Archive for Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Opinion: Altering gun laws offers some control

December 30, 2015

Advertisement

What made a young couple walk into a health facility and start shooting people? It wasn’t our gun laws. It wasn’t the easy ability to purchase a weapon in this country.

If such things made people killers, all Americans would be killers. In that narrow way, gun advocates who bristle at any change after the San Bernardino, Calif., killings are right.

No one makes you pull a trigger.

But if you stop the argument there, you’re being naive — as naive as saying no one makes you abuse drugs, no one forces you to drink and drive, no one tells you to give your money to phony investment advisors. Yet we have laws regarding all those things.

Laws, smartly written, address the dangers facing a society. The item in question should be less important than the threat.

But our biggest gun law was written 224 years ago, and it remains mostly about that — guns, and the ownership of them. It’s not about bad behavior, murderous thoughts or anything else that guns frequently exacerbate. We have been arguing over this law, the Second Amendment, for centuries.

But we don’t touch it. Because it’s part of our Constitution. Because it’s cherished by many. And because, supporters argue, it’s not the law that makes people put on vests, drop their baby at a relative’s house, then go on a mass murder spree and die.

That’s a sick mind.

And you can’t legislate against a sick mind.

Following the San Bernardino shooting, the New York Times ran its first front page editorial in nearly 100 years. It called for the end of the “gun epidemic.” The New York Daily News, in criticizing lawmakers who offered prayers for victims but no new legislation, ran the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.”

Naturally, both papers were buried in insults, dismissed as “typical liberals,” and argued against with an avalanche of selected facts and figures that make the case for doing nothing — or for arming more Americans, not fewer. President Barack Obama, calling for tougher gun laws, was shouted down by a well-practiced chorus of critics, who cynically noted, “How’s it working for Paris?”

But being loud and being right are two different things. It’s always easier to scream against change than to create it. Especially since what change would be 100 percent effective? If we banned every gun in the country, some criminals would still get their hands on them, or use bombs instead, etc.

But is that a reason to watch the next whacked-out fundamentalist go freely into a U.S. gun shop, legally purchase guns designed for quick, multiple killings, then use them on fellow citizens to go out in a blaze of infamy?

Because you know it will happen again.

I don’t have a fast answer for this. Nor do I have the energy or stomach to argue with hate-spewing people who are so mesmerized by gun possession they won’t budge an inch. It’s pointless.

But I do take issue with those who refuse to accept that mass killings with assault weapons fall under the same category as a hunter wanting to go after ducks. Yes, we have had guns in this country since its inception, but we have not had other things: a media that sensationalizes violence on a global scale, a population that feels alienated, video entertainment that numbs you to murder and an Internet that can connect all these elements with warped minds that see death as a badge of honor.

I’m pretty sure if America in 1791 had IEDs, jihads and YouTube, our Second Amendment wouldn’t read the way it does. But we cling to words written 224 years ago in a world that changes by the blink. This fact remains: People without a previous criminal history can make their first bad deed a doozy with legally purchased American guns, and killing them once they do only speeds up what many of them hope for: a sensationalized death. This is not limited to Islamic fundamentalists. Mass shootings in Colorado Springs (three dead), Oregon (nine dead) and Charleston, S.C. (nine dead) had nothing to do with Islam.

We can leave gun laws untouched, but something else will eventually give: maybe surveillance on every home and business; metal detectors on every door frame; random interrogations, sweeping immigration reform, airborne snipers, rounding up of particular religions. All things that will make America look a lot less like America than if its people were a little less armed.

Our choice. But sick, murderous minds are here to stay. How easy we make it for them is the only thing we can control.

— Mitch Albom is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press. His email address is malbom@freepress.com.

Comments

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 11 months ago

"But if you stop the argument there, you’re being naive — as naive as saying no one makes you abuse drugs, no one forces you to drink and drive, no one tells you to give your money to phony investment advisors. Yet we have laws regarding all those things."

Is the author of this piece so naive as to beleive there are no laws punishing illegal gun use?

