Your Guns Violate My Freedom

My wife was once pulled over for driving 38 in a 30 mph zone, despite the tailback of disgruntled drivers lusting to pass her. She contested the ticket and got off with a warning. Its gist was: we will waive the ticket this time, but you were in violation.

This isn't a piece about driving; it's about the (Ho hum!) latest bit of senseless American bloodshed: the massacre in Orlando. I'm sick of listening to excuses from gun advocates and the fascist NRA about why we can't limit gun access. Their arguments are as tiresome as the postmortem homilies, sprays of flowers, and on-site Teddy Bear dumps that occur every time a mass murder occurs. That's quite often, actually. In 2015, nearly 13,000 Americans were murdered and another 84,000 were shot but survived. Enough already! All the post-tragedy hoopla has become as boring—yes, I said boring–as the pathetic whining of Second Amendment Warriors (whom, I might add, are often the same crowd that disrespect everything else about the U.S. Constitution except the 10th Amendment.)

I've had it with your tiresome insistence upon your right to own an Uzi. It violates my right to have a safe community that's reasonably free of psychos with mail-order guns and large clips of ammo. And let's get it straight: you don't have the right to demand no gun control any more than I have to demand total gun control. The United States is founded upon three concepts and you don't get to choose just one. Liberty refers to certain political rights guaranteed to individuals akin to those in the First and Second Amendments. Freedom, however, is liberty's handmaiden, not its synonym. It does not refer to your rights, rather those to which all citizens collectively and communally are entitled. Freedom places restrictions upon liberty, which should more properly be viewed as the freedom to move within a framework of—breathe deeply—limits. Your First Amendment right to free speech is no defense for violating public safety laws, hate speech ordinances, or public order; neither will your freedom of religion right allow you to practice violent jihad, engage in "honor" killings, bomb an abortion clinic, or declare holy war against infidels.

Now it's time for liberals to breathe deeply: you cannot ban all guns unless the Second Amendment is repealed. A better tactic is to insist upon limits to the Second Amendment analogous to those placed upon the First.  It begins with calling out the tiresome rants of the NRA and their kneejerk groupies as violations of American freedom injurious to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Third concept: democracy, the direct action of the electorate in electing officials and influencing public policy. According to the New York Daily News—hardly a bastion of liberalism—80% of Americans favor tougher gun control. My reference to a fascist NRA is not overblown. It's a self-serving militaristic cadre holding the nation hostage to a rigid extremist ideology–defining characteristics of fascism.

Just stop with the trite stuff. No—you don't need automatic weapons to protect your family: a handgun will do the job. The most verifiable stats claim around 280 yearly home attacks thwarted by guns. Few of these potential attacks were random and most occurred in high-crime neighborhoods, but no matter—a fool using an automatic multi-round weapon in his own home is as likely to kill his family as the intruder. A handgun will suffice.

There is zero reason for an individual to have multi-clip, multi-round weapons. Let's cut the BS: the sole purpose of automatic and semi-automatic high-capacity weapons is to commit mass destruction. No one outside of the US military–not even cops–should have such weapons. If you've got a gun fetish, admit it, and let's do what is done in civilized nations: you can own the gun, but you can't buy ammo for it. When you want to fire it, you go to a licensed range where you are issued ammo and must account for each round. Put away that "What about hunters?" malarkey; using such a gun isn't sport, it's senseless slaughter.

There is also no reason to allow guns or ammo to be purchased by mail, over the Internet, at fly-by-night gun shows, or without thorough background checks. These blood-soaked businesses must be shut down. If you can't haul your sorry ass down to Walmart to buy ammo and undergo security checks, you can go without. And you only get one box at a time. No excuses. In a rational society, Omar Mateen isn't sold a gun under any circumstance.

But STFU about terrorists. The NRA is already playing the ISIS card to explain Orlando. Of course, it said nothing when a few months ago some guy blew away a few Muslims in California. But here's why you don't want to go that route. When 9/11 occurred, the response was to set up a national security state. Well we commit four plus 9/11s every year in gun homicides (and three per month if we include all victims), so how do you feel about a national gun control state? I doubt many are comfortable with the idea of America as one big airport in which there are security lines, metal detectors, body scanners, and pat downs everywhere.

Finally, how about a realistic national dialogue about the sort of country in which we want to live? The NRA insists there is "no evidence" that gun control works. Rubbish! It always dodges the simple fact that other democracies don't have comparable levels of violence. Or worse, it drags out examples of nations with higher murder rates. The USA is a mere 91st in the world in per capita murders, but just six nations match our sanguinary output (South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Russia). Percentage-wise, our homicide rate is 3.8 per 100,000. Which groups of peers would your prefer–places such as Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, and Honduras; or low-homicide nations such as Canada (1.4), New Zealand (0.9), Germany (0.9), or Indonesia (0.5)? How do you feel about the fact that Syria, Libya, and Turkey are way safer than the USA? 

It's time to sacrifice liberty for the freedom to be safe. Of all the arguments against gun control, the ultimate lamest is: "I'm a responsible gun owner so why do I have to suffer because of criminals, thugs, and terrorists?" Here's why: for the same reason you can be pulled over for going 38 in a 30 mph zone. The purpose of law in a civil society is protecting the public from the irresponsible. It's why we have speed limits. Maybe you would drive responsibly without laws limiting your speed, but would you welcome the anarchy of roads without limits or traffic cops? How about eliminating stop-for-school bus laws? Stop on red? Civil society places limits on freedom to curtail our demons so that our better angels can be at liberty. It's high time to exorcise the fascist NRA demons holding angelic liberty hostage.

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