Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pro ‘Gun Safety’

There is a very amusing (to me at least) recent article in The Atlantic (hat-tip to Jeremy Orndorff for the article) with the following headline and subtitle:

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The Death of Gun Control
Why the recall of two Colorado legislators is a major setback for gun-safety advocates nationally

It is a complaint that the recent Colorado recall elections that removed two “gun control” politicians can’t be whitewashed into anything more than the scare-away-gun-control-votes episode that it really is.

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I especially enjoyed the phrase in the subtitle “gun-safety advocates.”  If the criminalization of gun ownership (a more accurate name for “gun control”) advocates were truly interested in gun safety, they would advocate things like gun safety classes at government schools.  I am not in favor of anything like that, for one thing because I don’t even like the idea of governments owning schools.

If you want people to be “safe” around guns, you should want to teach them how to use guns in a safe manner.  You really need both aspects – the use of guns, and the use of guns in a safe manner.

If you are around guns, it is usually for one of two reasons.  One possibility is that you like to use guns to target shoot, hunt, or other recreational purposes.  If that is the case, you want to use them safely, in much the same way that you want to use things like automobiles safely.

The other (and very unpleasant) possibility is that some very bad person has brought a gun near you to threaten you with it.  If that is the case, you want to know how to use your gun safely to ward off the attack.  In either case, gun safety is very important.  But it has nothing to do with what the people at The Atlantic are talking about – nothing whatsoever.

To those at The Atlantic “gun safety” means passing laws that criminalize the possession of guns.  It almost does not bear repeating (because it is such an obvious point that “gun safety” people just ignore) that really bad people do not care about such laws, do not follow them, and constantly shoot people anyway.  In fact, locations like Chicago, Illinois, where there are enough gun laws to make (perhaps) even the people at The Atlantic happy, has many, many more killings with guns than other locales without such laws.

The fellow who brought several guns into the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. yesterday broke all sorts of laws in the process.  For some reason, those laws kept none of his now-dead victims alive.  The same is true of every recent high-profile multiple murder using guns we have seen.  So clearly, gun-criminalization laws do not make anyone safe in regard to guns.

Points like this make no impact on most “gun safety” advocates, of course.  Some religions see reason as something opposed to faith.  To adherents of such religions, faith is necessarily logic-less.  Many advocates of “gun safety” seem to hold their views in a way similar to this.  To their minds, laws criminalizing gun possession will end gun murders and other crimes committed with the use of a gun.  The evidence does not support that view, but to them evidence really has nothing to do with it.  It is their illogical religion, and that’s all there is to it.

The Atlantic article tries to cast this whole matter in terms of political re-election strategies.  As they said of politicians, “All they'll see is a fight between Bloomberg's lofty promises and the creaky old tactics of the NRA, and the NRA won.”  As they point out, all politicians want to be re-elected.

That component can never be taken out of the equation, of course.  But perhaps more of what is going on here is that more people are beginning to understand that “gun safety” in the style of The Atlantic simply does not make sense.

Monday, September 16, 2013

No “trust and confidence” in Government

(CNSNews.com) - The “trust and confidence” the American people have in the federal government’s handling of both domestic and international problems is now at a lower level than it was even during the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974, according to Gallup polling data released last week.  (Read the whole story here.)

Kent comments:

It does not surprise me that people generally do not have “trust and confidence” in government.  I think the explanation for this is fairly simple.

I would generally not trust my dentist to repair my automobile.  I would not trust my mechanic to care for my teeth.  This does not necessarily reflect negatively on my dentist or my mechanic.  It’s just that it generally does not make sense to trust anyone, or any entity, to do something for which it was not designed.

People generally expect governments to do far too much.  When I say “too much” I mean in particular “things for which it is not competent.”  You can wish your mechanic could also fix your teeth, but that wish is irrational.

It is irrational to expect governments to do almost everything.  This tendency, in fact, is something of a theological issue.  We tend to expect governments to be omnicompetent.  But that is really not very competent of us.  In fact, it is not just stupid.  It is also a bit idolatrous.  Yet we often exhibit this weird tendency to wishfully think governments can everything for us, all the while (at least in more sober moments) realizing that this is a false hope.

Think of all the things most of us want governments to do.  No, wait – that would take too long.  Instead, try to think of something we don’t want governments to do.  Slim list, isn’t it?

I know many think this is related to Barack Obama’s somewhat fading hyper-popularity.  That could be part of it.

But most of this attitude stems from the fact that asking governments to take care of all our problems is something like asking your auto mechanic to clean your teeth.  No matter how nice a guy he might be, you are going to be disappointed.