This is part three in my ongoing series challenging a simplistic pro-Bernie blog that is aimed at and popular with young people. I Like Bernie, But… states questions that worried Progressives might have about Bernie Sanders and gives short, usually highly misleading answers to those questions.
I started a new blog, entitled I Don’t Like Bernie, Because. . ., and have already written posts challenging the way in which the I Like Bernie team pretended (a) that Bernie is not a socialist; (b) that his tax plans, rather than killing the economy, will enrich all but the rich; and (c) that he can successfully socialize American medicine. (You can also read those posts in Bookworm Room, here, here, and here.) Those were easy posts, because one just had to take on the lies and misdirection.
A more interesting question is Bernie on gun control. Bernie has been very uneven on that subject, sometimes voting for more gun control and sometimes voting against it (with his last few votes leaning more strongly in favor of gun control). The I Like Bernie crowd seeks to assure people that Bernie really hates the Second Amendment. I went a different way in my I Don’t Like Bernie post: I want to convince young Progressives that they’re most safe in a Second Amendment world. Here is a reprint of that post:
Why it’s no compliment to Bernie that the NRA hates him
The website I Like Bernie, But… seeks to address concerns that voters might have about Bernie Sanders, and to assure them that his plans work, that he’s electable, and that his vision his sound. Previous posts on this blog have addressed the I Like Bernie take on his socialism (yes, he’s a socialist, not a Democrat) and his tax and spend plans (which are great if you want to kill the economy). This post takes on the I Like Bernie discussion about Bernie and guns.
The question asked is “Isn’t he too weak on gun control?” No, the I Like Bernie team hastens to assure readers, he’s not. The Brady Campaign loves him and the NRA hates him:
The concern about Bernie and gun control arises because of his votes on various gun control initiatives that he’s voted on during his years in the Senate:
- Voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains. (Apr 2009)
- Voted YES on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership. (Sep 2007)
- Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
- Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
- Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
As you can see, barring his “no” vote on decreasing waiting periods, that’s a pretty gun supportive record, which is definitely off-putting to Progressives. Seeing which way the political wind has been blowing on his side of the bench, though, by 2013, Sanders was starting to join the Progressive caucus on gun issues:
In 2013, he voted for an expansive ban on assault weapons and came out in favor of universal background checks. It is votes such as the 2013 one, and his a 1994 vote on automatic weapons that leave Second Amendment proponents dubious about Bernie’s trustworthiness on gun rights:
It seems Sanders, for his part, ran afoul of the organization in 1994, when he voted for a bill that would have banned 19 varieties of semiautomatic assault weapons. According to Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist, voting in favor of banning any kind of firearm is, in the eyes of the NRA, unredeemable. “Unless you vote the other way later on,” he adds.
Ultimately, despite I Like Bernie‘s assurances that Bernie will ban guns, the reality is that he seems to shoot from the hip (pun intended) on that one:
On Sunday, Sanders sought the middle ground in an interview on CNN. “We need a sensible debate about gun control,” he said. “Folks who do not like guns are fine, but we have millions of gun owners in this country who are law-abiding citizens.”
“The truth is, Bernie hasn’t enunciated a coherent position on gun rights,” says the former NRA lobbyist Feldman. “With him, it’s reading tea leaves.”
Since you’re here, reading this post, I assume that you’re a voter leaning towards Bernie, but genuinely curious for more information about his positions — curious enough to read material that says he doesn’t have what it takes to keep America strong and free. I also assume, though, that you think the Second Amendment is an antiquated idea and that we should get rid of guns entirely, leaving them only in police hands (the same police, I might add, that the Black Lives Matter movement accuses of engaging in the mass slaughter of blacks).
Given what I assume is your spirit of open inquiry, I’d like to suggest to you that Bernie is being smarter when he supports gun rights than when he opposes them. Bear with me on this one. Read what I have to say. Think about it and then, if you disagree, leave a polite rebuttal in the comments.
