Armed cit­i­zens are best way to stop mass killings

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I have been pon­der­ing the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent edi­to­ri­als in­volv­ing guns, fear, and vi­o­lence. Back on June 15, af­ter the Or­lando shoot­ings, the first ed­i­to­rial de­cried rush­ing to judg­ment and opin­ion, and then pre­sented two ex­am­ple ar­gu­ments, the first of which was to “throw more guns into the hands of cit­i­zens so they can bet­ter pro­tect them­selves from those who in­tend to do them harm.”

The phrase, “throw more guns” is oddly pe­jo­ra­tive, and seems cho­sen to make what fol­lowed it seem ir­ra­tional. A few sen­tences later, the ed­i­to­rial says of mass killings that “No one can present a ra­tio­nal op­tion for how to pre­vent them.” The ed­i­to­rial seems to be claim­ing that armed cit­i­zens are not a ra­tio­nal op­tion for pre­vent­ing mass killings. This claim de­serves scru­tiny.

The Sec­ond Amend­ment de­scribes an in­di­vid­ual right to keep and bear arms. This clearly means we have the right to own guns and carry them around with us. Is our own con­sti­tu­tion no longer “ra­tio­nal”? 99.999 per­cent of us are not bear­ing arms. Only the po­lice are. Since we are not fol­low­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, we can’t say it isn’t work­ing or that it wouldn’t be a ra­tio­nal op­tion.

An­other pop­u­lar phrase is “com­mon sense” gun laws. Isn’t obey­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion “com­mon sense?” The bur­den of proof lies with those who op­pose armed cit­i­zens, and that bur­den has never been met. In fact, events re­peat­edly prove that mass killings are con­tin­u­ing to hap­pen in a so­ci­ety where hardly any civil­ians are car­ry­ing guns in pub­lic.

Since June, at­tacks have oc­curred in other na­tions with no right to keep and bear arms. One mass killing in France used guns, an­other used a truck, and a Ja­panese at­tacker killed 19 peo­ple with a knife. The take­away? In sup­pos­edly dis­armed so­ci­eties, at­tack­ers got guns any­way and used other means too. All mass killings have one thing in com­mon — no armed cit­i­zens were present

Gun con­trol pro­po­nents like to point to lower rates of gun crime in some other coun­tries. But, a per­son hacked to death or run over by a truck is just as dead as one who is shot. We don’t know how many crimes are pre­vented by guns, be­cause the po­lice are rarely told in such cases. We do know that 7 of 11 states with the low­est mur­der rates are graded “D” or lower by the Brady cam­paign.

Emo­tional lan­guage, like “The vi­o­lence must end” (July 15 ed­i­to­rial), won’t help. Vi­o­lence will never end. Thank God our con­sti­tu­tion was not writ­ten by emo­tional men wring­ing their hands and jock­ey­ing for par­ti­san ad­van­tage over ev­ery news story. They knew that vi­o­lence will al­ways ex­ist, but the best way to se­cu­rity was to en­sure that all cit­i­zens had the right to arms.

Some founders had slaves — a fact used to dis­credit them when po­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient. But we rarely hear calls for weak­en­ing free­dom of speech, assem­bly, and due process. The In­de­pen­dent said on July 29 that we shouldn’t “give in to fear” and weaken the Fourth Amend­ment, as has been done in our “failed war on drugs.” True, but that also ap­plies to gut­ting the Sec­ond Amend­ment in our failed “war on guns.”

We also hear that the Sec­ond Amend­ment is “out­dated.” Non­sense. There is noth­ing ir­ra­tional or out­dated about it, and there’s no “com­mon sense” in weak­en­ing it. We need the Sec­ond Amend­ment now — all of it. There is no other way to pre­vent mass killings. The po­lice sim­ply can­not be ev­ery­where, and they must re­learn how to co-ex­ist with armed civil­ians as they did in the past.

Tom deSabla, La Plata

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