Sunday, February 17, 2008

Abusus non tollit usum. (Misuse does not preclude proper use)

In keeping with the subject matter of the past three posts, I've felt it necessary to compose yet another. Why? Because I have more to say, that's why. And the more I think about it, the more pissed off I get.

Take a look at the map above. You'll see that there are 4 colors on this map of the 50 States. The blue States are called "Shall Issue" States and have adopted a "Florida style" policy on the issuance of concealed weapons permits. That simply means that when applying to obtain a concealed weapons permit, unless you are legally disqualified you "shall be issued" the license provided you complete all of the required steps.

The yellow States are known as "May Issue" States. In these States, you must demonstrate a "need" above and beyond the simple desire to obtain one to be issued a license to carry a firearm. For instance, carrying large sums of money as a condition of one's employment might be a qualifying "need" to be issued a concealed weapons permit in California or New York.

The green States have little or no restrictions on firearms. Anyone, save convicted felons and children under 18 can purchase, obtain, possess, and carry a firearm on or about his or her person, either concealed or openly with no licensing or registration requirements.

Then there are the red States. In these States, the right to bear arms is unconstitutionally denied. No one is issued concealed weapons permits. No demonstrated "need" is good enough. No one can carry a gun on their person under any circumstances except law enforcement and criminals. Everyone else must fall into the inevitable and unfortunate category of "hapless and helpless victims".

One of those red States, you may notice, is Illinois. Illinois is where the most recent university shooting happened. Illinois is where the department store shooting that killed 5 women happened. Illinois is also where one of the most violent cities in America happens to be. No one had a snowball's chance in hell of stopping these men because no one had a firearm. Had one not killed himself and the other not fled, more people would have surely died in a cowering heap of pathetic pleadings for mercy.

How can this not anger the hell out of you? Who the hell is the State Legislature to tell you that you cannot protect yourself? Who the hell are these self-righteous imbeciles at the Brady Campaign to assume that you cannot safely handle the situation of using a firearm to protect your own life and should therefore just die? What gives them the right? Who gives them the authority?

I am constantly outraged by the audacity of those who speak for the Brady Campaign when they argue against legislation that would allow law abiding, adult citizens to purchase, own, or carry firearms. Their arguments are never based on statistical data or facts. On the contrary, they are nearly always based on assumptions and opinions and always presented as though they were fact. They cannot argue with statistics that show that States with looser gun laws suffer less violent crime. They cannot discount the factual data that shows that legal gun owners are far less likely to commit violent crimes. They cannot argue, intelligently so they don't. Instead, they appeal to the audience's emotions by postulating, speculating and theorizing based solely on conjecture or otherwise using the SWAG method to presuppose what they think might happen. SWAG...that stands for Scientific Wild Assed Guess!

In a recent Newsweek interview with a nonprofit organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus or SCCC (referenced in a post below), Brian Malte, the State Legislation and Politics Director at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said, of course, that the legislation that SCCC seeks simply would not work. He had no valid reasoning for such a conclusion, mind you...just speculation. "It's ridiculous to say someone with a gun could have saved the day"..."with people running all over the place and people getting caught in the crossfire." Newsweek went on to quote Malte as saying that "...his group opposes the concealed-carry legislation, because allowing firearms to saturate college campuses, where young people drink heavily and live communally, would only heighten the danger of deadly violence."

Did you see that? Did you see what he did? He made an assumption and then projected that assumption onto you as fact. How does he know that people would be running into the line of fire and not taking the natural reaction of getting as low as possible? How does he know that the person who may be carrying concealed would not exercise due caution so as not to shoot innocent bystanders? How can he say that college campuses would be "saturated" with guns if this legislation is passed? Saturated? Not everyone qualifies. Not everyone would want to carry a gun. One would have no reason to believe that any different proportion of the campus population would choose to carry concealed firearms than the general population as a whole. And because stereotypical college students binge drink on movies like Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds, it would be irresponsible to allow such an out of control group to have guns. Never mind the fact that these same people already have the permits necessary to carry guns concealed in places like restaurants and malls and marketplaces. Somehow, this genius concludes that the specific surrounding of a college campus makes it too dangerous for these same people to carry those same guns under the same constraints of the law with the same responsibilities and with the same standards and expectations of reasonable behavior. Why? How?

Can you smell the bullshit? These people are living in a fantasy land. A land where they honestly believe that it is possible to get control of all of the hundreds of millions of guns out on the street. They envision a day where guns are only in the hands of the police and the military....preferably only the military. They are delusioned idealists who couldn't rub two statistical facts together to come up with a coherent conclusion to save their pathetic pacifist butts. If you could magically wave a wand and make all privately owned guns, both legal and illegal just disappear from within the borders of our country today...then tomorrow, people would kill, rob and carjack other people with knives, baseball bats, claw hammers and power drills. History supports this. People have been killing people since Caine smacked Abel over the head with a rock! And people will continue to kill people no matter what sorts of primitive or technologically advanced weapons are afforded them. But the simple fact is, you have no magic wand. You can never get control over all of the guns available on the black market...ever. The German Gestapo couldn't do it in WWII, and you most certainly cannot do it with any of the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States intact.

Guns aren't going anywhere, folks. This is about evening the odds. This is about allowing victims to have a sporting chance at survival and giving predators a legitimate deterrent. This is about recognizing that the right to live and the right of self-preservation is inherent and inalienable to all sapient beings and cannot by their very nature be relieved from one by another because, despite any law prohibiting them, they will be enacted anyway as a natural course of instinctual reaction. You cannot make it illegal for me to meet a force likely to cause death or great bodily harm with the same or a greater amount of force anymore than you can make it illegal for me to breath. My life depends on both and despite any law to the contrary I will continue to do both. On the same side of that coin, depriving me of the very means of self preservation is akin, in my opinion, of depriving me of oxygen to breath....tantamount to murder. It is not for the law to presume whether I will act reasonably in any given hypothetical life threatening situation. It is only for the law to decide whether I have acted reasonably after the fact. For the law to step in and preemptively judge that I might act unreasonably and then, for that reason, remove from me the right or ability to act in that instance, forces the law to act in my place. Any failure of the law to act in my place under such circumstances should thus constitute negligence or malpractice, up to and including not having any representatives (ie, law enforcement) nearby.

Now I know that might be a far reach in legal interpretation on my part but theoretically it is sound and there are integral parts of that theory that cannot be refuted, such as the inherent instinctual compulsion to act with deadly force in defense of one's own life. If it is true that access to black market firearms cannot be feasibly curtailed, especially in a free state, and it is also true that all humans have the right to defend themselves and others with deadly force if a force likely to cause death or great bodily harm is met and it is also true that to deny a person either the right or the ability to apply that force in a situation where it is needed might cost that person their life, then it must be reasonably concluded that a person has the inherent right to arm themselves with weapons likely to be capable of deterring, repelling, or quashing an encountered deadly force. Whether I act reasonably and in accordance with the law is up to a jury to decide after the fact, not for legislators to decide before it ever happens under hypothetical presumptions.