Here’s the most important thing you need to know, because you’re the kind of person who wants to decrease gun deaths: guns are at their most deadly when government has complete control over them.
Data proves this point. Let’s walk through the numbers for the last 110 years or so. This analysis looks at the effectiveness of non-government murderers who do not have guns; non-government murders who do have guns; and governments that murder, with guns of course. The numbers may surprise you.
First, here is information about the worst mass murders committed by people or corporations who used instruments other than guns to carry out the killing:
- The worst psychopathic individual mass murderer who did not use a gun: Gameel al-Batouti. On October 31, 1999, he cried out “Allahu Akbar” as he piloted a plane full of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 217 people.
- The worst ideologically driven collective of mass murderers who did not use guns: The 19 al Qaeda members who, on September 11, 2001, used box cutters to hijack four planes, crashed three of those planes into three buildings and one plane into a field, killing 2,996 people in a matter of hours.
- The worst corporate mass murderer that did not use guns: In December 1984, the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, accidentally released toxic gas from its facility, killing 3,787 people.
CONCLUSION: When dedicated mass murderers use something other than guns, they’re able to achieve deaths that range from a few hundred dead to a few thousand dead.
Second, here is information about people or corporations who committed mass murder using guns:
- The worst psychopathic individual mass murderer who did use a gun: Anders Behring Breivik who, on July 22, 2011, shot and killed 69 people in Norway – mostly teenagers. This rampage came after he’d already set off a bomb, killing 8 people. Norway has strict gun control.
- The worst ideologically driven collective mass murderers who did use guns: Given Islamists’ tendency to use all weapons available to shoot as many people as possible in as many countries as they can, this is a tough one to call. I believe, though, that the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 is the largest ideologically driven mass murder that relied solely on guns. Throughout the city of Mumbai, Islamic terrorists engaged in a coordinated attack that killed 154 people. The unbelievably bloody and shocking mall shooting that al Shabaab staged in Kenya killed only 63 people, and the Paris Massacre in November 2015 claimed only 130 lives.
- The worst corporate mass murder that did use guns: I can’t find any. To the extent that numerous workers died in any given 19th century labor dispute, those deaths occurred because state government, siding with management, sent out the state’s militia to disperse the strikers. For example, in November 1887, in Thibodaux, Louisiana, the state militia killed between 35 and 300 black sugar plantation strikers. The 20th and 21st century did not offer such examples.
CONCLUSION: When individual killers or small groups of killers rely on guns, their effectiveness is limited, compared to those who use planes or bombs. In addition, corporations (outside of crazed Hollywood movies) drop out of the running entirely.
Before moving on to those entities that rack up the highest body counts with guns (that would be governments), let’s summarize the above information and make a few additional points about murderous individuals with guns: Both individuals (singularly and collectively) and corporations can kill. However, even when given optimal killing situations (e.g., acts of terrorism or corporate negligence), the numbers stay in the low thousands – and sink even further when guns are involved.
I can already anticipate that you’ve pointing out an obvious hole in the above data, and that’s the most common gun-death situation in America: Adding up small killing events (a murder here, a murder there), which results in a lot of dead bodies. Believe it or not, though, those numbers are (a) not as bad as you think; (b) mostly falling, not rising, as legal gun ownership increases; and (c) driven more by urban culture than gun ownership.
Let’s start by adding up America’s annual murder statistics from 1960 through 2012. Over that 52-year period, the total number of Americans killed is 914,191. (This number encompasses all murders, not just those with guns, but we’ll still use it as the most extreme illustration of Americans’ alleged propensity to violence.)
Even if we assume the most extreme scenario, that America has had a stable murder rate of 914,191 murdered citizens per every 50 years, Americans would still have managed to commit only around 4,000,000 murders in 233 years, using all weapons available.
That seems like a big number but, as you’re about to find out, it’s not really. As you’ll see, the serious killers in the last century haven’t been individuals or small groups.
