Friday, September 20, 2013

On Gun Rights

The right to bear guns:

Two drivers are dead after a "road rage" incident in the Ionia, Mich., area escalated into a shootout, WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids is reporting.
Witnesses told the station that one driver was following the other too closely Wednesday evening shortly before 7 p.m. when the first driver pulled into a car wash and the second followed him.
The driver of the second car then fired shots, and the first driver returned fire, leaving both of them dead, witnesses told the TV station.
The right to bear guns:

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a mass shooting at a South Side park shows why assault weapons should be banned, saying it was a "miracle" no one was killed when someone opened fire with a high-powered rifle at a pick-up basketball game.

"A military-grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable,"  McCarthy told a news conference this morning, 12 hours after a 3-year-old boy and 12 other people were shot during at Cornell Square Park. All are expected to survive.

"It's a miracle there has been no fatality," he said. "Illegal guns, illegal guns, illegal guns drive violence."

And of course the Navy Yard massacre in Washington, D.C..

If the Newtown kindergarten children's deaths made no difference in gun control, then nothing will.  I have read that the fact that some people misuse guns should not infringe on other people's right to have guns.  That would cover not only the use of guns to kill others on purpose, but also the use of guns to kill others by accident, including by toddlers.

The concept of gun rights is interesting, because the debate usually overlooks any right of others not to be shot by people who have guns.   It also ignores the fact that guns are tools and can be difficult to use correctly, that they are dangerous tools which should be stored safely and which should be removed from those who cannot use them properly.

All that is because of the religious aspect of guns, the idea that owning a gun is necessary and sufficient as a form of protection.  Perhaps "religious" is not the right term here.  What I mean is the idea that the object, "a gun, " in itself is somehow protective.  But even the police, who train in shooting, still make big mistakes with that.  Under conditions of panic, can you guarantee that you would shoot more accurately, with the minimum damage to get the outcome you need?  And can you guarantee that the gun wouldn't be taken away from you and used against you?

Solutions to this dilemma in the US are not forthcoming.  Perhaps requiring people to have insurance for their guns, the way we do with cars, would help a little. 

The point of the two quoted theories above is that the damage in those cases would have been far less without the presence of guns.  That "people kill people, guns don't kill people" is only true in the same sense as "people mow lawns, not lawnmowers" in that we could also cut the lawn with nail scissors.