Timothy Egan (courtesy omahatownhall.org)

At the end of a by-the-numbers anti-gun rant in the New York Times, Contributing Op-Ed editor Timothy Egan [above] asserts “As a way to make everyday life seem less frightening, the new reality [of “enforced gun free zones”] is absurd. But that’s the cost, apparently, of an extreme interpretation of a constitutional amendment designed to fend off British tyranny, a freedom that has become a tyranny in itself.” Freedom is tyranny! More importantly, did you notice that . . .

Egan states the Second Amendment of the United States Constitutional was designed to fend off British tyranny. Huh? The Second Amendment was designed to fend off American tyranny. The Amendment was enacted to ensure that the people of the United States aren’t left disarmed and defenseless against their own government. Arguably nothing more, inarguably nothing less.

It’s an astounding mistake. It reveals Egan’s profound misunderstanding of both the history and nature of American gun rights (not to mention the lack of fact-checking at The Grey Lady). But at least he brings the threat of government tyranny into the gun control equation. Most proponents of civilian disarmament make their case based entirely on social utility: the killing must stop! Something must be done! To be sure, that’s the core of Egan’s essay Guns and the Two Americas.

The waves of mass shootings continue to roll over the United States like surf on the ship of state’s prow. Every few weeks now we get hit with a jolt of cold water. We shake and shudder, and then brace ourselves for the next one.

So we beat on — a nation whose people are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of most other developed countries. The only thing extraordinary about mass shootings in America is how ordinary the killing grounds are — elementary schools, high schools, colleges, military recruitment centers, theaters, parks, churches.

Is no place safe?

Is no high-brow anti-gun polemic complete without comparing the United States’ firearms-related homicide rate to that of “developed” countries? Allegedly intellectual anti-gunners depend on this “America as outrageously armed outlier” meme to paint U.S. gun rights as an embarrassing abominable aberration on the world stage. In fact, the argument’s an indication of their collective contempt for America’s founding and ongoing belief in limited government.

Think about it. The oft-quoted stat’s veracity depends entirely on your definition of “developed.” Is Jamaica developed? Wikipedia pegs its official firearms-related homicide rate at 39.74 per 100k inhabitants (as compared to the United States’ 10.64). Is South Africa developed? They clock-in at 21.51. Brazil? 19.03. Venezuela? 50.9. Clearly, by “developed” the antis mean European countries (along with Australia and Japan). They firmly believe that “civilized” countries outgrow civilian firearms ownership.

Is it too early to evoke Godwin’s Law? Let’s set aside the fact that Germany was the dictionary definition of developed prior to World War II; a country where strict gun control enabled the systematic slaughter of six million disarmed Jews (not to mention five million more disarmed members of inconvenient political and ethnic groups). Concentrate instead on Mexico, whose official 11.7 per 100k firearms-related homicide rate tells us nothing about the slaughter of tens of thousands of unarmed civilians at the hands of both narco-terrorists and the Mexican military and police.

And what of China? While their [unreported] firearms-related homicide rate must be minuscule in relation to ours, what price do the Chinese pay for their “freedom” from the “tyranny” of gun rights? The Chinese have none of the Constitutional protections Americans enjoy. Freedom of religion? None. Freedom of speech? Nope. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? Freedom of assembly? The right to a speedy trial? No, no and no. And so on.

The antis can’t connect the dots between Americans’ gun rights and American liberty. Won’t connect the dots. Instead, they applaud those cities and states that curtail gun rights in the name of public safety. They hold them up as exemplars of what should be done to stem the tide of firearms-related homicides, to create an America as supposedly peaceful as its European allies (and Japan).

Like Egan, they cherry-pick data to point to the South – the uneducated backwards South – as proof positive that only uncouth idiots support the Constitution’s prohibition against infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.

Nationwide, if you want to lessen your chances of getting shot, stay out of the South.The South is the most violent region in the United States,and also the place with the highest rate of gun ownership. More guns, easily obtained by the mentally ill, religious fanatics and anti-government extremists, mean more gun deaths.

Better to go to a city or state with gun restrictions, at least if you’re playing the odds. Most of the states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths.

That’s one America, the slightly safer one. It includes government gun-screened zones like airports, courthouses and many high schools. But more significantly, it also covers property used by our most popular obsession, pro football — the free market at work.

