Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Guns of Anarchy

So, we have had a few shootings recently.  The worst of it, of course, was Sandy Hook Elementary.  So, now the gun control debate rages on and we have leaders committed to passing laws that will regulate guns more.  That's a good thing, right?  Well, let's investigate this a little more...

The Statistics of Anarchy

In a lot of the news, everyone is throwing around statistics to support their positions.  They are bringing up American gun violence statistics as a reason to ban assault rifles.  They are bringing up how Virginia sells more guns but has less gun violence (you may have to click on the right side to see the article I am referring to on this one).  Everyone is using statistics to prove their case.  If you are here to hear more statistics, then you are probably in the wrong place.  There are just too many of them out there.  I am going to use something that seems to be missing in today's argument, common sense (and maybe some statistics you haven't heard about - but not many, I promise).

Let's get things straight here.  When looking at whether or not to ban guns or even certain types of guns, we need to look at whether banning the guns would stop the violence or killing.  It's a question that can't be definitively answered, but I think pulling statistics from the World Health Organization should let us get some good information.  The problem I see is that countries where guns aren't prevalent are still extremely violent (way more violent than America with all our guns).  I am not going to quote out of there, but you can read for yourself that the world is more violent in poorer countries where guns are very prevalent.  So, what do we make of this?

The Society of Anarchy

To me, there is a bigger issue here.  Why is that we see people with mental health issues get guns and shoot people?  Every major shooting in the past few years has been a direct result of someone with mental health issues getting a gun and going crazy.  Sandy Hook's killer, Adam Lanza, was shy, dark, smart, and prone to outbursts.  James Holmes, while found fit to stand trial, was also seeing a psychiatrist before his shooting spree in a movie theater in Colorado.  I could go on and on, but the Secret Service has the numbers (as well as the above linked James Holmes article where I got the Secret Service report from).  So, what are we doing about this?

Why are we focusing on the guns and not the shooters?  Where is our mental illness control laws?  What about other weapons out there?  People can and have killed massive amounts of people without guns.  Most of those cases have to do with people who are also mentally ill.  And if guns are really the problem, then why is Switzerland doing so well?  A lot of questions that I don't have answers for yet.

The Conclusion of Anarchy

By this point, most people who are for gun control are probably thinking that I am anti-gun control.  Nothing could be further than the truth!  I am all for keeping guns out of the hands of children (without parental supervision).  I am all for keeping guns out the hands of the untrained (require training on safe gun handling, cleaning, and storage before purchase).  I am all for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals (as much as possible).  I am all for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill (require a psych test or something before purchase).  I think that assault rifles do serve a purpose in that if we ever have to take on our government, we will be needing them (and that is not so overly unlikely given the bozos that are in our government now).  Also, they are fun to shoot at the range.  Safely.  And without killing people.

But I think as a country we are missing the discussion we should be having.  Why are people doing this?  Why are people getting so angry, fed up, violent, misguided, lonely, sad, or whatever else may be going on that they are willing to go shoot people (especially little kids)?  Why are we, as a society, not able to recognize the issues and get them the help they need?  All the neighbors even knew Adam Lanza was not right!!!  Why didn't they reach out to a very smart but very misguided boy?  Why didn't the counselors and school teachers at his school recognize his issues and get him help?  Why did the mom not do something (like get the guns somewhere where her anger-outburst prone son couldn't get to them, at the very least)?  Where are we as a society when we watch these things happen repeatedly and our first thought is not to fix the problem with the person, but to take the guns from everyone?  I don't have the answers to these questions.

Is taking away assault rifles going to make gun violence or violence in general go down?  I don't know.  Is it the right way to fix this problem?  I don't think it is.  Why is it we always look for the simple, one-liner solution?  This picture definitely has shades of grey that we need to address.  I for one, think that we need to decide that personal responsibility is going to become our new policy and stop waiting for someone else to fix it.  If I am that neighbor, I am reaching out.  But the personal responsibility topic is one I will address soon.  For now, we as a country need to decide.  Are we going to fix the guns, or are we going to fix the people using them?

*Edit - 1/20/13
Another thought entered my mind as I was sitting here writing my next post:  There are arguments that state that giving our citizens guns and educating them on how to use them would make our country safer.  There are arguments that state that taking away assault rifles and  putting limits on clip size would make our country safer.  Why, then, would we not opt for the the solution that GRANTS freedom instead of the solution that DENIES freedom?  Just a thought...