For those of you who (falsly) claim gun violence is rising:

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2009-2013.xls

Bob Summers 1 year, 11 months ago

Here is a thought. Why doesn't Mitch and his fellow Liberal gun nuts alter gun laws, smartly written of course, for the people that abuse them most?

Why don't the gun nuts start a test program in the mass-shooting capitol? Start in South Chicago.

BLOOD10.08.15 1:00 AM ET America’s Mass-Shooting Capital Is Chicago. People living in Chiraq’s worst neighborhoods are more likely to be killed than citizens of the world’s leading murder capitals.

CHICAGO — Four men and two women were shot on April 5 last year, then five weeks later a 15-year-old boy and two men were shot.

Another 15-year-old boy and two men were shot in July. Three men were shot on August 21. Three men and a 73-year-old woman were shot in September. Again in September, two boys ages 12 and 16 were shot along with an 18-year-old man. Two women and one man were shot on that same block on Nov. 19.

These mass shootings didn’t happen in Roseburg, Lafayette, Charleston, or Chattanooga but in Chicago’s worst neighborhoods, where—by one measure—it is more dangerous to live than the world’s most-murderous countries.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/08/america-s-mass-shooting-capital-is-chicago.html

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

A very small percentage of firearms-related crimes involve "assault weapons". The original set of evil "assault weapons" was concocted by a bunch of mopes looking a pictures of firearms and picking out the scary ones. The term is a bloody shirt for politicians to wave and yammer about. This is one of the scare tactics of the civilian disarmament camp.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 11 months ago

Lets not forget that the VA Tech shooter killed the most people with a 9mm and a .22. Referring to the AR-15 as a weapon of mass destruction and a weapon of war ignores the fact that the capacity for mass deaths is the same and arguably achieved more efficeintly with hand guns.

"But I do take issue with those who refuse to accept that mass killings with assault weapons fall under the same category as a hunter wanting to go after ducks..." - Mitch A

What does this even mean?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow!! I thought I was the only "swinging gate" waving in the wind!!!

I totally agree with this article, if the folks who crafted the Constitution had any idea of the havoc and chaos that their words would create 200 years later, they would have never set them in stone. The chronic miss -reading of their intent is the root of the bloody mess we have today inflamed by the NRA and the folks who passionately believe that the President of the United States has a covert plan to "get your guns".

Reasonable and logical gun control (as there are controls on auto ownership and operation, drug use, financial dealings and a host of other daily controls we have on or daily lives) is needed. And yet the NRA an it's followers stick to their stale and sad message that we must keep ourselves free from any sort of logical regulations of deadly weapons.

It is foolishness gone mad.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 11 months ago

"Reasonable and logical gun control (as there are controls on auto ownership and operation, drug use, financial dealings and a host of other daily controls we have on or daily lives) is needed." Fred

The difference Fred is that firearms for personal protection is a right unlike any of the other things you mention. They are in a different class....different world. The folks who crafted the constitution would not in this day and age do it differently as the rationale for the second amendment remains. They understood that rights come with certain risks.....living in a free society that respects basic fundamental rights requires sacrifice. Lastly for the 1000th time the 2nd amendment is a restriction on the government not the people.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 11 months ago

Is there anybody in the United States that shouldn't be allowed to own a gun. I've had NRA supporters decry that felons can't own guns legally. Of course, they have plenty of illegal sources anyway. But is there anyone who you think shouldn't have guns? If you had a crazy neighbor who told you to quit looking at his property over and over, all the while openly carrying his gun, would you want his guns confiscated before he shot you or your kids? You are happy that people who are on the "no-fly" can legally buy guns. Why? They can appeal to get their name removed from those lists. Would you want someone who belongs to any radical group that makes death threats allowed to buy lots of guns legally? Sure, there is quite a black market of guns, but it's harder to get one that way, especially if you don't have the connections.

What I"m asking. Is there any compromise on how much and what kinds of guns you think people should be allowed to own? Should people be allowed to own tanks? Nuclear weapons? What's your limit? Are there gun supporters out there who want to have an intelligent discussion about the problems we face, or do we just go "It happens."

