Game Over - Guns Win

December 14, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

It’s still too early to know what went on in the Newton CT elementary school shooting.  Right now, the report is that 25 are dead, at least 18 of them children. 

I’m waiting for the reaction of the “gun rights” activists – if only third grade teachers (and maybe third graders too) carried guns in class every day, lives would be saved.

They’re right.  Weaponized teachers and students might have killed the shooter before he had killed so many.

Let’s face it, the logic of the gun lobby has won – not just in court but in everyday life.  If you create a world where every person, no matter how angry or demented, can easily get a gun  it makes sense for everyone to be armed, the deadlier the weapon the better.  And we have created that world.

So spare me the “terrible, terrible tragedy” version.  How many terrible, terrible tragedies do we need before we see that starting decades ago, we began setting the stage for this drama?  Why are we surprised each month, each week, when the scenario is played out?

How did we get to this world where there are so many guns around that it’s a fairly simple matter to buy one, legally or illegally, or steal one (as in the Oregon mall shooting earlier this week). 

Blame the NRA?  I do not know the history or the research on this, but a Marxist voice in my left ear is whispering, “Follow the money.”  The NRA is merely the ideological superstructure built on the economic substructure of the the gun industry.  It’s not the NRA that produces, sells, and makes a handsome profit from the millions of guns. 

You can’t sell, of course, if nobody wants to buy.  But gun economics may be a variant of Say’s law: supply creates its own demand.  If you increase the supply  of  guns –  especially if they fall into the hands of robbers, drug, dealers, and other bad guys –  the more you will increase the demand from people who want guns for protection.  The more guns that are out there, the less effective will be any attempts to restrict them. 

There are now hundreds of millions of guns in circulation.  Even if public opinion shifted to overwhelming support for gun control, even if laws were passed, attempts keep guns out of the hands of people with bad motives would be futile.  That might have worked a few decades ago.  Not any more. 

The gun people have won.  They always knew that guns were deadly and dangerous.  That’s why they want them for protection – guns are far more effective than knives or other weapons.  The gun people have also known that a relatively few people use them to commit horrible slaughter.  But to the gun rights absolutists,  these are acceptable losses. 

If the the NRA, and other gun lovers  thought that this loss of life were not acceptable, they would have taken a different position on proposed laws.  The innocent victims are just so much  collateral damage in the noble battle for freedom (and profits). 

I wonder if the gun lovers will talk about their wonderful freedom to the parents in Newtown, Connecticut.

(An earlier post on policy and acceptable risks is here.)


Simply Aaron said...

To me it has always been the highly militarized American "gun culture" that is the problem, and not the mere proliferation of guns. A country in which a founding premise was the right to form militias, that was raised on civil war, John Wayne and Rambo. If we didn't have these concepts in our mythos we would undoubtedly have fewer guns and gun crime would probably approach our European counterparts, as they seem to be much more responsible gun owners.

...and now I wonder, has there ever been any serious study on this problem that seems to be endemic to only America among the top 30 OECD countries? Do Americans tick differently in some quantifiable social psychology test?

PCM said...

I'm sure there are some differences in our social psychology, but the real difference is nothing more than our culture of unregulated gun ownership.

Bob S. said...

Right, like the DE-institutionalization of thousands of people who needed the structure and control of a hospital didn't have an effect on violence.

Or the so called justice system that repeatedly returns violent offenders to the streets without rehabilitation.

Nope, let's just blame it on the 'gun culture' (just exactly which 'culture' do you refer to anyways?)

Never mind the fact that violent crime rates have been trending down.

Never mind the fact that death and injuries related to firearms have been trending down.

Nope, just blame it on the 'gun culture'.

I wonder if the gun lovers will talk about their wonderful freedom to the parents in Newtown, Connecticut.

Will you talk to the parents in Newtown about the freedom mentally ill people have now? How free some many violent criminals are?

Step up and look in the mirror before you blame someone else !