Authors Note: This is Part 2 of a 2 Part Series…
The problem with prohibition is that it doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work is because prohibiting a thing, such as alcohol, or drugs — which kill far more people every year than guns — or weapons, doesn’t treat the underlying issues that cause the thing to be abused or misused in the first place. The thinking seems to be that by making it illegal, human beings will magically stop being human beings, which is an hallucination we have been having long enough now that we should know better.
“There is little evidence to suggest that (the Australian mandatory gun‐buyback program) had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”
“Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”
~Wang‐Shen Lee & Sandy Suardi, University of Melbourne
Studies in places like Australia, above, have shown no appreciable result in overall gun homicides after new laws and a massive buyback were enacted. And in Russia, where private firearms are prohibited, the homicide rate is four times that of the United States – only those murders are committed with other weapons, or simply by hand. And the idea that the spikes in violent crime are exclusive to America, land of the 2nd Amendment, is a myth.
“In just 15 years, according to Interpol data, per‐capita violent crime went up almost fivefold in Norway and Greece; nearly fourfold in Australia and New Zealand. There was a clean tripling in per‐capita violent crime, in these 15 years, in Sweden. And per‐capita violent crime approximately doubled in seven other European nations.
“Some of these nations, like Norway and Sweden and Denmark, that have seen these doubling and tripling and quintupling of violent crime, they’ve been keeping track of violent crime for over a thousand years. And, never, in the last thousand years, have we seen anything remotely like this. This is unprecedented for violent crime to just double in 15 years; it’s staggering, for it to go up fivefold in 15 years.”
Grossman’s studies, convincing as they are, aren’t the last word on what is causing all of this predation in our country, and indeed around the world. But they do, it seems, outline at least a large part of the answer, and they reveal to some extent how the emotional, mostly knee‐jerk debate surrounding calculating predators who murder innocents tends to wander off the trails of cause and prevention.
“The question you need to keep asking yourself is: What is the new variable, what is the new ingredient? And, the new ingredient is that we are creating killers, we are creating sociopaths.”
For long‐term thinkers, the most alarming part of our failure to have the right conversation about the causes of predatory mass killings is that our civil liberties are put at risk. The seductive anodynes put forth by short‐term thinkers require that law‐abiding citizens sacrifice their own freedoms in a well‐meaning but clearly improbable effort to stuff the predator genie back into the bottle.
That’s true because the conversations we do have almost inevitably end up focused on guns, and perhaps most frightening to the law abiding — or anyone with a sense of liberty and its tenuous place in history — it also reveals an emotional propensity among many of our fellow citizens to surrender their freedoms to fantasy visions of “public safety”.
And “public safety,” if you haven’t noticed, has become a catchall phrase meant to justify any movement to legislate the reduction of danger in our environments. That is particularly true in the narrative over gun control, and exclusively true when the subject of control is the ubiquitous AR‐15 or its variants.
Despite the now familiar refrains for stricter gun control after every active killer event, it remains unclear how any gun ban, magazine restriction, bullet‐button, confiscation scenario, or buy‐back program will negate the sudden appearance of a bloodthirsty predator in a defenseless henhouse.
Because predation is what predators do.
There is, amongst many well‐intentioned gun‐control advocates, a sincere belief that outlawing weapons of a specific type will prevent mass killings. They believe this even though, as a matter of historical fact, knives, cars, passenger jets, ANFO bombs, and even poisoned punch have been used in acts of mass murder. And each of those methods has been used more than once.
Nevertheless, people all over the country insist that the answer to predatory violence is –- rather than addressing its causes — to outlaw a particular weapon, which means that even a law‐abiding citizen would be prohibited from its justified use in defense of themselves or others in the face of an active killer who uses the same banned weapon to kill innocents.
But 21st century citizens of the American empire are being conditioned to surrender their fundamental right to self‐preservation by ridiculous requests from various “authorities” and law‐enforcement agencies to “not take the law into your own hands,” or to “run, hide, and fight”. These pleas also serve as frank evidence that the state would prefer us all to behave like victims, and to surrender all interest and control over our own outcomes to their good offices and the Hail‐Mary hope that predators will some day cease to be predators.
Imagine the broader implications of a state that prefers, even insists, its citizens behave like sheep when a wolf comes trotting out of the forest.
In virtually any event involving matters of safety and law, the law‐abiding citizen is being encouraged to embrace the role of a barely functional emasculate, to “become a good witness”, and to avoid exercising his or her own rights, or the rights of others similarly effected, while waiting for “trained professionals” to handle any and every problem, ranging from neighbor disputes to parking lot fender benders to the sudden appearance of an active killer in a shopping mall.