The other America is an open-fire zone, backed by politicians who think it should be even more crowded with average people parading around with lethal weapons. Just after the tragedy in a Louisiana theater a week ago — a shooting by a hate-filled man who was able to legally obtain a gun despite a history of mental illness — Rick Perry called gun-free zones a bad idea.

Egan sees the same bifurcation of America that we’ve been talking about on this website for some time. Well, not exactly. Where we see America split between states that favor small government and individual liberty and those choked by high-taxation and regulation (including gun control), Egan sees America separated by states that shun “common sense” limits on liberty and states that embrace these limits in the name of public safety.

The idea that violence can and does occur everywhere – that the underlying, ever-present threat of government tyranny is both a local and a national threat – is neither here nor there. The more important point: the natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that transcends geography – as [finally] acknowledged by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald decisions.

Egan believes that “enforced gun-free zones” are “slightly safer” than places without them. The distinction between “enforced” and non-enforced zones gives Egan the space to ignore the fact that the Louisiana theater shooting occurred in a gun-free zone – as do many, if not most spree killings. His faith in pro-football’s metal detectors is (and hopefully not will be) laughable. But it shows the depth of his ignorance and self-delusion.

Egan’s ultimate delusion: that America would be better off without firearms freedom. It ignores the long and ignoble history of gun control in this country, born in post-Civil War America to deny African Americans their gun rights. Their right and ability to defend themselves against laws that left them defenseless against [what was in effect] state-sanctioned torture, rape and murder…also known as American tyranny. [h/t JP]


  1. Metal detectors: playing the “beep beep beep” soundtrack to shootings and stabbings since a long time ago.

    Unless by “enforced” he means a bunch of good guys with guns strip searching everyone who enters his little metal detector dream just makes one more bottleneck to stack up corpses if the perp doesnt want to go through and if he does want to go through there will be as many corpses as time permits while the beeping and screaming plays until the good guys arrive with their guns.

  2. Yet another tool for the corrupt and criminal.
    They love to use only “gun related” violence because wherever the law abiding are restricted from owning guns, violent crime as a whole is much higher. Chicago has among the strictest gun laws in the country yet has a murder rate nearly 5 times the national average. In fact, if one excludes the “gun free” cities from the national stats, the national murder drops by more than half.
    This mo-ron is lying by omission.
    There has never been a mass shooting at the theater I take my family to because they don’t have gun buster signs on the door. And my wife and I carry there. Better to be prepared.

    • There has never been a shooting at the theaters I go to in the Seattle-Bellevue area, even the ones with no-guns signs. But that’s because it’s a safe area without a serious crime problem. Although I suspect, given the rate of gun ownership and concealed carry licenses in Bellevue, and the fact that those signs lack the legal enforcement of a TX 30.06 sign, that there’s probably at least one armed person in the theater (I always am), and a few more when it’s at capacity.

  3. Egan states the Second Amendment of the United States Constitutional was designed to fend off British tyranny. Huh? The Second Amendment was designed to fend off American tyranny. The Amendment was enacted to ensure that the people of the United States aren’t left disarmed and defenseless against their own government. Arguably nothing more, inarguably nothing less.

    Ummm… yep. When the 2A was written, we had ALREADY defeated the British. Why would the 2A be directed at the Brits?? The stupidity is stunning.

    • I’d say that is one benefit of the second amendment: our high gun ownership rate, as well as our two large oceans, keeps anyone from invading us.

      • … From east and west.

        North and south, not so much, although tthat big desert in the south would make it harder than otherwise.

        • The SOBs that invade in a conventional warfare fashion through the Southwest would be morons. They would need large quantities of quality armor covered by a fantastic air force for cover. No one south of us has that and certainly not Mexico. I don’t count the current invasion as the same because our government isn’t even fighting back against the illegals, and is indeed welcoming them.

        • @Heartland Patriot
          ” I don’t count the current invasion as the same because our government isn’t even fighting back against the illegals, and is indeed welcoming them”

          If your name is an accurate description of your personal beliefs then you know that it is no longer OUR government, and hasn’t been since the twin towers were dropped. Lady Liberty was executed out of ill conceived national security reasons.
          Law abiding Americans are just the peasants that taxes are demanded from in exchange for government privileges.
          You quoted ‘1984’ recently, and you know that we tax payers are the outer party, who are desperately clinging on to our level of personal comfort that the state lets us pay them for.