The serious killers have been governments acting against unarmed (usually disarmed) citizens. Here is the damning data showing what happens when armed governments are able to turn on their own citizens or engage in genocidal attacks against specifically selected religious, cultural, or racial groups – all of them unarmed and defenseless.
Turkey: In 1915, the Turkish government ordered and carried out the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians.
Soviet Union: In the 1920s through mid-1930s, the Soviet government under Stalin declared war on the independent Ukrainian farmers known as Kulaks. Through government engineered starvation, deportation, and execution, enforced with Soviet gun power, the Soviets are estimated to have killed approximately 7 million Kulaks.
The Kulaks were just one group who died off in a specific mass killing. In fact, nobody really knows how many of its unarmed citizens the Soviet Union killed, whether using starvation, outright execution, or penal colonies. Estimates range from 7 million to 20 million people dying due to the Soviet government’s policies and purges.
China in the 1960s through 1970s: When it comes to a government killing its own citizens, the Soviets were pikers compared to the Chinese. Current estimates for those who died during the Great Leap Forward due to government engineered famine, executions, and slave labor, range from between 23 million to 46 million unarmed Chinese. Some estimates (outliers, admittedly) posit even 50 million or more Chinese dying to appease Chairman Mao’s statist vision.
Nazi Germany, from 1933-1945: You knew I’d get to the Nazis, of course. Not satisfied with purging their own country of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and handicapped people, the Nazis conquered Europe from France to Poland to Denmark and embarked upon a purge in those countries too.
Without exception, the civilians that the Nazis targeted were already unarmed (voluntarily or involuntarily), losing their weapons either before the Nazis came to power (Jews in the Pale, the large area between Russia and Poland, were never allowed arms) or ended up disarmed when the Nazis achieved power.
With their pick of helpless victims, the Nazis killed 6 million Jews; 250,000 gypsies; 220,000 homosexuals, and, through slave labor, executions, and starvation, as many as 10 million Slavic people. (The number of handicapped people killed is unknown.) As an aside, when the Nazi gun-control gang got the bit in their teeth and went to war, the war itself resulted in the deaths of another 19,315,000 Europeans who weren’t targeted because of race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability but who were, instead, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cambodia: Following the Cambodian Civil War, Pol Pot rose to power in Cambodia. Once in power, in the years between 1975 and 1979, his government killed between 1.7 and 2.2 million of its own unarmed citizens, out of a population of around 8 million people. Were the U.S. to have a Pol Pot moment today, that would be the equivalent of having the federal government kill 66 million to 85 million people in four years.
North Korea: Nobody knows how many North Koreans (none of whom are allowed arms) have died since the murderous Kim regime came into power. One estimate is that 1,293,000 North Koreans have died at their government’s hands. That number, of course, is entirely separate from the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans residing in concentration camps throughout that hellish little nation.
The above are the government-engineered mass murders that spring most readily to my mind. I’ve obviously left out many that properly belong on the list, everything from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, to Cuba, to just about every tin-pot dictatorship in Africa and Latin America. ISIS also isn’t on the list yet, but the death toll in regions it controls is mounting. (And ISIS, to give its sadistic imagination credit, uses guns to intimidate, but enjoys creative murders involving tall buildings, drowning, burning, beheading, etc.)
If you would like the full body of statistics for government-engineered mass murders in the 20th and 21st centuries, I recommend R. J. Rummel’s Statistics of Democide, which examines the kill rate of 214 regimes. I’ve picked my way through some of this opus and, even though Rummel’s writing is scholarly not scintillating, I was able to catch the depressing gist: governments kill and, given the chance, they kill often, in staggering numbers.
So think about this: as a Progessive, you are worried about leaving guns in the hands of individuals who can manage, only with spectacular effort or negligence, to kill people in fairly low numbers, with Mumbai coming in at the top with more than 150 dead. At the same time, you desperately want to hand all weapons over to the government, leaving the population unarmed, despite compelling evidence showing that armed governments with an unarmed population at their mercy kill in the millions, with a few million dead here and another fifty million dead there.
