A liberal accused me of being un-empathetic — indeed, utterly heartless — because I continue to support the Second Amendment as written and because I think it’s a dreadful idea to ban all guns but for revolvers. (Incidentally, did you know that the Dunblane shooter got around the problem of a limited bullet capacity by bringing multiple weapons to that small Scottish school?) The logic was that I could show I cared for the bottomless grief the survivors are suffering only by granting the bereaved parents the balm of doing away with the object that ultimately caused their children’s death.
It occurred to me this morning that, if we ban guns, we must also ban school buses, or at least make them extremely small (no more than two children, at most). Unlike guns, which tend to inflict harm on a broad variety of people, school buses have a target audience — school children. School buses have been pretty darn bad news for school children over the years. The evidence is overwhelming that buses kill, both at home and abroad:
February 28, 1958: Twenty-six children killed in a school bus crash in Kentucky.
May 21, 1967: Twenty-eight children killed in a school bus crash in California.
September 22, 1989: Nineteen children killed in a school bus crash in Texas.
August 6, 2010: One child killed in a school bus crash in Missouri
April 2, 2011: One child killed in a school bus crash in Minnesota
September 3, 2011: One child killed in a school bus crash in Alabama.
September 27, 2011: Approximately thirty-five children killed in a school bus crash in Pakistan.
November 16, 2011: Eighteen kindergarteners killed in a school bus crash in China.
December 13, 2011: Fifteen children killed in another school bus crash in China.
February 16, 2012: One child killed in a school bus crash in New Jersey.
March 12, 2012: One child killed in a school bus crash in Indiana.
September 7, 2012: Two children killed in a school bus crash in Nebraska.
October 30, 2012: Two children killed in a school bus crash in Kentucky.
November 17, 2012: Forty-nine children killed in a school bus crash in Egypt.
That’s just a short list, but the message is unmistakable: It’s deadly to consolidate so many young children in a single mobile unit. Moreover, given that the buses are on the road (dangerous), are out in all kinds of weather (dangerous), have no defenses against other drivers (dangerous), are filled with fuel (dangerous), have limited maneuverability (dangerous), and are often driven by people who are elderly (dangerous) or substance abusers (dangerous) it’s absolutely appalling that we haven’t taken steps to ban school buses or at least to make them so small that the maximum number of children who can be killed doesn’t exceed two or three.
I am, quite obviously, being facetious. By making this list, I do not mean to minimize the many individual tragedies these school bus deaths represent, nor do I wish to downplay the tragedies of school shootings. I am simply pointing out that many things in this world are dangerous, but we accept these risks because they come paired with utility.
Parents like school buses because they save parents’ time or because they make school attendance possible where the absence of a bus might have made it impossible. Greenies like school buses because even one dirty bus produces less CO2 than dozens of cars making the daily trek to and from schools. We do what we can to make buses safe, but we recognize that bad luck, weather conditions, drunk or careless drivers, heart attacks, malfunctioning train crossings, etc., all mean that every time we load our children onto the bus there’s the chance they won’t come home.
Like buses, guns serve a utilitarian purpose. The Second Amendment recognizes the most fundamental purpose, which is to protect us from our own government. I can’t know for certain, but I’m willing to bet that the citizens in North Korea would love to be armed.
While Leftists fear corporations, they seem to have missed entirely the fact that there is no entity more dangerous than an absolute government. No corporation has ever managed to kill or imprison tens of millions of its own citizens. In the 20th Century alone, though, dictators who disarmed their citizens easily managed to do so in places as diverse as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Cambodia, Cuba, North Korea, and enormous chunks of Africa and South America.
Aside from protecting people against the single greatest threat to their lives and freedom, guns also protect people from the threat of bad individuals: robbers, rapists, gang bangers, crazy people, and other random killers. The statistics are completely consistent: provided that the armed society is a genuine democracy, more guns mean less crime. The biggest deterrent to gun crime isn’t disarmament, it’s a healthy culture. In America our culture is medium healthy.
One of the factors we can’t control and that is, for the most part, a good thing, is our diversity. For hundreds of years, we have welcomed people from all over the world into America. They bring their cultural norms and their prejudices. Up until political correctness came along, we tried to smooth all these diverse people into a single American identity, which may have helped keep crime down. Now, we don’t bother, so that people can cling to the violent habits and hostilities they brought from their home countries.
Another factor is the unending diet of movies, TV shows, music, and games that tell people — especially impressionable young people — that using guns for murder sprees is cool and fun. Ironically, this “entertainment” originates with Progressives who are thrilled about pretend guns, hate real guns, and can’t deal with the fact that their fantasies affect ordinary people’s realities.
Putting aside civil rights and culture, we also have to be realistic when it comes to guns: there is no way on earth that we can have an effective gun ban in America. Ban legal guns, and you just end up with millions of illegal guns. Think about this: if we can’t stop 180 pound males from crossing our southern border daily on a regular basis, and we are completely unable to stem the tide of marijuana and cocaine that crosses that same border, how in the world do those who want to ban guns think we’re going to stop the flow of weapons from Latin America into America? The only thing a gun ban would do would be to ensure that the bad guys are armed and the good guys (who far outnumber the bad guys) are not.
I’ve also heard gun owners called cowardly. Leftists just think it’s unfair for a good guy to have more fire power than a bad guy. That’s why American troops weren’t allowed to use their strength and training to overwhelm al Qaeda. Asymmetrical warfare is “unfair,” regardless of the fact that the under-armed bad guy is malevolently evil, while the “over-armed” good guy will save hundreds of thousands of lives if he is given free rein to use his weapons advantage.
In martial arts, we’re taught that, if we’re in a genuinely dangerous situation, there are no rules for disabling an attacker. The martial artists I know, most of whom are liberals, would fall on the floor laughing if someone said “Come on, guys. If you’re attacked by a big guy who doesn’t know martial arts, you shouldn’t use all your skills against him because that wouldn’t be a fair fight.” When life and death are involved, fair flies out the window. In the same way, it’s laughable to say that it’s cowardly for gun owners to shoot at someone who “started the fight” by breaking into their home, trying to choke them, or car jacking them.
If I were king of the world, I would make gun safety classes mandatory in all public schools. They’d be like driver ed classes: the students wouldn’t actually handle weapons, but they would be taught about their benefits and dangers, and they’d have drilled into them rules for handling guns safely. Instead, of being forbidden fruit made enticing by the Hollywood media, they’d be viewed, quite appropriately, as useful (and sometimes fun) tools, in exactly the same way as cars and school buses.