Is There Really a Problem?

2000-12-3 00:08:00

Glenys writes:
"The experience in New Zealand has been that the crime in which guns are involved has risen as guns have become more widely available. It is all very well saying that only responsible, sane people should be allowed guns but irresponsible and insane people steal them and use them to commit acts of violence. So my emotional reaction is to say let's have strict gun control."

I'm glad you support the principle of freedom, Glenys despite your emotional reluctance on this issue.

An interesting note here is that strict gun control measures were introduced in New Zealand in 1984 yet violent crime has still doubled since then.

I understand that even stronger controls are under way, but I would venture it would do little to curb the increase in violence.

New Zealand only has about a third of the guns per capita as the United States, but people here in Idaho have about ten times as many guns per capita as there. I would imagine that a resident of New Zealand would think that Idaho is a lot like the Wild West with so many guns, but as I said it is one of the most peaceable places in the United States. Actually, before people from other states started moving here, violent crime was almost unheard of. I remember when I was a kid the whole state sometimes went a whole year without a single murder, yet almost everyone I knew had a gun. It seemed that many more people had guns than today. When I was twelve I used to go hunting with my double barreled shotgun every night after school with my friends who all had guns, yet you never heard of any kid going crazy and shooting up a school.

I have long since lost interest in hunting but still value the freedom of gun ownership - or any other thing I wish to own.

Before any freedom is restricted there should be ample proof that the problem is a major one and that the restriction of freedom is absolutely necessary for the freedom of the whole.

Now let us put things in proportion.

Through the negligence of doctors 666 (interesting number) times more people die than do people from deaths related to firearms in the United States. You would think there would be a much greater outcry for physician control and reform than for arms control.

The problem is that when there is a crime related to guns that it is widely publicized in the media, yet many other problems that are worse - such as physician related deaths get little or no attention. This gives the impression that problems related to guns are much greater than other areas.

The same principle applies to air travel. Overall it is much safer to travel by air than in an automobile, but because a plane crash gets so much more publicity than a car wreck there are many who get the false impression that air travel is more dangerous. It is interesting how many people are afraid to fly because of all this hype, yet have no fear in traveling in the much more dangerous automobile.

The development of mind and reason overriding emotion will do much to put things in perspective and cause do-gooders to work at doing good in areas where a real difference can be made verses a psychological difference.

There are several reasons why many people want to restrict the freedom of others to own guns.

(1) Disproportionate media hype causes then to believe that problems related to guns are much worse than they are.
(2) Many of those who do not use guns themselves are not concerned about the freedom of others in this area because it does not seem to affect them.
(3) Many who do not hunt or do not believe in hunting see the use of guns to hunt animals as being morally wrong and want them banned for this reason.

There is no way to prove who is morally right here. There are arguments on both sides. For instance, when the hunting of certain species is restricted here in Idaho for too long there will be an overpopulation and the poor animals suffer starvation which is a much worse fate than being hunted.

On a metaphysical note animals hunting animals and people hunting animals produces a strong stimulating force that furthers their evolution. If you've ever seen an elk up close which has survived three or more hunting seasons you will see an intelligence in his eyes that is far beyond the rest of the herd.

Anyone who is truly against hunting should be a vegetarian or surely hypocrisy is involved, for killing an animal through the hunt is much more humane than a kill floor of a processing plant. There the animals wait in line and they have a sense that the kill is coming and will often spend an hour or so in intense fear. This fear causes hormonal secretions which carry negative effects over into humans who eat the meat. When a hunted animal is killed it does not have the sense of impending doom that a commercially raised one has.

(4) Many anti gun people see guns as an instrument to kill people. In reality law abiding citizens who own guns have no desire to kill anyone. They also have hands that could strangle someone, but this does not mean they should cut off their hands so the offense does not happen. Peaceable people should keep their rights to their guns and hands and use them both responsibly.

"Medical malpractice is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to an article in JAMA, doctor's negligence causes the equivalent of a jumbo jet crash every three days."