Stalin spoke from personal experience when he said “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” It’s fine to cry over the tragedies, but you really should direct your energy to avoiding the statistics.
Here’s the second most important thing you need to know: The Second Amendment exists because Revolutionary-era Americans fully understood that government is always the greatest threat to individual lives and safety.
Looking back at the American Revolution, it’s easy to assume that the result — an American victory — was a foregone conclusion. In fact, right up until the bitter end, the outcome could have gone either way. After all, the colonists had taken up arms against the most powerful military in the world. Anyone placing bets in 1776 or 1778 would have been smart to wager against the revolutionaries.
Moreover, if the revolutionaries had lived in the home country of England, it’s likely that those placing bets against the revolution would have been correct. England, an old, stable culture that had weathered a devastating revolution slightly more than 100 years before, was not much given to having individual citizens bearing arms. (Indeed, one writer has posited that the rebellion began in part because the British sought to disarm the colonists.)
It was only in the Americas, far from “civilization,” that guns were a necessity. One does not go into the frontier unarmed. Too many people had untamed forests pressing against their fragile communities to manage without at least one musket, rifle, or pistol in their possession.
Because of their circumstances, the American colonists didn’t just possess arms; they knew how to use them. While George Washington despaired of turning his volunteers into a well-drilled, spit-and-polish military, the one thing he didn’t have to worry about was weapons training. His rag-tag army knew how to load, aim, and shoot (especially those Tennessee mountain boys). If the Continental Congress could provide the bullets, many of the colonists willingly provided their own guns and know-how.
The Revolutionary war had ended eight years before by the time the Founders enacted the Bill of Rights. It was in that context – the aftermath of a small colony’s successful revolution against the most powerful nation in the world – that the Founders determined that American citizens would never again be subordinate to, rather than in control of, their government.
For this reason, the first ten amendments to the Constitution do not define government power; they limit it. And more importantly, they limit it, not by having the government graciously extend a few privileges to America’s citizens, privileges that the government can as easily revoke, but instead by stating rights that are individuals automatically possess without regard to the government’s powers.
The second of these amendments – and that only one which is dedicated exclusively to a single principle, rather than a blend of related principles – refers to every citizen’s inherent (not government granted, but inherent) right to possess arms:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
If the Second Amendment were written in modern English, the Founders might have phrased it this way:
The only way citizens can defend themselves against a tyrannical government is to create their own army (which, obviously, is separate from the government’s army). The people therefore have an overarching and innate right to have guns, and the government may not interfere with that right.
I know, I know! You want me to explain that bit about a “well regulated militia” phrase. You’ve been taught that the Second Amendment allows guns only if each gun holder gets together with other gun owners on a regular basis to create an army, complete with drilling and officers and such-like. (Of course, it’s worth noting that, when groups do precisely that, they’re denounced as proto-military terrorist organizations and the government uses its armed might to shut those groups down.)
Little “People’s Armies” weren’t what the Founders had in mind back in 1791. Then, although the federal government was small and weak, the Founders nevertheless worried that American citizens might in the future need to rebel against a government that had grown too powerful.
The revolutionaries’ own experience had shown them that citizens don’t need to have a standing militia, that is always ready to fight. Instead, the citizens must only have the ability to come together as a well-regulated militia on an “as needed” basis (the need being the necessity to secure individual freedom against government). This ability to transform from peaceful citizens into an effective militia when needed requires a citizenry that, on its own initiative, is both well-armed and competent with those arms.
Here’s another good thing about those Second Amendment weapons we possess: Imagine a Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or Pol Pot somehow attaining the White House through the ordinary election process. (And if you’re a Progressive, I know that you worry that Donald Trump will be a Hitler, so consider this a real worry on your part.)
