Giving Government and Criminals a Monopoly on Violence

For the last few weeks, America has been greatly saddened by the massacre of innocent schoolkids in Parkland, Florida by a lone gunman using an AR-15 rifle.  In reaction to this atrocity, there has been an outpouring of sadness around the loss of innocent life and also a fierce debate around the issue of gun control.  Cooler heads have remained silent to give time for those who have suffered to mourn and enable a calm and thoughtful debate concerning public policy as regards guns.  Watching the debate unfold, we clearly see how deeply unintelligent or simplistic the arguments for gun control have become.  These arguments can be summed up simply as "guns are so bad that only criminals and government can have them" – thus obtaining a monopoly on violence.

The political aftermath of the Parkland shooting has been liberal-led mass hysteria about guns, with many expressing outrage on how the gunman was able to purchase the weapon and calling for stricter gun control, such as better background checks, raising the minimum age to own a gun, an "assault weapons" ban, etc.  All of these proposals are based on the idea of "we must do something," which seems to be a misguided and panicky approach to public policy.

While we must do something to prevent this from happening again, before acting, we must reflect on the issues at hand, because it is not only about guns.  The entire interpretive key to this debate is how lax or nonexistent guns laws were many decades ago, and yet, as research suggests, we didn't see this level of gun crime or mass shootings.

The question should be, what has changed in the last few decades, which have seen a rise in the number of mass shootings?  It's possible that the reason could be advances in weapons design – today guns are deadlier and pack a lot more punch.  The availability of guns could be another reason, as is the case that we can buy guns much more easily, and the quantity and quality of guns are much greater than in earlier decades.          

Another issue involving the question of what has changed involves mental health, as academia has found a link between mental illness and mass shootings.  Around 60% of gunmen in mass shootings in the United States since 1900 through 2017 have had documented mental problems.  In the United States, mental health has a serious treatment gap.  Also not discussed is that virtually all the perpetrators of the mass shootings are men.

But there are more issues as well, like state-backed policies, such as the destruction of the family as the key unit in our society.  We could also mention the disregard for life evinced by policies like abortion and euthanasia.  The continued campaign for drug liberalization without considering the consequences, particularly if someone with a mental disorder abuses them, adds yet another factor.

Addressing the "gun problem" without addressing these other issues that may provide an explanation for the rise in mass shootings is a huge mistake.  Examining all the data relating to mass shootings reveals a considerable spike during the sexual revolution years, so this is not a "gun only" problem.

If we focus only on guns and implement public policies accordingly, then there is one logical conclusion where all of this will end – the banning of guns.  Liberals may deny this, but no one should be surprised, since many Democratic Party voters clearly interpret the phrase "gun control" as "banning guns."  

The English bill of rights of 1689 enshrined the right of subjects of the English crown to own guns for their defense.  Our Founders were conscious of this idea and adopted the 2nd Amendment to safeguard that right.  While there is no doubt we must take action to prevent school shootings from ever happening again, it cannot be a gun-only solution, because that is to embark on a slippery slope toward the outright banning of guns.  In this day and age, when we have government pursuing basically the death penalty without due process through euthanasia, when our cherished ordered liberty is under threat, government and criminals must not have a monopoly on violence.

Ojel L. Rodriguez (@ojelrodriguez), AKC is a freelance writer and graduate from King's College, London.