Introduction to the Gun Control Issue
By Jim Vanne
The horrific Colorado and Connecticut shootings are still being processed, as I write these words, into the collective conscience of America. Once this is over, however, there will be time for reflection on what has caused tragedies such as these. Here are some preliminary thoughts that may be worth reflecting on in the months ahead.
Is it guns, or people, that kill? As the old saying goes, Teddy Kennedy’s cars have killed more people than all the guns of 99.999% of all gun owners in America. This true around the world.
My brother lived in ultra-safe Switzerland for years. Why is Switzerland so safe? Is it because guns are outlawed? Hardly. Wikipedia notes:
“If you were a Swiss man, you would be a soldier as well. Every able-bodied Swiss man must go to the army in Switzerland for 90 days (Rekrutenschule-Ecole de recrue) and then every 2 years until the age of 42, he must return for practice for 19 days. This allows the government to raise an army of 400,000 men, fully armed, within 24 hours, as every soldier has an assault gun in his house, complete with ammunition. Each individual is required to keep his army issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm SIG 550 rifle for enlisted personnel or the SIG 510 rifle and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56/48 rounds 9mm).”
Switzerland has three times the gun ownership as, for example, Germany and also had a much lower murder rate. Statistics like this are true throughout the world.
Indeed, Thomas Sowell notes countries with stronger gun control laws than the US, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico (Mexico basically bans firearms completely, yet has a higher gun homicide rate than the US), have much higher murder rates, while there are many countries with high rates of gun ownership, but low murder rates, such as Israel, New Zealand and Finland. In fact, in Mexico, the murder rate is 22.7 murders per 100,000, whereas the global average is ~7 homicides per 100,000, and the gun happy US is 4.8 murders per 100,000.
That is correct; the US, which has the widest gun ownership in the world, is below the worldwide average in homicides. Of course, in the US, approximately 90 million legal owners of guns, owing 300 million firearms, murdered zero people last year. Contrast that with the approximately 170 million Prof. R.J. Rummel of Univ. of Hawaii, in his book Death by Government, says were killed in the last century, the majority of them after their governments disarmed them (Stéphane Courtois, author of the highly regarded Black Book of Communism estimates 94 million were murdered by Communists alone)
Perhaps one might wish to contrast this to the 32,000 people who lost their lives, including thousands of youth, in car accidents last year. For those of you who correctly answered the “cars are necessary, but guns are not” objection, a gold star, for indeed you are correct. An armed population, as the Founding Fathers repeatedly noted, is the sine qua non of a free country and a free population. “Free” as in, as historical records show, comparison to a country like the USSR, Cuba or China that end up murdering millions, including children (just Google “Ukrainian Kulak” and look at the photos of millions of children who were murdered by Stalin’s government. As the saying goes, “Free men have guns; slaves do not.”
A 2000 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms revealed that 47% of guns used for crime are obtained via a straw purchase, while another 26% are stolen. How effective is firearms control in practice? In gun-control happy Chicago, which has banned guns for all practical purposes, the city has become the leading city for gun murders in the world. 2012 ended with around 500 murders in the city, 60 of which were children! In fact, “gun free” Chicago had more murders than the entire nation of Japan in 2012 and, as of April 2013, was averaging one shooting every 6.3 hours. Socialism will do that for you!
For comparison, drug war ridden Mexico City has 8.0 murders a year per 100,000 population, Moscow 9.6, Sao Paolo 15.6 and Chicago 19.4. Similarly, Washington DC, which has banned concealed carry since 1975, has one of the highest rates of murder in the U.S. One might also have the temerity to ask why there are no theatre, mall or school shootings in Israel, where a goodly percentage of the population is armed, including fully automatic weapons.
Let’s examine Chicago and a similar size city, Houston, which has concealed carry. How do they compare?
Presumably the leftist conclusion from the above is that cold weather causes shootings! Am I exaggerating? There is a woman on a university campus, circulating a petition to have pressure cookers banned, because they cause bombings.
As a matter of fact, Dr. John Lott spoke on the Piers Morgan show shortly after the Connecticut school shooting and noted that since 1950, in almost every public mass shooting in which three or more people died, it was in a setting where guns are banned, such as schools. Of course, relative to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Connecticut had already banned "assault weapons" and the Newtown school was already a gun free zone. There also is already a total ban on guns in the possession of mentally unstable in Connecticut. (A lot of good that did.) If the shooter didn’t get it from his mother in this case, do you really think he wouldn’t have gone to the black market to get one, or turned to other tools, such as the bombs the leftist Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh used? Were people any less dead because those two men used bombs instead of guns?
On a personal level, when I was a student teacher in Illinois, a young high school student set a bomb right outside my classroom. It was found before it went off, but could have killed many students. Are we next going to ban intelligence, so that people can’t make bombs out of various materials? As a matter of fact, perhaps we have already banned intelligence, or at least wisdom, from our schools. However, that is a story for another day, along with some enterprising researcher conducting a study correlating the number of school shootings with the number of teachers having sex with their students.