Because Americans would never elect someone who announced in advance his intention to become a murderous dictator, that candidate would have campaigned dishonestly, so as to sound as if he supported a free, republican democracy. The only tip-off that he in fact intended to govern without the consent of the governed would be his running on the Leftist platform of disarming all citizens (which, I’m sorry to say, kind of lets Trump of the hook, but puts Hillary and Bernie in the “should we be worried” spotlight).
The Founders understood that every government has the potential to become tyrannical (although they couldn’t have predicted in their wildest dreams the mad scope of worldwide government killing in the 20th and 21st centuries). They therefore embedded in the Bill of Rights the ultimate barrier against tyranny: an armed population that, if needed, can instantly transform itself into a citizen army.
Yes, some of those armed citizens will do bad things with their guns, but even at their worst, they are insignificant killers compared to rogue governments. As a matter of principle, supported by data, an armed citizenry is safer than an unarmed one when it comes to the biggest, most blood-thirsty, most deadly predator known to man: Government.
Here’s the third thing you need to know about guns: Legal guns, in honest citizens’ hands, are the best defense against race-based murders.
Every black person knows that there is one American subgroup that dies more from gunshots than any other group in America: blacks, especially young black males. (Incidentally, if you remove this group from American gun-death statistics, America could be some peaceful European country when it comes to gun deaths.)
Progressives respond to these tragic numbers by demanding ever greater gun control and claiming that anyone who opposes gun control is a racist. Then, when they achieve that gun control (as they have in Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, etc.), they are perplexed that black youths die in ever greater numbers in the cities with the most gun control. The only fix they can imagine is more gun control on an ever greater scale.
I’d like to suggest that the answer lies with the simply stated NRA principle that, “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Real-time data shows that, when law-abiding citizens in black communities are also armed, the bad guys quickly start slinking away.
In 1991, Americans killed each other in the greatest numbers ever: 24,700 Americans died that year at the hands of other Americans. Since then, the numbers have declined steadily. In 2011, only 14,661 Americans were murdered, a 40% crime drop that reverted America to murder numbers last seen in around 1969, when 14,760 Americans were murdered. (There was an uptick in urban murder rates in 2015, which may have had to do with police becoming passive in the face of the Black Lives Movement, but that’s a subject for another post, with its own analysis.) As John Lott has pointed out with almost mind-numbing repetitiveness, what happened since 1991 and today is that law-abiding Americans armed themselves in ever greater numbers.
So what do declining gun crime statistics have to do with my claim that making it easier for law-abiding citizens to have legal guns is the opposite of being racist? It’s simple: People who are not racist want blacks to live and thrive in safe environments — and those environments are best created and sustained when the predators are kept at bay by armed, law-abiding citizens.
Incidentally, one of the things you might not have learned in school is that the Democrat party has always worked hard to keep guns from blacks. This is true for the slave era (Democrats were the slavery party), post-Reconstruction (Democrats controlled the South), Jim Crow (Democrats controlled the South), and present day inner cities (the most crime-ridden of which are all Democrat strongholds).
Except for a few racist, Southern-Democrat chapters, the NRA fought against black disarmament, reasoning correctly that giving blacks guns would protect them against slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow generally. (For more on the subject, read Ann Coulter’s article about gun rights and blacks, in which she summarizes with her usual élan the way in which the anti-black Southern hegemony worked hard to keep guns out of black hands in order to control and terrorize them more effectively. You may hate Coulter, and you’re within your rights to do so, but she’s got the facts on this subject.)
To sum it up, if you’re not a racist, you want American blacks to live and to thrive. They can do this only in safe communities and the safest black communities have always been those in which moral, law-abiding black citizens have been armed.
Here’s the fourth thing you’ll find hard to believe but that’s true about gun rights: The safest communities are those with a strong moral compass and a lot of guns.
This section basically summarizes the principles set out in the three sections, above. An armed society is protected against its government, and armed moral, law-abiding citizens are protected from the predators amongst them. If you doubt that, just look at England: Once it banned guns, it became a country with violent crime and murder rates consistent with South Africa’s – and that’s not something any civilized country wants to boast about.
