When it comes to the Second Amendment, Leftists measure it by those who die from guns; constitutionalists measure it by those who survive thanks to guns.
With the Las Vegas massacre having reopened the endless Progressive attack against the Second Amendment, I remembered that there’s a book on the subject — my book to be precise: Our Second Amendment Rights In Ten Essays. In an attempt to inveigle you into buying it, here’s an excerpt from Essay 5: “Gun Grabbers Ignore That Guns Not Only Take Lives, They Save Lives” (end notes omitted).
5. Gun Grabbers Ignore That Guns Not Only Take Lives, They Save Lives
When it comes to guns, the gun grabbers suffer from a very bizarre limitation: Their mental horizons allow them to see only those who died because of guns, not to recognize those who did not die thanks to guns. This myopia creates the giant intellectual chasm that separates those who oppose the Second Amendment from those who support it. The former see only the people who died in the past while the latter also see the ones who will live on into the future.
Logically, we all know that people are going to die under any circumstances. Given that existential reality, the important question is not whether people will die because of guns. Instead, the important question is whether more people will live than will die thanks to guns. Leftists, however, cannot grasp that simple idea.
Perhaps it would help these gun-grabbing Leftists to read Frédéric Bastiat’s magnificent Parable of the Broken Window, which the French economist wrote in 1850. If the parable doesn’t seem relevant at first, please bear with me, and I will explain why it matters:
Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”
Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.
Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade — that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs — I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.
But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”
It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented. (Emphasis mine.)