Meanwhile, hidden from public view by a leftist media, school shootings are indeed occurring in countries with strict gun control. Former psychology professor and Army Ranger Lt. Col. David Grossman noted in Dec., 2012, on his Facebook site, that gun control poster child Germany has had two mass murders in their high schools that had body counts surpassing those at Columbine, while Dunblain, Scotland had a massacre in a kindergarten class. Just down the road from where I used to live in Alberta, Canada, the town of Taber experienced a school massacre. Handguns, of course, are outlawed in Canada. Finland has had three school massacres and there was the Anders Breivik massacre in Norway, which also has restrictions on gun ownership.
If it isn’t guns, it’s knives. Grossman notes in gunless Belgium a sicko dressed as the Joker from Batman got into a day care centre and hacked a dozen babies in their cribs. Two babies were killed, as well as one daycare worker. If leftists want schools and other areas as “gun free zones,” perhaps we should make those who created gun free zones liable for the murders that occur there? At the same time, may we ask why government buildings in Washington DC are “gun free zones”? Or is it that the “let them eat cake” ruling class gets armed security everywhere they go in the town, while the rest of us poor, unwashed masses have to trust our safety to luck?
The top ten school massacres are listed here: http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/ The worst school massacre in history was the Beslan school massacre in Russia, with 386 dead and over 700 injured by Chechen militants.
In the US, one of the first US school massacres occurred, as Mark Steyn notes, on 25 July 1764, when "Four Lenape Indians walked into a one-room schoolhouse in colonial Pennsylvania and killed Enoch Brown and ten of his pupils. One child survived, scalped and demented to the end of his days.” (No assault rifles were used in this attack.)
The worst massacre in a US school occurred May 18, 1927, in Bath, Michigan, when school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe used a bomb to blow up the Bath Consolidated School, killing 44 people, including 38 children. Again, to the chagrin of the left, no assault weapon was used.
Note comments from the left that masquerade as “fact,” such as Bill Clinton's post-Sandy Hook statement that, “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005. Half of all of them in the history of the country”
This is not even close to reality. What are the actual facts? Grant Duwe, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections did the research in his 2007 book Mass Murder in the United States, a History Here is a summary of what Duwe found:
Data from official police reports to the FBI shows mass shootings in the US over the past 30 years have not increased. In the past 100 years, there have been 156 mass killings where at least four people were killed publicly with a firearm in less than 24 hours, where the killings did not include robbery, drugs or gangs. As of Jan., 2013, there have been 32 mass public shootings since Clinton’s assault weapons ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004, with seven in 2012. Here is the tally by decade:
On the other side of the school shooter equation, in 2008, the isolated Harrold Independent School District in Texas, noting the damage done in the Columbine shootings, among others, decided the 20 minutes it could take police to arrive could lead to a horrific disaster, trained school staff were allowed to carry firearms in school. The result? Dead students? Mayhem? Actually, nothing happened, except a safe school. School district superintendent David Thweatt simply stated “We’re the first responders. We have to be. We don’t have five minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell if the school was attacked.
Evan Todd, who was shot and wounded at the Columbine massacre, makes this exact point (and a few more) in his open letter to President Obama of Feb., 2013. Interestingly, the well-known reporter Cal Thomas, after researching the Sandy Hook attack, reported that Adam Lanza had researched which school to attack, and from the information available, chose Sandy Hook as he felt it was a clearly “soft” target.
Lurking behind the school shooting question is the issue of “never let a crisis go to waste,” per Rahm Emmanuel. Is it really guns, or is it rather the gun grabber agenda that is in the dock here? If the former, why no comment from the leftist media that every month after the Sandy Hook shooting, on average, 40 juveniles will be murdered with something other than a rifle? Or doesn’t that meet with the agenda du jour? Finally, if gun grabbers are so “concerned for the kids,” why then this story that came out just after Sandy Hook:
“Amid all the hubbub surrounding Sen. Dianne Feinstein's 'assault weapons' ban, there are still everyday stories of average law-abiding citizens using firearms to defend themselves and others from evil or serious harm. An 11-year-old boy was riding his bike in a Washington, DC, neighborhood when he came upon three pit bulls. The dogs pounced, mauling the boy. Fortunately, a neighbor saw what was happening, grabbed his handgun and rushed out to shoot one of the pit bulls. A DC police officer patrolling nearby on a bicycle heard the shot, and came to the boy's aid as well, shooting the other two pit bulls. The boy's injuries were severe, but he will survive, thanks to the quick action of this neighbor. However, the hero is under investigation for violating local gun laws -- discharging his weapon while not on his own property. No word yet on whether charges will be filed, but DC's gun laws are what put children at risk.”
This story clearly illustrates that, for many on the left, it is not about the kids. It is about their agenda.
Copyright 2013 by Jim Vanne and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.