that word again) the Declaration is a declaration of principles. It has no force of law. Americans have no legal right to life or the pursuit of happiness. What they have is the aforementioned Constitution, which declares that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
You know what’s coming next: if you have neither the facts nor the law, you pound the table. Or, in this case, wave the bloody shirt.
I guess that’s not surprising: We accept collateral damage for other privileges we enjoy. We tolerate a certain number of drunk driving deaths, more than 10,000 in 2012, and there’s little public outcry for greater restrictions. We’ve been willing to sacrifice nearly 7,000 soldiers (and tens of thousands wounded) in two wars to maintain our political influence in the Middle East. About 400 children drown each year in pools and spas, but we’re not scrambling to outlaw summer fun.
Why should guns be any different? In the United States only about 10 people out of every 100,000 are killed by guns, or a little more than 30,000 per year (As a reference, we lost about 60,000 soldiers in the Vietnam War).
This is clearly an acceptable sacrifice to make to maintain our sacred, un-infringed right to bear arms, no?
Setting aside that half of those 30k people “killed by guns” are suicides, O’Mara is attempting to elicit an emotional response with a statistical litany. In so doing, he inadvertently touches on the truth. I hate to say it (as in give comfort to the enemy) but yes, there is an acceptable level of sacrifice to maintain our sacred, un-infringed right to bear arms.
Every firearms-related death is regrettable. But a large portion of the total is inevitable. When you have a society of freely armed men and women there will be firearms-related deaths. In the exact same sense that conducting military operations will result in fatalities. And “allowing” Americans the “right” to own pools will result in a certain number – small percentage-wise, but tragic nonetheless – of accidental deaths.
The sacrifice is clearly not clearly acceptable to gun control advocates. Hence their rallying cry for every new gun rights infringement “If it saves ONE child . . .” O’Mara’s question mark indicates he shares the antis’ opinion on the subject of unacceptable loss. Not to mention his [willful?] ignorance of John Lott’s seminal work More Guns, Less Crime. Or the simple fact that armed school resource officers ended Padgett’s attack.
Oh, I’m sorry. Like so many gun control advocates, O’Mara sees no contradiction between an armed government ruling over a disarmed populace. Luckily, gun rights advocates do.
After all, I’ve been told by some gun-rights advocates that reasonable restrictions on gun ownership will undoubtedly send us down a slippery slope to the abolition of all guns in America. And if we didn’t have unfettered access to guns, think about what would happen: We would be overrun by a foreign power; our government would assume totalitarian control and burn the Constitution; and criminal gangs, the only people left with guns, would run roughshod over all law-abiding citizens.
If you suggest, as I have, that we should place reasonable restrictions on guns, then you are clearly a delusional or ignorant pacifist who has been dropped on his head. What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you understand? they ask. (For the record, I’m a responsible gun owner.)
Normally, gun control advocates twist and distort the pro-gun side’s logic. In this case, O’Mara plays it straight. Which forces him to ignore the argument presented to launch an ad hominem attack on himself, supposedly echoing the pro-gun side’s attack. The net effect is an own-goal. To the point where O’Mara has to defend himself from himself. (You might say that this strategy involves a fair amount of self-loathing but I couldn’t possibly comment.)
Reasonable restrictions on guns will not lead to totalitarianism and anarchy. Suffering 30,000 gun deaths annually is not a reasonable sacrifice to make in order to blindly maintain our unrestricted gun culture, particularly when the rallying cry is an outdated reference concerning infringement which, known to anyone who has actually studied the Constitution and our founding fathers who drafted it, was a reference to the then-existing reality that young men, when called upon to defend the state and the laws of the state, were expected to provide their own arms.
Reasonable restrictions on guns will not lead to totalitarianism and anarchy because . . . I say so? Because it won’t? O’Mara’s unsubstantiated statement reveals his hubris. Intellectual laziness? No matter. History proves that O’Mara is dead wrong. Again. The facts simply don’t back-up his argument. So he goes back to ignoring the facts to argue the law.
I guess O’Mara has no time for scholarly studies that establish the fact (last time I swear) that the Founding Fathers enacted the Second Amendment to protect Americans’ individual right to keep and bear arms. Nor does he have any truck with the simple idea that all the rights in the Bill of Rights are individual rights. Or the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald ruling which establish the individual right to keep and bear arms as “settled law.”
Nope. ‘Cause he, Mark O’Mara, has “actually studied the Constitution and our founding fathers who drafted it.” Yup, it’s that pesky hubris again. With more than a soupçon of self-righteous condescension. Not like we’ve seen that before – from every gun control advocate attempting to justify their disarmament dream. Right. Back to pounding the table.
Listen, reasonable restrictions are necessary to assure the continued viability of our Second Amendment rights, and to curb the unnecessary bloodshed caused by the proliferation of guns into hands of irresponsible people who care little about constitutional rights, and less about the sanctity of life. Like that of a boy in Oregon, who was shot dead.
Listen (you knuckleheads), as I said before, we need to destroy the Second Amendment to save it. And curb the unnecessary bloodshed that’s unnecessary because we can have our Second Amendment and not have it at the same time. Look at that baby!
You’d think that a man who helped a client stay out of jail for exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms would support that right without equivocation. If so, you’d think wrong. Listen, we can’t all be Neville Chamberlain. Unfortunately, some of us can. And that settles that.