In discussing the gun issue on Facebook from my personal account with some friends, a couple of studies were referred to me that show, generally, more guns, more murder. Now, it kinda’ does make sense that the more guns you have in an area, chances are the more gun violence you’ll see. But my issue with these kinds of studies is that they just count guns, as if it’s the guns acting on their own.
But consider this. If you compare the number of guns in gangland Chicago vs the number in a quiet suburb of gun-loving Texas, you’d see pretty quickly that just counting numbers of guns is misleading. It depends on who has them. And what has been clear from what we see is that highly restrictive gun control law shift the balance from the good guys to the bad. The UCC shooter had more guns on him than those who were physically carrying one among the campus population. And in fact, the UCC shooting is something of a microcosm of my point.
When the shooter arrived, the number of guns on campus increased dramatically, and he started killing with them. More guns, more murder. But then, twenty minutes later, the armed police arrived. When faced with good guys with guns, the bad guy with a gun killed himself. More guns…less murder.
So who had the guns made all the difference. And when UCC needed help, who did unarmed security guy call? Guys with guns.
So the mantra of the pro-gun crowd is that a good guy with guns will stop a bad guy with a gun. ThinkProgress, the liberal blog, noted an MSNBC report of a guy who did have a weapon on campus, and suggested there were others. So see? A good guy with a gun didn’t help the situation! Well, if you actually listen to the guy talk, he said he was quite a distance from the building where the shooter was, so that going that distance with an active shooter around would make them targets, and having to go that far they might be mistaken by the police for the bad guys. If the shooter had been close at hand, though, he was ready.
So here’s a guy being a responsible citizen, keeping himself and others out of the line of fire, not acting like a vigilante and not trying to hunt down the shooter. If he’d tried and gotten hurt, he’d likely be castigated by ThinkProgress as proof that good guys with guns are no protection. Instead, he used as an example that good guys with guns are no protection. They get to grind their ax either way. Only if he’d acted irresponsibly and it happened to work could he be in any way shown as an example of a good guy with a gun. But then ThinkProgress, I imagine, would rightly suggest that this was a bad idea in general. No matter how it worked out, they get to use this story in pursuit of their agenda.
Look, nobody ever said that a good guy with a gun is a guarantee of a particular outcome. But if you criminalize self-defense, if you outlaw the carrying of a weapon by otherwise law-abiding citizens, you can be guaranteed that there will be no one available to help out. As Glenn Reynolds often says, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
People often try to get to what they call the “root cause” of crime. Some say that poverty creates crime. If that were so, we should have had an explosion of it during The Great Depression. If that were so, the wealthy Osama bin Laden shouldn’t have been a problem, or Bernie Madoff, or any of a number of white collar criminals. If poverty is a contributing factor, seems it would be hard to spot a trend.
Let’s stick with mass shootings for a moment. There’s a link in the show notes to an article showing that mass shootings have been getting more frequent, even before Sandy Hook. It’s to an article in Mother Jones, which is a magazine and website with a decidedly liberal political bent, so folks who often dismiss information because it was reported by Fox or Breitbart can’t just handwave it away. President Obama was right that it seems he’s coming out to do press conferences quite a lot after these incidents.
But what has changed? Our gun laws are pretty much the same as they were under George W. Bush. And if the guns in these shootings were obtained illegally, it should be no surprise that criminals don’t obey the law. We had a recession, but, if you listen to the administration, the economy has been looking better all the time. And if you look at the motivations of these shooters, few if any had an economic motivation. What about mental health? Many of these shooters had issues in that area, but then again, we’ve had guns and mental health issues in this society for over a century, but haven’t seen anything like this in the past. So is it more complicated than that? Perhaps. But perhaps not.
I want to turn to some time-tested wisdom, in updated language, that explains this pretty well.
Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild, but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse. Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—they’ll turn out delightful to live with. If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
These are the words of a government official, King Solomon, as written in Proverbs 29, and from The Message translation. It really brings out much of the meaning of the Bible if the King James Version seems a little opaque.
There is much in here about discipline; internally to ourselves and externally to those in our charge. But it comes down to that last part. “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves…” King Jimmy phrased it, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” What has been happening in our society? The influence of the Christian church has been waning. You don’t have to be a theologian or historian to notice that. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is part of the church is watering down or outright rejecting of some of its own teachings. But our society has also decided that moral restraints are not needed, and everyone should do what they want.
And, indeed, some have done exactly that. Some Facebook friends have told me that they believe human nature is essentially good. But Solomon, thousands of years ago, saw human nature for what it was, and realized that only God can change it, in the individual and in society at large. Are we just harvesting what we planted? Solomon figured that out. I think we’ve forgotten it.
I’d say, “pardon the sermonizing”, if I thought this wasn’t useful, but I think it most definitely is. It wasn’t some feel-good words over a graphic of a sunrise or a flower. It was, I believe, the truth, and a truth that has been the truth for a very, very long time.