The current Progressive political stance is to demand total disarmament because “one death is one too many.” That is a naive and unrealistic demand that results in more deaths, rather than fewer.
Mankind’s civilized veneer is thin at best. Turn on the news or read a history book and you’ll be reminded that human beings are infinitely creative when it comes to killing. If I felt so inclined, I could kill someone by coming upon them when they’re asleep and stabbing them repeatedly in the eyeball with a Bic pen. (Don’t worry; I’m not planning this but, rather, positing the possibility.) The gun’s invention added to man’s repertoire, but it didn’t change his inclination to kill.
What the gun did change is that it increased people’s ability to defend against the predators among us. If a huge man gives every indication that he intends to use his ham-like hands and jackbooted feet to beat me to death, or that wicked knife to stab me to death, my best defense as a small woman is several gunshots fired off before he can close in on me. Likewise, an armed homeowner can stop the intruder at the door before a murder, rape, or robbery even has time to get started. (This video effectively makes that point.)
Putting all guns in police hands is not the answer and that’s true even if one ignores the fact that too many governments have a nasty habit of committing mass murder, For one thing, even nice, neighborhood cops can get the bad idea that they’re “the King of the world” if they’re running around tanks, armed to the teeth, while unarmed citizens meekly obey them.
In addition, unless the gun violence is part of a rolling dispute that takes place over a long period of time, cops usually get to the scene long after the mayhem is finished. The NRA summed up this practical reality by saying “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” Indeed, if you have a Hurricane Katrina situation, the police may be days, weeks, or months away.
Bad things happen. That’s life. But it’s certain that, on the whole, the best way for good people to defend themselves against bad people is for the good people to be armed. And maybe I’m naive, but when I look at Americans, I believe that there are many more good people than predators.
This principle isn’t undermined by the stories that routinely appear about kids dying tragically from a gun accident at home. Just as the problem in World War II wasn’t the guns but was the Nazis, too often the problem in those homes isn’t the guns it’s the parents. These are the homes in which parents use drugs or too much alcohol around the children, the homes that don’t have smoke detectors, the homes with small children that nevertheless have unprotected access to swimming pools, and of course the homes in which parents don’t follow basic gun safety rules. Their kids are unsafe under any circumstances.
Additionally, sometimes freak accidents just happen, with or without guns. I remember in the 1980s, in Texas, a woman died instantly when she tripped in her living room and crashed into her old sliding glass door, which shattered into razor-like shards, one of which severed her aorta. There is no such thing as perfect safety.
Even factoring in crimes, carelessness, and chance, the reality is that people are most safe when they have a gun. It is the best means by which they can defend themselves against all predators: humans, animals, ideologues, and governments.
The fifth thing you need to know about gun control is this: Those advocating gun control need to lie to promote their cause — which should tell you that their cause is invalid.
As I’ll demonstrate below, when Progressives push gun control, they do so using false data. If you have to falsify data to support your position, you don’t have a case. It’s as simple as that.
Here are just some examples:
Gun control supporters published a Google map purporting to show 74 gun murders at American schools since the Newtown shooting in December 2012. Here’s that map:
People who are afraid of guns find this map terrifying. It obviously shows that our children aren’t going to schools; they’re going to shooting ranges — and they’re the targets. The problem, of course, is that the map is based upon a lie, and the lie is that almost none of those little flags are school shootings of the type that happened in Columbine (or, after the map was published, up in Oregon).
