Thursday, July 26, 2012

Someday Never Comes

So, the gun debate is back in the news.  Some guy went on a rampage in a movie theater.  What can we do about it?

I keep being told that in order to prevent gun-related death of all kinds, we either need more laws, stricter laws, or better enforcement of current laws.  Sounds fair.  But I can promise you that that's never going to happen, and I'll tell you why.

Let's assume it's true- that all we need are better laws.  Assume further that after these better laws are passed, gun crimes will either stop happening altogether or decrease to a frequency that we can all accept without wishing for more laws.

Notice I said after these laws are passed.  Right now is something different. Right now, millions of guns are already unregistered, untracked, and out there somewhere.  Many are already in the hands of bad (or potentially bad) people.  No matter how hard the government cracks down on guns, nothing can override the reality that they're already widely available, and have been for some time.  Arguing over who's at fault for that is useless.  That much is a done deal.

Until the day comes when the government gives us the better gun laws you might want, what are we all supposed to do?  All I can come up with is that we have to just live with the fact that we're helpless to defend ourselves against anyone who has a gun and wants to hurt people.  Sure, you could buy your own gun and carry it for self defense.  Just don't get caught with it outside your home or in any scenario where it could potentially save someone's life, because that will get you arrested and thrown into prison.*  Ironically, the people who will throw you into prison can already legally carry weapons and don't have to worry about the law.

When whatever government body you trust with your safety finally hammers out the perfect legislation, maybe things will be different.  But the perfect legislation has been on its way for decades now, and I'm starting to doubt whether it's even coming.  In the meantime, whose endlessness becomes more apparent with each shooting, don't be shocked when you see incidents like in Aurora, Columbine, and Virginia Tech.  The gun-free zones and no-carry laws might score political points with the right people, but saying, "We'll get it right next time," probably doesn't mean as much to the families of the victims of gun violence.

The lesson here is that if you depend on the government for things that are ultimately and rightfully your responsibility, it means you're rolling the dice with your own future.  In the case of safety, it both fails to protect and removes the means of doing it yourself.  If you examine the many other things that government does, you will find many similar patterns.

Of course if government is the problem, then liberty is the answer.  I know that record sounds about as broken as the one that says we need more government, but trust me, it hasn't been playing as long.  Until we can get less of the former and more of the latter, we're going to be stuck in the same situations waiting for different outcomes.  When the next shooting happens, we'll find out.

*In NJ, for instance, it is basically illegal for anyone to carry any firearm- except the police.

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