I was thinking about re-posting an essay here from 2012, when Humble Talent, one of Ethics Alarms’ most prolific and thoughtful participants, filed this comment on today’s observations about the post-Orlando shooting. Not to be a spoiler, but this quote at the end is simply a fact:
“What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.”
In 2012, I reached the same conclusion:
“The right to be free creates the opportunity to be irresponsible, and ethics is the collective cultural effort to teach ourselves, our children and our neighbors not to be irresponsible without having to be forced to be responsible at gunpoint, with the government holding the gun. I know it seems harsh and callous to say so, but I am not willing to give up on ethics—the belief that enough of us can do the right things even when we have the freedom to do the wrong things—to prevent the occasional school massacre or murder-suicide.”
We’re both right. The right to arm ourselves is at the beating heart of American democracy, and those who would eliminate it understand neither the right, nor the United States.
Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”
I’m so… tired. I called it… I called it all: Terrorist attack on American soil, big, guns, Trump’s gamble paid, Islam, ISIS, Allahu Akbar, gay people targeted for being gay. I’ve never been so depressed at being so right.
Now cue the idiots on the left: GUN GUN GUN RAWGRRGHGHGH NRA RGRGRG Not MUSLIMS. Now cue the idiots on the right: BAN ALL MUSLIMS. Cue the pundits standing on the backs of the dead. Cue the outrage, and the memes, the old tired discussions. The impotent calls for gun control, the equally impotent calls for protection. Let stand for…. Want to call it three weeks? Before we just go back to the normal flow? Maybe Trump will make a vagina joke, or call someone a dicknose.
And the world keeps on a-turning…
I was thinking about this problem… The people who are calling for a ban on guns, they’re right… A ban on guns, if it could actually be enforced, would probably decrease the rate of these crimes. The “Ban all Muslims” crowd is right too… If you could somehow accurately identify the group. But both of those ‘solutions’ are so far out to lunch and authoritarian that your average American just wouldn’t stand for it. And then once you recognize that the extremes are untenable, and you move to more moderated measures, you immediately lower the efficacy of those measures. Gun control? Sure. Maybe the terrorists will go home if you annoy them with bureaucracy. Moratorium on visitors from the Middle East? What do you do about the extremists in your back yard?
What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.
Graphic: Deerfield Scroll