          Cecil the Lion is this weeks 2 minute hate.

  4. He is also conflating the small number of people killed in mass shootings with those killed in the much more usual circumstances.

  5. The Chinese have none of the Constitutional protections Americans enjoy.
    Not true. The Chinese constitution, much like the Soviet constitution, guarantees the freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and a speedy fair trial. Really, both of them guarantee virtually every right that our Constitution does, except for the right to keep and bear arms.

    I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. 😉

    “Most of the states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths.”
    Wow they only had to use eight year old data to prove it. If we look at this more recent data from the FBI, we can see that of the 20 states with the lowest murder with a gun rates (all under 2.0 / 100k), only three are gun control states (HI, RI, MA), while the others are ALL very gun friendly states with (reported) ownership rates of 30%-60% and shall issue concealed carry. And most have permitless carry (either open or concealed), no registration or licensing, and no magazine capacity restrictions.
    What they all have in common is distance from the Mexican border and Caribbean (Utah is the closest), and small gang populations.
    Also, I’d say Hawaii is not a relevant comparison, because it’s an island chain, isolated from the rest of the world by thousands of miles of ocean.

    Another interesting thing that that table shows is that if we sort the states by murder rate, then by murder rates with a gun, the order doesn’t change a whole lot. It seems the murder with a gun rates are higher in states with higher murder rates, and lower in states with lower murder rates: funny how that works.

    • The USSR constitution was a model of freedom, except for the emergency powers clause which enabled the government to suspend the constitution. Which they did, all the time.

  6. The stupid is Strong in this article. Gun free zones are merely a suggestion? Well, if your a criminal. sure, The rest of us has to take it with the force of law ( states applicable). Freedom is Tyranny? What is this double bad good speak crap is that? and if you read the comments he has morons jumping to applaud him.

    I’m all for government leveling the playing field and staying out of peoples choices, but Freedom will never be about asking some one else to be responsible for your safety.

  7. ‘Nother sliding wall-turd. Looks like the anti-gun argument is still losing. Let’s kick it up a notch and really crush it. We know we are going to win, but we want to cover the points.

  8. “Nationwide, if you want to lessen your chances of getting shot, stay out of the South.”

    Please do, we don’t want your kind here.

  9. Nationwide, if you want to lessen your chances of getting shot, stay out of the South.The South is the most violent region in the United States,and also the place with the highest rate of gun ownership. More guns, easily obtained by the mentally ill, religious fanatics and anti-government extremists, mean more gun deaths.

    Better to go to a city or state with gun restrictions, at least if you’re playing the odds. Most of the states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths.
    This bonehead needs a geography lesson. He thinks Chicago, Detroit, and N.Y.C. are somewhere in the South. Must be all those Confederate flags flying in those towns.

    • Detroit is “shall issue” CCW, and not restrictive. Its problems arise from a welfare society that thinks everything it wants should be handed over, and if it takes a gun to get what is rightfully owed, well then…

  10. But that’s the cost, apparently, of an extreme interpretation of a constitutional amendment designed to fend off British tyranny, a freedom that has become a tyranny in itself.”

    We finally made it there. The 1984 reality of doublespeak. Freedom is actually… yes… Tyranny.?.

    “War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  11. “I do not, gentlemen, trust you.” Gunning Bedford, delegate to the Constitutional Convention. The delegates in Philly in 1789 knew they were going to be the ones running the country if the Articles of Confederation were to be replaced by a new Constitution. That’s why there were so many checks and balances put in the document.

  12. Better to go to a city or state with gun restrictions, at least if you’re playing the odds. Most of the states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths.

    If you want to focus on homicides, the focus should be homicides – not “gun” homicides. When people focus just on “gun” deaths – guaranteed they have a political agenda (i.e. they don’t like guns and likely have a marxist ideology).

    Egan provided a link to a map here:

    But focuses on guns only – not actual homicides. Is is because he thinks death by stabbing is better? Perhaps. More than likely, he wants to just demonize guns.

    Looking at this map from a strongly anti-gun blogger:

    …Shows that some of that story is nonsense. Look at Wyoming and Montana with low homicide rates (guns + other means). Firearms are extremely popular in Wyoming and Montana and their homicide rate is extremely low compared to many others – even NY, NJ, MD, etc. Even some of the southern states aren’t as high as the northern states (e.g. MD or PA). Guns don’t “cause” violence or crime.

