Friday, December 14, 2012

Your Move

So there has been another mass shooting. This time in a grade school in Connecticut. And again there is a clamor for tighter regulation of guns. It's possible to talk about how this is the fault of undiagnosed mental illness. It's possible to talk about how relatively rare mass shootings are. It's possible to talk about how if an adult in the school had been armed, they could have stopped the shootings.

But if this continues, none of that is going to matter. What is going to matter is that people want to feel safe. They feel that the presence of firearms, especially ones that they associate (correctly or not) with military and paramilitary uses, trigger a feeling of being unsafe. And every time there is another mass shooting, and every time they feel that the rate of mass shootings is increasing, they feel more and more unsafe.

There has been a pervasive feeling, among certain segments of the gun-owning population, that President Obama, the United Nations or just "the Gubmint" in general have hatched a hateful plot to take away their weapons and leave them vulnerable to a New World Order that wants to take away their Guns, persecute them for worshiping their God and give their children over to the Gays as sexual playthings. Despite their sometimes laughable fears, the threat to their right to Keep and Bear Arms will not come from the Oval Office, New York or Washington D.C. It is going to come from the parents who fear for their children, the caring people who fear for their spouses and partners and the members of the public in general who fear for themselves. It had become popular for people (many of them the same ones who support gun rights) to say that "Freedom isn't free." And they are right. But Freedom isn't always worth any cost either, especially when it's a freedom that you don't use and don't feel a need to have. And when the apparent price of the freedom of someone else to own weapons becomes to high, people will shed that right to be free of the cost.

If things keep escalating as they are, eventually, something is going to have to be done. And if the public forces the government to do it, it's not going to be pretty. The Federal government, is has been observed, does only two things well - procrastinate and overreact. So when public pressure pushes them into action, it's not going to be a measured or targeted response. It's going to be prying guns from people's cold, dead fingers while their neighbors cheer from across the street.

Those people who believe in the right for citizens to be armed are going to have to start taking the responsibility that this right carries seriously. Pointing out that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens isn't going to cut it. Suggesting that everyone buy a weapon and learn to use it is ludicrously unrealistic. Blaming the mass media for encouraging copycats by making celebrities out of murderers while the dead are mostly forgotten is pointless. Noting that people have killed as many or more people under similar circumstances with knives is a waste of time. Second amendment or none, if people feel that the price of public access to guns is too high, that access will go away. Thinking the Constitution will protect them will simply leave them in for the same rude awakening that many other groups who relied on it for protection woke up to.

I don't believe that "Gun Control" is going to be as easy as people think it will. But the "War on Terror" is a thing that's difficult to the point of being utterly Quixotic, and it's been going full steam ahead long past the point where I thought it would have been given up for futite, and the "War on Drugs" represents a stubborness that can move mountains. So I have no illusions that once "Gun Control" gets going, no level of money or effort will be spared. So if you're of the opinion that the right to keep and bear arms is important to you, you'd better get to work. The clock is ticking.

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