By: Bill Schoettler – April 4, 2022
A recent shooting in Sacramento in which six people were reported killed has brought renewed cries for “an end to this sickness of gun violence”. What in the world can be done about it?
Well, to begin with, we should try, to be honest, and accurate. If a person with a knife slashes a bunch of people, it is not called “knife violence”. If an automobile runs into a pack of pedestrians, it is not called “automobile violence” and if a plane crash kills several people, you don’t read about “airplane violence”.
Why then is the term “gun violence” used? I suggest there are two reasons, one obvious and the other much more subtle. Let’s discuss the easiest reason first.
Guns are an easy target. True, they are just a tool but a tool with the specific purpose of causing damage at a distance. Hammers, knives, axes, and screwdrivers are all “tools” and all have been used to cause harm to people, and of course, there never have been any stories about “hammer violence”, “ax violence”, or “screwdriver violence”. But guns were designed as weapons to cause harm, no doubt about it.
“Violence” is defined as “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage or kill someone or something”. And, to continue with our vocabulary lesson, “behavior” is defined as “how one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others”.
So, the expression “gun violence” suggests somehow that a gun exhibits a behavior…which doesn’t make any sense. Guns don’t have a behavior, people do. To be accurate and correct we should talk about people’s violence. And if people use guns, then it is still people’s violence.
In other words, the media’s use of the expression is not merely inaccurate but tends to deny the unquestionable reality that it is people committing violent acts and doing so while using guns.
People are the ones committing violent acts, committing crimes, and causing damage, including wounding and death. People commit crimes. Instruments do not commit crimes.
Given this reality then, we can conclude [depending upon how rational we wish to be in our descriptions] that guns do not commit crimes, guns are not violent, and guns are not capable of behavior.
It follows, therefore, that laws concerning guns make as much sense as laws concerning knives and screwdrivers and axes and automobiles … at least when the laws are presumably aimed at the misuse of the instrument.
What we are talking about is the conduct of people using the instrument, not the “conduct of the instrument” …which would be a silly thing to attempt to legislate.
There is another reason behind the use of the term “gun violence”. First, of course, we must completely ignore the illogic of the expression but recognize the motivation behind its use. By harping on “gun violence” and seeking legislation against guns (as opposed to legislation against the person who seeks to use a gun for harm) the media and the government (who are working hand-in-hand on this process) seek to remove guns from the hands of the general public.
Here we must move to an understanding of very fundamental principles. We must ask, “What is the purpose of government?”. The answer to this can be found in our Federal Constitution and the stated purposes of our Founding Fathers when they established a government with the opening words that “…people are endowed by their Maker with certain inalienable rights…”. The idea behind these words and one of the fundamental principles upon which our country was established was that people, you and me, have basic rights which are not to be changed, compromised, or in any way altered by the government. THESE RIGHTS BELONG TO THE PEOPLE, NOT TO THE GOVERNMENT. THESE RIGHTS ARE INALIENABLE AND CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY BY THE GOVERNMENT.
If people possess firearms, they do not merely afford personal protection against violence from their neighbors but protection against violence from their government and/or foreign governments.
The idea of protection against transgressions by neighbors or other individuals who attempt to act “outside the law” is, unfortunately, sufficiently common that [defunded] police are unable to, in many cases, prevent crimes against persons and personal property. The fact that individual citizens possess personal firearms is a deterrent to even the idea of committing a crime against that person. And for the person, the possession of a firearm is actual protection against criminal violence.
What about protection against violence from the government? Is this something about which we must worry?
Look at it this way…the government works for the people, not the other way around. There is no reason for the government to legislate against GUNS. Guns are inert objects. The people are interested in being protected from outside forces that will cause them harm. Obviously, outside forces are foreign governments who seek to take from our country or invade our country.
Outside forces are also those individuals who seek to transgress against individuals in our society, such as criminals, rioters…those who seek to take from us or destroy what is ours. My possession of a gun provides me immediate protection until outside law enforcement people can arrive to protect me. But there is a time gap between when I need protection and when law enforcement can arrive to protect me.
If the government trusts the people, there is no reason for the government to fear the people possessing guns. If the people trust the government, there is no reason for people to give up their guns. IT IS ONLY A GOVERNMENT THAT DOES NOT TRUST THE PEOPLE THAT SEEKS TO DISARM THE PEOPLE.
Now go back for a moment to the discussion about the founding principles of our government. The government is to serve the people, not the other way around. THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Why? Because it is necessary for the security of a free state. Okay, the 2nd Amendment begins with the wording; “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”
While there has been some discussion that the “well regulated militia” refers to either a standing army or a reserve military, the idea in 1776 of a “militia” was every adult male citizen. But that is not the point. The real issue here is whether there should be any quibbling at all about the citizen’s INALIENABLE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS?
Why would a government that trusts the people seek to disarm the people? Could it be that our government, State, local, or federal doesn’t trust the people?