Which isn’t an approach that worked well in the Florida shooting, given the FBI’s utter failure to track tell‐tale spoor left all over the trail, and which was compounded by the inaction of a school resource officer who did precious little while a wolf was rampaging through his flock.
However it is phrased, and no matter how well‐intentioned, such lemming‐think is both foolish and dangerous for responsible adults, and catastrophic for the security of a free‐society.
The more obvious problem with surrendering any right whatsoever to the government – which never stops insisting on turning its citizens into dependable and powerless victims — is that you will never get it back. Once any piece of the freedom pie is handed over, it is gone. Forever.
If you remain unconvinced, go to Wounded Knee, study what happened there, and have a think on the long‐term benefits of US government largesse in the name of public safety.
Every citizen in the United States owns, and it actually is a possession, the right to preserve not only their own safety, but the safety of others in the face of a predator. That is not a right vested solely with law enforcement, nor is it ceded anywhere in America to government agency, except perhaps in “Gun Free Zones” which exist — if only as a kind of mass hallucination — precisely because the predator element is so rife in those areas that effective self‐defense is an everyday conundrum.
How disarming in the face of inveterate, unpredictable, and widespread predation amounts to a wise move is anyone’s guess.
As a humorous aside, once, while hauling a gang member and his family to another state where they would enter federal witness protection, my partner and I strayed from the beaten path and ended up driving through a “Gun and Drug Free Zone” in Sacramento, California.
Worse, we somehow managed to get lost while hauling this gangster and his family in a rented Cruise America RV with a rodeo cowboy and visions of Monument Valley plastered all over the side of it. The gangster, who had given us murder suspects in a high profile gang killing, crept forward and asked, seriously, if we had an extra gun we could loan him while we drove around in circles looking for a way out of the badlands.
The point is that predators know how to respond to their own kind.
“The only common denominator in all these tragic massacres that have plagued our country has been exposure to violent video games. We have truly raised an assassination generation that has committed unthinkable crimes as children, and they will grow up and commit crimes as adults that we never dreamed of in our darkest nightmares.”6
Which brings me finally to the “need” equation.
Creepily, we have been hearing from opponents of firearms – particularly AR‐15s — a new trope in the gun‐control conversation. “Nobody needs an assault‐weapon,” goes the line.
Imagine the absurd circumstance of having to “demonstrate a need” to assert your civil liberties – any of them — to a government entity, particularly in the midst of a lethal predatory event. Yet this is already the case all over America, and it shows up in strange ways, such as “free speech zones” created, as always, in the name of “public safety” during controversial appearances by politicians and others.
This “declaration of need” is almost universally true in places like California, the same cratering socialist state that recently eliminated mandatory firearms enhancements for violent gun crimes while releasing tens of thousands of predators from state prisons and county jails. They did this while simultaneously demanding that law‐abiding citizens “demonstrate a need” to carry a concealed weapon for self‐defense. Predators never demonstrate a need to anyone, they simply prey on the weak.
“They whose minds are least sensitive to calamity, and whose hands are most quick to meet it, are the greatest men and the greatest communities.”
California, which mass produces much of the media that lies just off‐stage in the violent predator conversation, is not alone in its love for criminal predators or its fostering of victim‐think. And what’s worse is that we can see and hear in our national conversation that we are now being asked to accommodate predatory behaviors caused – to some uncertain degree — by constant exposure to the violent “entertainment” pumped out by a sick and decaying culture.
Disarming, or willingly surrendering the right to be functionally armed under those circumstances, can only be seen as a form of insanity.
When I walk my dogs in the woods I am aware that bears, mountain lions, and coyotes live there, and I take every precaution to provide for our safety in the event one of those predators decides to do what predators do. After a career in law enforcement I have learned to take that same view anyplace there are human beings – the world’s undisputed champion of predatory behavior. And mostly, while in the woods, I am confident that animal predators have better judgment than human beings when it comes to applying the violence they are capable of.
While we can hope that we will never find ourselves ambushed by a predator, and we take precautions to avoid it, we can’t be certain.
And if, someday, we are ambushed, what is certain is that I won’t be interested in what socio‐economic factors contributed to the creation of that predator. I won’t care how old he is or how much money he has. I won’t care what color he is or where he was born. I won’t be asking permission or formulating a needs statement, and I won’t be waiting for anyone else to solve my existential predator problem.