“Opponents of any kind of gun restrictions argue that they are meaningless, since criminals by definition don’t follow the law, and therefore won’t allow gun laws to hamstring their criminal behavior. That’s true. But gun violence isn’t only committed by classic criminals, as recent gun-related tragedies show,” Susan Milligan writes at usnews.com. “Even though there is steadily accumulating evidence of the futility of criticizing the gun culture, certain episodes prod me to go there. One of those occurred last week, when an unarmed man was shot dead after assaulting a fellow movie patron with, ah, popcorn,” Cynthia Tucker writes at jacksonsun.com. “Guns don’t kill people, popcorn kills people. Or maybe it’s texting. Or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time with some fool who thinks he needs to take a gun to the movies,” writes David Horsey at baltimoresun.com. All three writers argue that Florida’s so-called “popcorn murder” proves the need for greater gun control. It does not . . .
A man in Florida, meanwhile, shot and killed a fellow movie-goer after said viewer refused to stop texting. The annoyance of the shooter is more than understandable – and many of us might have no problem with grabbing a phone from a theater-goer, throwing it on the floor and stomping on it – but the fact that this man felt he could shoot and kill someone for behaving so boorishly is alarming. Is he a criminal?
It didn’t sound like it, based on evidence from before the shooting. In fact, he was a retired police office with a spotless record. And early reports indicate he thought he was being threatened (turns out the “threat” may have just been thrown popcorn). The point is he had a gun, had it with him in a movie theater, and could not have killed someone if he had not had the weapon with him. If people were not allowed to carry concealed weapons into the theater, this particular tragedy may not have happened.
You see what Milligan did there? “Many of us might have no problem with grabbing a phone from a theater-goer, throwing it on the floor and stomping on it,” she says. Huh? She might not have a problem with assaulting a fellow patron, stealing their personal property and destroying it maliciously, but the vast majority of Americans surely would. And that’s no small point.
Ms. Milligan wants her readers to believe that we’re all living on the edge of uncontrollable anger. Which means Americans are not – in general – emotionally stable enough to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. “If people were not allowed to carry concealed weapons into the theater, this particular tragedy may not have happened,” Milligan asserts, ignoring the fact that the Grove 16 movie theater is a “gun-free” zone. And the Aurora theater massacre.
Yes, there is that. Banning guns from cinemas to prevent shootings doesn’t work. Ipso facto. Banning guns from cinemas leaves citizens defenseless against criminals who ignore the ban. What sense does that make? You know, for a rational, emotionally stable thinker. A description that does not apply to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker.
Human beings have a limitless capacity for irrational acts, bizarre confrontations, moments of utter craziness. — and that includes those of us who are usually mature, sane and rational beings. If we allow firearms everywhere, we simply increase the odds that one of those crazy moments will result in bloodshed.
Ms. Tucker speaks for herself here. I do not have a limitless capacity for “irrational acts, bizarre confrontations, moments of utter craziness.” While I have acted irrationally and had bizarre confrontations, I’ve never experienced moments of utter craziness. Nor have I ever, at any point in my 54 years, considered using a firearm against another human being unless that human being posed an imminent credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm to myself or other innocent life.
This “self-restraint” is shared by some 150 million American gun owners. Yes, a small percentage of that total misuse firearms, sometimes with deadly results. But why should the non-violent majority of gun-owning Americans be restricted (a.k.a., punished) for the illegal acts of [a statistically insignificant number of] armed Americans who commit a criminal act or lose self-control?
Gun rights fanatics (these days there are few who are not fanatics) insist that only a few poorly trained, mentally unstable or criminally inclined gun owners give all the millions of God-fearing, Constitution-defending firearms enthusiasts a bad name. But can anyone think of a person more well-trained and responsible than a retired police captain, SWAT team leader and security guard?
Me! I can! Mr. Horsey buys into and promotes the myth that police – the armed and trained instruments of his beloved state – are the “only ones” capable of handling the life-and-death power of a firearm. In fact, police are notoriously bad at handling firearms and, as a group, more prone than the general population (and certainly concealed carry permit holders) to acts of domestic violence (for example).
If a cop – a SWAT team leader! – can lose self-control and shoot someone in a fit of popcorn-scented pique, anyone could! Or so Mr. Horsey would have his readers believe. It’s a deeply cynical point-of-view that betrays the liberal mindset: the average American is too stupid/irresponsible to exercise their freedoms. They must be regulated for their own good.
All three writers are guilty of psychological projection and political condescension. None of them understand that common sense gun control is already inside the common man. I have a sneaking suspicion none of these columnists own a firearm. Which is just as well and proves my point, not theirs.