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

"....You are happy that people who are on the "no-fly" can legally buy guns. Why?..." You can be placed on the no-fly list without ever being convicted, or even charged, with a crime. Until very recently, there was no procedure for getting yourself removed from the list if you were placed on it by mistake. Making it possible to deny an American's Constitutional rights without due process is a step in the direction of totalitarianism. Will you be happy with that, Dorothy? https://www.aclu.org/infographic/grounded-life-no-fly-list

Paul Beyer 1 year, 11 months ago

It is impossible to have a rational conversation with a true gun nut. They truly believe every lie the NRA posts and truly believe that only they stand between total anarchy and they beloved guns. Scary that they truly believe they could stop any army from taking their guns, if such a thing could possibly ever occur. I have a lot more faith in our system of government than they do. And I've owned guns all my life with no problems and have never been in a situation that I've needed to carry one around for protection.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 11 months ago

An irrational fear of guns is not a basis for a rational conversation. Nor is a desire to bypass the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. You are perfectly within your rights to never carry a gun. But it is neither your right or responsibility to make that decision for another.

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

It is impossible to have a rational conversation with someone who believes the stereotypes Paul is bitterly clinging to.

Paul Beyer 1 year, 11 months ago

But the stereotypes are continually being reinforced, just read the news sources daily. Especially any online forum.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 11 months ago

Please explain why homicides keep dropping every year while gun sales keep climbing.

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

You look at the world with a jaundiced eye, Paul.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 11 months ago

I agree completely. The image of a group of gun owners going up against the U.S. military, as some fools have imagined, is totally nuts. I also have faith and confidence in the government that some seem to lack. We must have some order in the chaos we live in today, or we are lost.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 11 months ago

"It is impossible to have a rational conversation with a true gun nut." Translated: Everyone that doesn't agree with me is irrational and a gun nut.

John Middleton 1 year, 11 months ago

Well, Mitch, how did it work for Paris? You didn't answer that one, just like obama didn't have an answer for it either.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 11 months ago

Fred, there are currently 2,500,000 active and reserve men and women serving. There is another 120,000,000 million who are fit to serve. Considering the fact that all military personnel are sworn to defend the constitution, if any president was fool enough to order the confiscation of weapons there would be mutiny in the ranks.

Fortunately that scenario is extremely far-fetched. That attempt would result in a forced overthrow of the government by both military and civilians.

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

How do the folks over on the disarmament side of the aisle define "assault weapon"? Is a bayonet lug still seen as an evil feature that increases the deadliness of a firearm?

Bob Smith 1 year, 11 months ago

No takers? None of the sufferers of hoplophobia care to remark on what they want to ban?

Bob Summers 1 year, 11 months ago

Obama and Liberals are clearly in league with criminals. Clearly. Why else would they take firearm protection away from law abiding folk?

Why do they not hinder criminals from acquiring guns?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/01/01/obama-to-impose-new-gun-control-curbs-next-week/

Justin Hoffman 1 year, 11 months ago

Let us not forget "Operation Fast and Furious" and what a total disaster that was for Obama and Holder. Obama is completely clueless on most issues but especially when it comes to firearms.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 11 months ago

In addition to Operation F&F Obama has armed governments that use child soldiers by waiving provisions in the Child Soldiers Prevention Act for his flavor of the month war torn nation. More recently its come to light that our CIA has helped proliferate arms to the mythical Syrian moderate rebel via Turkey via Libya. This administration has proven time and time again that it has a different standard for gun violence depending on it's special interest at the time....and yet silence from the left? This administration has put weapons in the hands of terrorists yet has the gall to pervert the American citizen's 2nd amendment rights? It was tragically clear from Holder's position on firearms that the goal of the government is to brainwash the citizenry into thinking about guns in a different way. Its not hard to connect the dots. The end game is the banning of any firearm that is not a shotgun or hunting rifle.

The sheer hypocrisy is maddening but try getting one Obama supporter/gun control nutcase to talk about his tolerance for firearm proliferation globally.....and you get silence because it's indefensible and they're too cowardly to admit their own double standards go ignored in their collective social conscience.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...