Tish Durkin admits to having some rather oddly passionate views about firearms (including the acknowledgment that she "just about throws up" when she sees a pistol on TV--sounds like a medical condition, if you ask me), and this, apparently, is why gun laws in the U.S. should be made much more draconian than they are already, according to her blog in the Huff 'n' Puff Post.
Frankly, I don't care whether Virginia's lax gun laws were entirely, partly, somewhat or not at all responsible for the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech. I wanted much stricter gun control before that catastrophe happened, I wanted much stricter gun control during the whole media circus that went to Blacksburg after it happened, and I want much stricter gun control now that we are all on our customary way to forgetting, till the next time, that it happened.It's refreshing to see that she confesses to not being able to promise that more restrictive gun laws would reduce violence--but, unfortunately, she doesn't care whether it would help or not. She wants the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms to be transformed into a grudgingly granted privilege. Actually, she goes still farther in admitting that the utility of restrictive gun laws in reducing violence is a far from sure thing.
. . . Seung-Hui Cho may well have been able to do even greater harm even more quickly had he, say, built a bomb. That goes for all kinds of crazy people hell-bent on doing all kinds of crazy things, from the 9/11 attacks to the Oklahoma City bombing to, for that matter, the teenager here in Ireland who just got manslaughter for hammering his sister to death. It is true that it takes all kinds of other factors, such as serious mental illness, to transform a gun from a neutral piece of metal to a lethal weapon. It is true -- or at least it seems true to my admittedly non-expert eye -- that worldwide, there is no infallible corollary between high rates of gun regulation and low rates of gun murder; many independent sources note that in Britain, for instance, the 1997 imposition of a total handgun ban has done nothing to curb that country's long-term acceleration in the rate of gun-related crimes. It is true that, without benefit of anything like the gun control measures that I'd like to see, violent crime in America began a marked and sustained decline in the mid-1990's.So how can she acknowledge the paucity of evidence supporting the efficacy of restrictive gun laws in reducing violence, while still calling for the addition of yet more laws to the 20,000 plus already on the books? By shifting the burden of proof from those who claim more legislation is the answer for reducing violence--by forcing gun rights advocates to prove that restrictive gun laws would not help.
Frankly, the whole issue of whether or not more onerous restrictions would reduce violence is beside the point--the real point is that this is a right she seeks to curtail. Even if she had her proof that restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms would save thousands of lives per year (something that I contend will never be proven, because it is not true), she would be arguing for the exchange of liberty for safety--and there are still, blessedly, many Americans who are utterly unwilling to make such an exchange.
Actually, she doesn't quite ignore the rights based argument:
I know, I know: for many gun lobbyists, this whole issue is not about the literal need to curb deaths. It's about the philosophical right to bear arms. Lord knows we could spend our lives in the quicksand of fighting over the meaning of the Second Amendment: does it apply only to the "well-regulated militia" or to the barely-regulated individual, blah blah blah?"Blah, blah, blah," eh? I gather she doesn't have a lot of respect for that point of view.
According to this thinking, which was very authoritatively voiced on talk radio in the wake of Virginia Tech, a big reason that Americans need the right to bear arms is so that we can defend ourselves, should the need arise, from the American government, just as our colonial forbears did against their British overlords.Perhaps, Tish, you would be willing to explain to the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan that fighting the U.S. military with only small arms cannot be done. Perhaps you would like to explain that to the families of the thousands of troops who have died fighting these insurgencies. Then, perhaps you might ask yourself how much more difficult counter-insurgency operations would be when the "enemy" is the soldiers' own countrymen. You might even take a minute to consider the fact that the people who would be sending those troops live right here in the U.S., among the very population from which the insurgency would spring (and back into which it could fade at will). Finally, perhaps you would consider the question of if small arms are of so little utility in a serious conflict, why does every military in the world issue so many of them?
Huh? I truly hate to be dismissive of those with whom I disagree, but this just strikes me as straitjacket wackola. But maybe I'm the crazy one. I shall keep an open mind. Could someone please explain how, in the event that the U.S. government turns on us, we will be able to fight back with our handguns - or even arsenal of handguns, and rifles, and machine guns, and whatever else we may have stockpiled in the garage? I mean, don't they have tanks and rockets and stuff? Or does the Constitution enshrine a right to bear nuclear arms? In which case, can I get those online?
Send whatever forces you think could be mustered to implement a civilian disarmament plan, and see how many deaths result from that little endeavor--still think civilian disarmament saves lives?
Molon labe, Tish.