    • Yes. This is the play on words the anti’s always pull. They will use “gun deaths” or “gun homicides”. They do this purposefully to inflate the numbers in the case of “gun deaths”. That’s because gun deaths include gun suicides, gun homicides (illegal and justifiable), and accidental deaths from a gun. The average reader will confuse this with gun murders.

      If you were to look at only one statistic to determine whether more restrictive or more permissive gun laws work, that statistic should be murder (not gun murder). There are two competing theories about guns: the pro-gun theory is that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens prevents and deters crime, and the anti-gun theory that the proliferation of guns leads to more crime/murders. The reason murder is the best test for these competing theories is because any effective policy should decrease murders overall, not just murders with a gun. If a policy only changes the murder rate with a gun, but leaves the over all murder rate unchanged, then it can only be concluded that the presence or deficit of firearms only affects the means by which murders are committed but does not affect the motivation nor facilitate the increase or decrease of murders by making it easier to do so.

      The following are maps I put together with murder data from this source (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state). That source references the FBI Uniform Crime Reports as it’s source. So I have some confidence that the data is accurate and not biased.

      Note in the maps that the states with significant gun control law have murder rates that span the range from low to high. However, they do no better than other states with more permissive gun laws.

      For example, Massachusetts, Rhoad Island, Hawaii, and Connecticut have low rates, but California, Illinois and Maryland have high to very high murder rates.

      Average Murder Rate (1996-2013)

      Murder Rate 1996

      Murder Rate 2013

      The following is a scatter plot of the G20 countries graphing gun ownership (per 100 persons) vs. murder rate. Note that the U.S. while having the highest gun ownership has a low murder rate.

      Gun Ownership v. Murder Rate – G20 Countries

  13. What a drama queen! His breathless whirr of conjured up melodramatic fear and horror is enough to make a 12 year old girl blush.

    “The other America is an open-fire zone” — LOL. in what world does this guy live in?

    “apparently, of an extreme interpretation of a constitutional amendment designed to fend off British tyranny” — Seriously? Dude, did you skip history class or something? The Bill of Rights was ratified well after we won the Revolutionary War, you dumb ass. What the hell are you talking about?

    “Nationwide, if you want to lessen your chances of getting shot, stay out of the South” — Uh… well, yeah, maybe YOU should stay out of the South, with that whiny drivel cry baby crap, you probably would get yourself beat up just by opening up your mouth!

    This dude needs therapy. I’m serious. He is obviously frightened by his own hoplophobic delusions so much as to blather out that childish rant. This is the definition of hoplophobia. He lives in fear of his own fear and he wishes to infect others with his petrified sickness. I bet he drives a white volvo and coddles his children like a soccer mom. What a panzy.

    • @GreatScott: Great evaluation of the author’s mindset. And all of his rant seems designed to take away more of everyone’s freedom so that he and others like him can “feel safer” . They will be no safer with more gun laws but as long as they feel that way, I suppose that is what is important.

      • Phew, yeah… talk about a breathless bout of hysterical hoplophobia. That one takes the cake… Whatever you do, no one tell him that 90+ people die in car accidents every day in the US. He might curl up under his desk and cry himself to sleep. Then pen another op-ed about how the entire US should be designated a ‘vehicle-free zone’, so he can FEEL all warm and safe and fuzzy again in his lovely blue cardigan. (before he runs home and sells his white Prius as quickly as he can). What a joke.

  14. What a laugher. Completely devoid of any truth or actual fact (but just citing unknown “statistics”). This guy is a read sad case. Hoplophobic, Geophobic, Historically-impaired. He’s probably afraid of his own shadow.

    …whatever you do, no one tell him that 90+ people died in car accidents in the US while he was writing this article. He’d probably curl up under his desk and cry himself to sleep. Then write an article about how the entire US should be declared a ‘vehicle-free zone’, so he can feel all safe and warm and fuzzy inside again.

    What a joke.

  15. Russia must not be a civilized country because it’s violent death rate is double ours. Guess he just cherry picks his countries to make his lies look more convincing.

