- I was serious about directing anyone seeking ethics commentary in reference to the Las Vegas massacre to all of the posts tagged with the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck tag. So far, there is nothing new being said or proposed, just an unleashing of the same tactics, same fake “facts,” and same rending of garments and tearing of hair, whatever that is. I suppose this is healthy as a cultural release, though not in nay other respect. That tag wasn’t on this basic Ethics Alarms post, however, and it is the starting point for any of my commentary on gun control-related matters. The intentionally stark title: The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It.
Oh, hell. I’m just going to re-post it. Be back in a second.
There. It’s up.
- So much of the blather everywhere is naked virtue signaling. One commenter here who should know better wrote on one of the other posts that I was criticizing those who were decrying gun violence. Who doesn’t decry gun violence? Why is it necessary to proclaim the obvious? Oh, you really are horrified that 59 innocent people were killed and 500 were wounded? What a sensitive person you are! You are so good, I must take your insistence that we have to do something as a substantive contribution to the discussion.
Decrying senseless violence and wanting gut the Bill of Rights in response are not the same thing, not even close. The first is gratuitous and obvious, and the second is emotional and irresponsible.
- I would not be surprised at all if President Trump further muddled this already incoherent debate by endorsing some new (or old) gun control measures. He would do this, presumably, as he seems to make most decisions, from the gut, or the seat of his pants, or because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The chances that he has thought deeply about the issues involved are nil; the chances that he is familiar with the jurisprudence on the matter is less than nil. It would almost be worth it to watch the reshuffling of loyalties and support among the pundits and commentariat.
Real Nazis, after all, want to confiscate guns.
- Once again, the NRA is being vilified, with the disgusting “blood on their hands” cry. The NRA isn’t sort of like the ACLU; it’s exactly like the ACLU, but with more integrity. If only the ACLU fought to defend the First Amendment as vigorously as the NRA defends the Second. Organizations that take the extreme position on any of the sections of the Bill of Rights create a necessary counterweight to fanatics who would tear them out of our Constitution and culture.
The NRA is extreme. It has to be extreme. The ACLU isn’t extreme enough, and because it will not take an absolutist stance (Like late SCOTUS justice William O.Douglas, who repeatedly wrote that no restriction on speech was justifiable or Constitutional), it has made itself vulnerable to bias, and harmed its credibility.
- It is astounding to me—I guess I foolishly expect people to learn—that the eruption on the latest anti-gun fervor is again being led by ignorance, hyperbole and finger-pointing. The argument of the Federalist essay I posted the link to this morning should be clear as glass: making this a partisan issue guarantees that nothing will get done. Democrats sounding like they are seeking a slippery slope leading to the banning of all firearms guarantees no action whatsoever, dooming even reasonable measures. Forever. Do they really not understand this? Do they really want to try to fix the problem, to the extent it can be fixed? I wonder.
Progressives mostly refuse to read conservative publications like The Federalist. They would rather be pure and stupid than informed and effective. And this, my friends, is why Donald Trump is on his way to a second term.
- The tenor of much of the blather from elected officials and pundits reaffirms my belief that adulthood is a myth. I keep hearing various versions of the lament, “We can’t let this go on! How can we stop it from happening?”
This is the public policy discourse equivalent of running in circles screaming. We Can’t Stop It. Oh, we can perhaps take measures to make it harder to modify semi-automatic weapons, so this exact same scenario is somewhat more unlikely. That’s not what the activists are asking for, however. By “it” they mean a random massacre by an apparent lone maniac using firearms. The only way to prevent that is to confiscate firearms, profile citizens, and install oppressive police state measures.
Paddock was a wealthy individual without any of the markers of a killer, who carefully planned a mass execution and had the resources to do it whatever the laws were. He seems most similar to Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper, whose rampage may have been brought on by a brain tumor. Individuals can do terrible things. This is a country based on the principle that citizens deserve autonomy, and when autonomy is given to irresponsible, crazy, angry, sick people, they can create havoc and mayhem, and eventually some of them will.
The inability to be able to process that inevitability is wilful childishness.
- At Mediaite, Colby Hall has a fatuous essay called “Scariest Part of Las Vegas Massacre? The Pro-Gun Message That Nothing Can Be Done.”
It reminds me of the old Werner Erhard scam, the Hunger Project, which preached that the way to end world hunger was to be convinced that world hunger could end. The conclusion that there is no way to stop someone like Paddock from using guns to slaughter people isn’t “pro gun.” It’s pro-Constitution, pro-equal protection, pro-recognize the facts staring you in the face and anti-totalitarian. Hall himself doesn’t actually have any ideas, mind you. He just says that we have to “try.” “Try,” in this case, coming from someone like Hall, means, “Let’s we if we can get away with laying the groundwork for mass gun confiscations, pre-crime measures, and limiting the classes of people who have a right to arm themselves.”
Sure, by all means, close the adaptation kit loophole. That doesn’t mean that anyone determined to convert a semi–automatic into an automatic weapon won’t learn to do it himself, or hire someone to do it for him.
- I hate to write this, by I will anyway: the kinds of statements about guns I am reading and hearing, and always read and hear after one of these periodic tragedies, can only come from those who refuse to acknowledge the history, culture and culture of the United States. No nation on earth owes so much to guns. Guns gave America its independence; guns rid the nation of slavery; guns won the West; guns allowed ordinary people to turn a wilderness into a civilization. Guns symbolize individuality and independence, as well as self-sufficiency and the ability to fight against abusive authority. This is part of the United States of America, and those who want to excise it just don’t like the America we have very much, nor the national character. It isn’t just guns.
We will not give up the right to bear arms until the American character itself is indoctrinated out of existence. At that point, it won’t be the United States., and I increasingly get the impression that many progressives, perhaps most of them think that would be wonderful. Are they opposing American culture because they were incompetently educated about core American values and history, or are they fully educated, but hostile to the values and character of their own country?
- It’s ironic that I posted about the duty to confront uninformed opinions before the Vegas Strip shooting. It has generated astoundingly incompetent rants on Facebook and social media, all spreading ignorance, anger and hysteria, all making genuine dialogue impossible.
And then there’s my wife’s favorite:
- The disconnect between the same end of the ideological spectrum demonizing the police while simultaneously seeking to make the public entirely dependent on the police would be the stuff of satire, if it wasn’t so tragic.