An open letter to the local gun control crowd
December 29, 2012 17 Comments
The wake of the tragic Newtown massacre has been an interesting time.
Here in Greensboro, the local daily paper decided to drumbeat calls for more gun control using sequential, strategically-placed front page stories. And some of our prominent, hyperpolitical, ultraliberal local congregations– the Congregational Church of Christ, First Presbyterian Church and Temple Emanuel– got together in remembrance and capitalized on the massacre. And local print media were dutifully on hand to transmit calls for more gun control.
It was all soooo predictable. Was it not Rahm Emanuel who exclaimed that a crisis should never be wasted?
I came across a few interesting statistics recently.
The number of persons killed in the United States during 2007 by a person using some type of gun was 12,632 according to Wikipedia.
And according to the CDC, 10,228 persons were killed because of “alcohol-impaired driving crashes” during 2010.
Conclusion #1: The number of deaths due to gun-related homicide is roughly on the same order of magnitude as the number of deaths associated with drunk driving in the United States.
Here is one more interesting factoid. The state of North Carolina alone accounted for 22,370 abortions during 2011.
Conclusion #2: The number of human lives taken in North Carolina alone– in one individual state– due to abortion nearly doubles the number of lives taken nationwide due to gun-related homicide.
But here is the really interesting part.
I do not recall ever having seen the News and Record drumbeat on its front page the need to make alcohol sales illegal because of the huge number of tragic drunk driving deaths we have nationwide. I have never seen the paper use its front page to drumbeat the horrendous number of abortions in our state, and to transmit repeated calls for its abolition.
Of course, media bias sometimes consists of decisions to highlight certain stories, and ignore others.
Similarly, I do not recall ever having seen our ultraliberal, hyperpolitical local congregations stage memorial services for lives taken due to drunk driving and abortion, and couple these services with political calls to make alcohol and abortion illegal.
It seems that our local paper, and our local liberal congregations, are much more tolerant of deaths due to drunk driving and abortion than they are of deaths by homicide associated with use of guns.
Some killings, you see, are much worse than others according to this worldview.
A few years ago, a significant change took place in our local criminal justice system. We instituted in GuilfordCounty a Mental Health Court. This was a new court designed to take the mentally ill charged with crimes, and divert them away from serving prison time. Instead, they would ostensibly be funnelled into treatment for their mental illness. This, of course, undermines a societal need to hold criminals fully accountable for their behavior, and achieve justice. Newtown and other comparable massacres expose the dangers associated with some mentally ill individuals in our communities; and the difficulties assuring that they will be treated consistently. But the liberal party line is that, when the mentally ill commit lesser crimes, they should not be held fully accountable.
Second Amendment rights are not, by any means, my biggest political priority. I did not grow up in a culture in which law-abiding citizens commonly owned guns. It was mostly the criminals who had the guns in New York City.
But I have a proposal for our friends at the News and Record and at our local ultraliberal, hyperpolitical congregations.
If you want to ban use of certain types of guns, pass a constitutional amendment repealing the second amendment. Go ahead. Try it.
Gun ownership, after all, is a constitutional right. One of the deepest ironies is that those pushing gun control tend to think abortion is a constitutional right– when it really is not. But they apparently want to use legislation to take guns away from citizens even though owning them is a basic civil right in the United States.
Do they really want to use unconstitutional means to achieve their objectives? It appears to be so.
National Review Online Friday highlighted a passage written nearly two centuries ago by then-Chief Justice Joseph Story, not long after the drafting of the Bill of Rights. Story was nominated to the Supreme Court by James Madison himself:
The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers…The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
During the 2008 presidential election season, there was an active effort to make it appear that Senator Barack Obama would not want to threaten gun rights. Of course, that was just another false representation to get him elected. Those who want more gun control tend to share Obama’s overall worldview.
But during the age of Obama, it is quite ironic that increasing numbers of citizens—not decreasing numbers–feel the need to buy and own guns.
Dr. Joe Guarino is a Guardian columnist.