Gun Lives Matter
The predictable calls to pass more stringent laws “to stop gun violence” have revved up again in the wake of the depraved murder of a Virginia reporter and cameraman. It’s easy to understand why progressive elites are once again exploiting human tragedy to advocate for more legal restrictions on gun ownership despite the manifest ineffectiveness of such measures in “stopping gun violence.” They are loath to miss any opportunity to extend the power of the State at the expense of the citizenry.
That project notwithstanding, there does seem to be a genuine and visceral dislike -- or perhaps distrust is a better characterization -- of guns qua guns among rank and file progressives; something apart from the evil acts that some people commit with these tools. Guns seem to occupy a place in their psyches that knives, clubs, garrotes, explosives, machetes and other implements that regularly are employed to murderous effect do not. They just know that somehow, guns are bad -- at least when in the hands of those who are not current law enforcement or military professionals (or of course their private security details), for whom liberals make a reluctant exception. Scary-looking “assault weapons” excite particular fear and instinctive opprobrium.
Many leftists may doubt the existence of a transcendent human soul, but they are certain, if only at an unconscious level, that rather than mere inanimate tools, guns indeed have a life force of their own and thus can and do assert a mysterious, murderous influence over unsuspecting, otherwise good people. That the term “gun violence” has gained a currency that say, “punch and kick violence” has not is telling, despite that guns account for only 10% of violent attacks while 66% of assaults are unarmed. This is an underappreciated yet useful insight into the way progressives think (or feel, I should say), one that can and should be exploited to great effect.
When liberals like Diane Sawyer lament that America is “awash in guns,” they implicitly argue that guns -- not bad or crazy people -- are responsible for violence done in this way; that guns, rather than those who wield them, are the responsible moral agent in their illicit use. It follows then, in their minds, that if only society could get rid of guns in the public square, violence would proportionally decrease.
Given that modern liberalism is based upon emotional intuition and good intentions, such tortured logical and metaphysical constructions are plausible and not particularly surprising. It could also be that progressives’ worship of abortion generally reflexively leads them to extend it beyond merely the womb into their wider thinking, snuffing out reason as easily and guilt-free as an unwanted baby.
This is why they reflexively reject common-sense prescriptions such as training and arming teachers to protect their schools, or the NRA’s observation that “the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In their worldview, introducing guns into any situation in which the goal is to reduce their illicit use is, why, just plain crazy! Never mind the fact that virtually all of the mass murders over the past several years have been committed in “Gun-free Zones.”
Moreover, because they are prisoners of an ideology that grants guns an inherent moral autonomy, liberals will continue to advocate for the enforcement and further establishment of such ill-considered measures which make already vulnerable populations such as school children and movie-goers less safe than they could be.
The relatively new focus on the role of mental illness in otherwise random murder certainly is a welcome addition to the debate. However thus far, Constitution and liberty-loving Americans have not given sufficient attention this demonstrable irrationality of gun control supporters. To summarize:
- They doggedly cling to policy prescriptions that manifestly don’t work (I will take God, guns and religion any day), yet they continue to argue for more of the same -- NB: definition of insanity: doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result;
- Their preferred laws empower criminals and crazies to the peril of law-abiding people;
- They do this because….
- In their hearts they are animated by the implicit belief that guns have minds and souls.
Taking a page from Donald Trump’s playbook, this argument should be forcefully and merrily advanced by those who seek to lead the Republican Party and indeed the Republic, knowing full well the indignant, ad hominem fury it will provoke and be ready to meet such invective tit-for-tat. Gun-grabbers must be boldly criticized for ignoring the reality that criminals, by definition, pay no attention to laws and mentally ill people often lack the capacity or inclination to abide by laws and other social conventions. In other words, gun control laws exclusively impinge upon legal gun owners, making their lives more onerous, expensive, dependent and risk-filled, all while doing nothing to actually stop violence.
By explicitly exposing the magical thinking that generates liberals’ views on gun laws, conservatives and particularly Republicans who would be President should also make the case that the greater failure of the progressive vision increasingly manifest in all major cities and states run by Democrats is due to a general embrace of a results-free world view, contrasting the dismal outcomes of Democrat programs to the reality-based policies of Republican leaders across the country which have and are leading states like Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana to greater prosperity for their citizens.
Democrats have proved that ridicule can be a powerful weapon. It’s time Republicans learned to wield it -- with gusto.