March 20, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Views: 1248 #239
Another tragedy. We see the news and we all feel the emotion on the faces of the families they interview when there is a mass shooting somewhere in the US.
I’m saddened, you’re saddened, our celebrities are saddened, and our politicians are saddened. We empathize, what if it were us or someone we knew?
We have to do something, right?
But take a moment to address the possibility that our immediate reactions are in conflict to our ideologies. Our emotions take precedence over our knowledge.
Let’s take for a moment the classic example of roadway safety. There are always incremental gains to be made. Yet we’re stuck with over 40,000 deaths, 40,000 tragedies on the road per year.
But thus far, the only way to eliminate all accidents is to reduce the speed limit to about 5 mph, right? Well theoretically people would still break the laws and end up crashing and because car manufacturers make cars to be perfectly safe at 5 mph, they’d be less safe at higher speeds.
So maybe the solution is to remove the roads? Well people would still want to get from place to place and end up driving through fields and dirt paths. So maybe the solution is to ban all vehicles of any kind? You can imagine the contraptions private households would try to work up.
But no matter which of those 3 solutions actually succeed in reducing deaths we would never do that. Philosophically, we think it is good for 300,000,000+ people to be able to travel from place to place and have the freedom to live their life and transport goods.
This philosophical concept is ingrained in all of us, so on a national level you don’t see a political divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of vehicle safety. Locally you probably see a range of divide, but not really a divide between parties nationally.
Yet when there is political space to be gained, as is the issue of gun control, we throw philosophy out the window and use every tragedy as a power grab. The Republicans want to be more popular with their gun-toting base and their lobbies, the Democrats want to be more popular with their empathetic base, and the elitists of both parties want the government to have more power over the people.
The question isn’t: How many tragedies would we avoid or cause if we banned a specific gun or all guns?
The question is: Should citizens have guns and why?
Remember that you probably have a lot of built-up baggage on this issue depending on where you live. Let’s talk about the stereotypical experience in the cities vs rural regions.
If you’re rural, you probably grew up with a fondness for guns. You’ve talked about your favorite guns, cherished antique guns from your grandparents, shot clay pigeons or targets at family gatherings, and hunted with your dad or grandpa. You grew up knowing the rules, how reverently to handle the gun, and that you should never point a gun at a human.
If you’re urban, you hear news all the time about the latest shooting or armed suspect. Some guy, who may be armed and dangerous, has attempted a burglary on a street you’ve heard of. You’ve never touched a gun, at least not until you were older, and didn’t learn the rules at an early age. When guns are used in your area, its bad and the person holding the gun is probably bad.
But you have to zoom out beyond the tragedy, beyond your personal experiences, and to find what is the best way for society to operate.
Personally, I’m on the libertarian side of the philosophical debate.
In the 20th century, there were 262,000,000 deaths by democide. Governments killing their own people.
This isn’t the 1700s, when the founders were worried about oppression from Britain. This is the 1900s. Come the 1920s, people were feeling pretty good in the USA and a lot of Europe. Economies were booming, workloads were dropping, wealth was building, culture was outputting so much stuff, and communication was making its way around the globe. Sound familiar?
But a shift in ideology caused elitists to start some sketchy activities. Even in the USA, the eugenics movement started gaining force and oppressing people. We started sterilizing criminals, then we sterilized undesirable poor people. The biggest state to do this was California. That state, at least in the big cities, started to embrace the philosophy of eugenics. They wanted to create a population free from poverty and crime, which is honestly a nice sentiment, but by taking freedom away from other people.
Luckily the US is super diverse in ideology and we had large checks and balances to prevent nation-wide eugenics activities. Besides, try sterilizing a population that owns a stock of powerful guns.
It took awhile for the ideas to propagate throughout the globe, but the results were sickening, millions and millions dead to an ideology that stemmed from the USA of all places. There were other philosophies than eugenics that caused the millions of deaths in some countries, but that’s one of the big ones.
That’s one of the reasons for citizens to hold millions and millions of powerful guns. When dangerous ideologies sweep a nation, when totalitarian regimes gain power, when checks and balances fail and corruption wins, when paranoia and elitism wins over trust and humility, we need some deterrent.
Now all of those things listed are far less likely to happen when the populace has guns. The USA would never think of removing the constitutionally-bound checks and balances as long as the ultimate check-and-balance is on the table.
Now the amount of homicides from guns is about 25% of deaths by car accidents. So assuming all gun control measures succeeded and gun murders weren’t replaced by knife, bomb, and vehicular murders, you could prevent 10,000 deaths.
But when you compare that to the oppression of the world in the 20th century and the 262 million deaths by democide, you take your pick. Human nature is terrible, and ends up with individuals who get too much power who end up killing people.
Oddly enough by equipping everyone with powerful weapons, we limit the peak of power a single person can attain through oppressing a country.
Obviously there are some things we should move toward as a nation. How is our mental health, how is our faith, where do our morals come from, how can we empower people to lead their lives with freedom rather than feel powerless and desperate?
There are ways to reduce murder and death in this country, and they don’t necessarily come from government. Look to promoting health and kindness among your entire community, and perhaps the tragedies will continue to disappear.
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