It is fairly common rhetoric among those in favor of gun control to make a couple of assertions. The first is that without guns, violent crimes would be lessened in society and the second is that the violent crimes that do happen, they would be much less widespread and have fewer victims. Basically, they want to avoid Columbine. Who doesn’t?
- On March 23, a 42 year-old man upset about “failures in his romantic life” attacked students with a knife outside the entrance to an elementary school in Nanping, Fujian province, killing eight and wounding several more.
- On April 12, a mental patient stabbed several primary school students down the street from their school in Guangxi province, killing two and injuring five more.
- On April 28, a knife-wielding man broke into a primary school in Guangdong province and wounded 16 students and a teacher.
- The next day, April 29, a 47 year-old man barged into a kindergarten in Taixing, Jiangsu province, and stabbed 28 students, two teachers, and a security guard.
- The very next day, April 30, a local farmer entered a village school in Shandong province, carrying a hammer and a can of gasoline. He hit several preschool students on the head with the hammer before lighting himself on fire. According to Xinhua News Agency, the man went berserk after police told him that a house he had built with US$16,000 in family savings had to be torn down because it had been illegally constructed on farmland.
Additionally, a woman recently went berserk on a train and stabbed nine people.
These acts of violence, done without firearms, are comparable to some degree to the numbers hurt in school shootings like Columbine.
It seems to me that the ability for people to do similar damage without firearms puts into perspective the need to re-evaluate the reasons behind wanting to control guns. It gives authority to the saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
But if it makes no difference, why should we keep guns?
I was asked this question by a very nice lady, who is keeping me in her house this summer. My basic answer: militia.
Oh, here comes that tired old argument “if we don’t have guns, the government will overthrow our lives.” No, that’s not at all what I am saying. Firstly, we do have a 2nd amendment rights to form a militia, which, contrary to popular belief, is not put together or funded by any state or local government. Defined by our ever-reliable source, wikipedia:
The term militia (pronounced /mɨˈlɪʃə/) is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, orparamilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service.
Do I honestly think that the government is going to overrun the people? No, probably not. However, it is certainly possible, and it is that possibility that we must be ready to face at some point in our future. Government derives its power from the consent of the people. But when those people do not have the teeth to rescind their consent, they have very little right at all.
However, I will be the last to assert that all gun use is responsible. A great many people who own guns are a hazard to themselves and others around them even without malicious intent. Those who know how to use guns should teach others how to use them properly, how to respect the weapon instead of fearing it. How to use it to defend themselves and others, and for the sake of the gods, how to store them safely. The more we know about guns, the less sensationalized they become and the less likely we will see so many unwanted deaths from them.
Additionally, instead of simply depriving deranged people the opportunity to kill others, we should evaluate what it is in our society that creates such a prevalence of people who, out of desperation and fear and hatred, kill the people around them. Many people react to the China violence by saying that China is an oppressive country and they aren’t surprised that people snap. What are we, then, when we have similar things happening? Instead of making sweeping legislation that denies people rights because a few people abuse them, perhaps we should spend our time and energy attempting to understand why those people feel the need to strike out in the first place.
Maybe China and the United States aren’t as dissimilar in that as we think.
~V.A. Luttrell (Who doesn’t own a gun, but is a damn good marksman)