  16. If the liberals are taught to be skeptcal of our government as the founders were there would be no liberals. They have to be taught to love government. That is why the liberals have taken over the schools. My brother in law thinks the same thing. The Bill of Rights was created because of the founders experience with the British.

  17. One important thing that should NOT be overlooked is the change in language. No longer are we talking about “mass murders”, we are talking about “mass shootings,” a change undoubtedly necessitated by the fact that the Louisiana theater shooting was not a “mass murder”, which the FBI defines as four or more killed, and which has the additional benefit of sweeping in every drive-by shooting in the US, each of which is the result not of guns but a violent gang culture that requires disrespect to be punished with blood. Still overlooked is that the average gun owner does not engage in “mass murder” or “mass shootings,” but these statistical outliers are being used as the excuse to deprive everyone of guns. Oh wait–make that “deprive every law abiding person…”

  18. I always challenge them to define what they mean when they say “developed” or “civilized” countries. I always, every time, get evasion and misdirection because they don’t want to admit that what they really mean is European and White.

  19. Holy shit dude – get a grip! You’re “terrified” of an entire half of the country? Uhhh, Geophobic much?

    So I guess the hoplophobes are through denying that their agenda is 100% civilian disarmament and are just completely out of the closet now huh? Hell, it wouldn’t have been surprising if he ended his article with “I am Cait”. Might as well get it all out now, Tim… hahahaha

  20. I bet Egan has guns, lots probably too. Hypocrisy is a trademark of the left and they fear the very people they feel sorry for

  21. … a country where strict gun control enabled the systematic slaughter of six million disarmed Jews (not to mention five million more disarmed members of inconvenient political and ethnic groups).

    That’s just the Nazi concentration camp toll. Millions more civilians were killed summarily in atrocities in the Far East, the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe, first by invading Nazis, then by Soviet Troops when “payback” came to town.

  22. I wish the libs would take this guys advice and stop moving to my state!! Liberals are like locust. They are educated by other liberals to use up all the resources building a welfare state, wonder why the economy sucks and then decide it must be the location and move to a conservative state and infect the schools so they can start the process over again.

  23. Egan took the same creative writing class I did in High School. Apparently he missed some others on critical thinking.

  24. Sooo, a safer place with really strict gun control laws….
    Hmmm, maybe Timmy should move to Chicago! Yeah that’s the ticket!
    What’s that Lassie? Timmy fell off the stupid truck?

  25. I find it funny how many supposed intellectuals can’t frame problems correctly. When looking at a problem, namely violence, you have to look at the root cause.

  26. Safety smafety. All the king’s horses and all the kings H-bombs could not stop a disgruntled Marine and his rifle in 1963 [insert conspiracy theory here]. You are all on G-d’s humor; you have been warned 🙂

  27. That sorry elitist left wing jackwagon can go screw himself. I am NOT giving up my guns. MOLON LABE, you punk.

  28. “Is no place safe?”

    Sure. Avoid “gun free zones” and your chances of being victim drop to almost nil.
    Avoid gun free zones, political rallies and drug/gang infested hellholes and your chances drop to exactly zero.

  29. You can’t understand these people, unless you understand what they REALLY believe, that will never show up in the paper articles (published online or on pulp), to wit:

    -We want all guns outlawed, period, except for double-barreled hunting/target shotguns and competition .22 rifles.
    -Who cares what the “founding fathers” said? They were all old, white, racist slave-owners.
    -Our Constitution sucks, and we need a more “modern” document.
    -You don’t really believe our government could become tyrannical in progressive times, do you? Really? Come on! Hitler? Nazis? That was, like, what, a million years ago?
    -It’s stupid for you to believe you could fight the government, even if it did become tyrannical. They’ve got the military, and they’d just blow you up and kill you all.

    Of course, there are umpteen easy, logical, responses to these silly beliefs, but you can’t really argue with these folks unless you know what they really believe. On second thought, it reminds me of a saying my wife’s dad had, “You can’t reason with an unreasonable man.” Or Shannon Watts. Wuteves.

  30. The NYT long ago lost credibility as a news organization. “Off with their heads” cries Mr Egan.

    Actually, a better meme is Mr Egan as Bubble-boy- inhabiting that shrinking, shreiking place where the “Elites Who Know Whats Best for The Little People” are stuck clapping their ears over their heads, challenged by reality…



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