In response to Sandy Hook, Mayors Against Illegal Guns decided to have celebrities tell us to Demand A Plan To End Gun Violence
. I'll pass because I have no idea why I should listen to a bunch of people just because they are famous. Their realm of expertise is show business
, not criminology. Nor do I have any idea why anyone would listen to Mayors Against Illegal Guns about preventing crime, when they have been indicted at a higher rate than legal gun owners. Although perhaps that's slightly better than listening to actual children
. But for the rest of us serfs who can't afford their own armed security, lets see if the Newtown school shooting could have been prevented by their list of demands:
1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw purchasers”
Firstly, the shooter never purchased a gun. He stole the guns he used from his mother. And she passed a criminal background check which was already required when she bought them.
Secondly, banning assault weapons wouldn't have prevented the shooting because it didn't. Connecticut already has an assault weapons ban. And the shooter did not use an assault weapon
. While the capacity of magazines he used has not been released, it's irrelevant because taking a couple of seconds to swap magazines would have had no effect on shooting helpless children. Then again, no weapon ban could effect the ability to kill helpless children. He could have used a shovel, or turned that shovel into an AK-47
Thirdly, gun trafficking already is a federal crime, and "straw purchasers" face a felony conviction of ten years and a fine up to $250,000, per gun. Which any sensible person would consider a "real penalty". Regardless, his mother purchased them legally for herself. Then after the shooting, the store where she bought them was raided
by the BATFE
for some bullshit reason.
So none of these demands could have possibly made any difference -- even if one accepts the absurd premise that someone intent on mass murder is interested in obeying the law. People with good intentions -- who only want to be able to defend themselves -- often don't obey gun laws
. In New York City, there are around 60,000 legal guns, and an estimated 2,000,000 illegal guns, largely because the laws are so strict it is easier to get an illegal gun.
But for sake of argument, lets take a few aspirin and pretend that criminals obey laws. After Virginia Tech, activists focused on closing the "gun show loophole" when the shooter did not purchase a gun at a gun show. Nor did he use an assault weapon or "high-capacity" magazines. Yet, it was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. history. Neither did the Columbine shooters. Although I would be surprised if any of these celebrities could define an assault weapon
. Here, Mayor Bloomberg pretends he doesn't know the difference between semi-automatic and fully-automatic:
I find it impossible to believe that Bloomberg, who is the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, could honestly be that ignorant on his main issue. Then again, he said that tanks fire nuclear bombs
. In this silly editorial
, the author links the definition of an assault rifle on Wikipedia, then proceeds to completely ignore that definition. Regardless, if you aren't interested in the facts, then you aren't interested in solving the problem. Some people have gone so far as to defend their ignorance as some sort of perverted virtue
Hours after the Newton shooting, before anyone knew exactly what happened, legions of gleeful anti-gun trolls started posting snarky comments on the right-leaning and pro-gun blogs. They expressed much more sarcasm than sorrow, and seemed happy that these children were killed in a way they could exploit. If it were a bomb or fire they could have cared less. It's not just that these people don't like guns, they also don't like people who like guns -- sticking it to the people they hate in their perceived culture war.
It’s also mildly amusing/disturbing how closely all the nerdy, medicated, spree-killing geeks resemble the progressive pundits who are caterwauling for unilateral disarmament of the citizenry. They look nothing like the fat and hairy—yet unmistakably male—Georgia hilljacks who milled around the gun show in Gainesville. And although I’m supposed to fear those “angry white males,” I felt far less hostility emanating from the convention floor than I do whenever I’m around leftist girly-boys.
From the other end, Mike Huckabee said, "We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem." Which was quickly mocked by the left as right-wing lunacy. But if you forgive the Christian language, he had a point. Unlike most gun violence, school shootings aren't over drug money
. And it isn't just a mental health issue. Crazy doesn't cut it. No one could murder innocent children unless he was spiritually lacking. In the past, people might have said "the devil made him do it." Now it's easier to point to an inanimate object rather than try to fathom why anyone would ever do such a thing.
So you have two groups of people who want to blame guns. Those who are being deliberately dishonest, and those who are not thinking past justifying their emotions. Ironically, the parents of of the children who died aren't asking for more gun laws
When laws are enacted based on falsehoods or feelings, you get laws that make some people feel safer without making them, in fact, safer. The Reagan Administration banned "plastic handguns
" because it made some people feel safer, even though such guns didn't actually exist. It was like a ban on unicorns
President Obama recently signed a list of 23 executive orders that probably won't do any good
, or make things worse
. His administration is also asking for another assault weapons
ban and a limit on "high-capacity" magazines. While that is unlikely to pass Congress, it won't do any good either. Just ask what Joe Biden has to say
. It's common sense, that as long as guns are guns -- machines that fire metal objects at sufficient velocity -- then they are going to be effective in killing people. When someone is robbed or murdered, how many rounds the criminal had left or what kind of gun he used doesn't make any difference to the survivors.
The NRA proposed putting armed guards in schools. Keeping in mind that we're already dealing in stupid to consider school shootings a significant problem in the first place, and that statistics don't apply to events that are so rare, let's do some rough calculations. There are about 132,000 elementary and secondary schools and 6,700 colleges in the U.S., so at $50,000 a year, that's around $7,000,000,000 a year. From this page
, only 66 people were shot dead by other people at schools from 2000 -- 2010. Most of them involved only one victim, and 32 of those deaths were at one incident, Virginia Tech. Even if we make the irrational assumption that having an armed guard could have prevented all of those deaths, that's around $106,000,000 per life saved. While I would hate to put a dollar amount on human life, that money could probably save more lives spent elsewhere. Even if one were only concerned with gun murders, that would be better spent hiring more police. For example, there were 506 homicides in Chicago last year, but so far only 30% of those have been solved.
Although the other extreme, trying to ban the presence of guns by merely declaring schools Gun Free Zones
is absurd. According to one source, the average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29, and the average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33
. Besides Tucson, every mass shooting since the law was passed has occurred in a gun free zone. The Aurora shooter investigated several movie theaters until he found one that didn't allow guns.
There also has been discussion of Hollywood movies and video games. Perhaps they have some small influence on gun violence. However, no one makes a bigger show of violence than government, with its gratuitous drone
strikes, foreign military intervention, militarization of police, and ridiculous overuse of SWAT teams. If you insist on having a War on Drugs, then people are going to get killed. An estimated 260 million people
have been killed by governments in the 20th Century. When a five-year-old girl is interrogated for three hours
for a "terroristic threat" after she told another girl that she was going to shoot her with a Hello Kitty bubble gun, or when first-graders are suspended for pointing fingers like guns
, or when a six-year-old girl is expelled for bringing a clear plastic toy gun to school
, schools aren't in any position to complain about "bullying" or anyone else's use of force. It's no surprise that Chicago has a gang problem, when its politicians act like gangsters
So what plan would work? Besides leading by example and treating people with dignity and compassion? Nothing. There is no solution because there isn't a problem to solve. School shootings are extremely rare, and there is no evidence they are increasing