Charles C.W. Cooke summed up the problems with the map, noting that the Washington Post exposes some of them, while Charles Johnson exposes the rest:
The Post is admirably clear that the map includes both colleges and schools, that it counts “any instance in which a firearm was discharged within a school building or on school grounds,” and that the data isn’t “limited to mass shootings like Newtown.” This point has also been made forcefully by Charles C. Johnson, who yesterday looked into each of the 74 incidents and noted that not only did some of them not take place on campuses but that “fewer than 7 of the 74 school shootings listed by #Everytown are mass shootings,” that one or more probably didn’t happen at all, that at least one was actually a case of self-defense, and that 32 could be classified as “school shootings” only if we are to twist the meaning of the term beyond all recognition.
Why would gun-control advocates lie like this? Simple. The facts don’t support the premise that America’s schools are being turned into daily bloodbaths because of armed and crazed students. If you don’t have those useful facts, you have to invent them.
Here’s another lie, one that our president himself voiced: In a speech on June 10, 2014, after another headline about white people getting shot, President Obama said, “We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens, and it happens now once a week. . . . I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts, there’s no advanced developed country on earth that would put up with this.” He added at another point in his speech that this level of killing is “becoming the norm.”
President Obama made that point again at the end of November 2015, after a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic that left three dead, stating, ” I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings. This just doesn’t happen in other countries.” Two weeks before, men armed with guns committed a mass shooting in Paris that killed 130 people — so it does happen in other countries and in very terrible ways.
Given President Obama’s statements, it bears repeating here that, contrary to the sense that mass murder is omnipresent in America (a sense driven by the immediacy of internet news), our average murder levels have declined, returning us to numbers last seen in 1969. We’re not getting more violent, we’re getting significantly less violent.
And while we all learned in school that correlation isn’t causation, there’s compelling evidence from Western nations the world over, not to mention the individual American states, that violence goes down when legal gun ownership goes up, and that violence goes up when legal gun ownership goes down. That’s a pretty strong correlation/causation argument.
President Obama is also wrong to imply that mass murders are getting more common in America. Yes, last year was a bad year, but the reality is that, absent Islamist attacks (which can be likened to acts of war, rather than crazed mass murders), mass murders are not on the rise. They are now, as they always have been, statistical outliers that cannot be predicted by pointing to any trends.
Let me reiterate the point I made at the beginning of this section: You know you’re right if your opponent’s only evidence is fraudulent.
To sum things up, it’s entirely possible that everything you’ve ever believed about guns and gun control is wrong, and that Bernie’s occasionally pro-gun rights stance is a virtue, not a problem.
Any honest gun rights supporter will freely concede that guns can be used for evil purposes. What those who seek to control guns refuse to admit, though, is that history and crime statistics establish with almost boring repetition a few facts supporting more, not fewer, legal guns:
Individuals with guns are (thankfully) inefficient killers when compared to individuals who use other ends to achieve their murderous goals (bombs, cars, planes, etc.). Even a few individuals working in concert cannot kill more than a few hundred people at a time. (And yes, that’s a few hundred too many, but it’s still less than innocents on the wrong ends of bombs, planes, etc.)
Armed governments facing off against their unarmed populations are massively efficient killers, often leaving tens of millions of dead bodies in their wake.
In the modern era, no government has attempted to go full-bore totalitarian when its citizens are armed.
Communities that have more law-abiding citizens with guns than criminals with guns are safe communities, a reality that would most benefit black Americans.
The bottom line is one that will make you feel uncomfortable, but that is nevertheless true: Guns kill . . . and that’s a good thing. By doing so, they serve as a bulwark protecting individual citizens from predatory people and governments. That’s why individual citizens must strongly defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms, resisting all government efforts to grab their guns, something that would leave them vulnerable, not only to criminals and jihadists, but to the government itself.
And if I’ve convinced you about this, perhaps you ought to rethink your support of candidates who promise to take away all privately owned guns (and that includes Bernie), leaving all guns solely in government hands, and give another look at candidates who believe that the vast majority of Americans are good people, who will not (and have not, given the 300 million privately owned guns already in existence) turn America into a giant shooting gallery, complete with human targets. Sadly, those shooting galleries do exist in America, but they’re confined to Democrat- and gun-controlled inner cities.