Alphecca found an interesting editorial. It's by Meghan Blalock & is entitled Owning firearms should be a protected right. Seems promising, no?
Well Ms. Blalock has a few contradictory positions.
Let us fisk:
"Make no bones about it: I am a liberal who believes that guns in themselves are not evil.
Are you shocked? You shouldn’t be. Some conservatives like to present the cliché counterargument that 'guns don’t kill people; people kill people' in debates about gun control. However, the question still remains: Exactly what argument do they think they are countering?
It is not the 'liberal stance' that guns in themselves have the ability to kill people and are evil. In fact, anyone who believes this nonsense, liberal or conservative, is just plain dumb.
In fact, I – and most intelligent people of any political leaning – am of the opinion that an inanimate object cannot really have ethical qualities, one way or another. Thus, guns cannot be evil, but they cannot be good either."
The argument that pro-gun folks are countering is not one made explicitly, but rather one that is implied; if we ban this type of object then no more harm will be caused. Also it works well against the implication that mere possession of a firearm will turn an otherwise decent person into a murderer at the slightest confrontation.
"What is evil is a government that allows people to buy guns - semi-automatic and automatic ones at that - who should not even be allowed to touch one."
Who gets to decide who can touch one? That's the problem. & the only solution is to not have government intrude upon that sort of transaction.
But government does not "allow" people to buy arms any more than it "allows" people to go to church. We buy arms because it's a Right, excepted out of the power of government to control - well at least in theory. Constitutional theory but nonetheless theory as the practical application is I'm afraid closer to Ms. Blalock's misunderstanding.
"Is the government limiting the second amendment right to bear arms if it says to someone: 'No, you cannot own a gun'?
Um, care to try that one again? Wait; let me put it in a clearer perspective:
Is the government limiting the first amendment right to freedom of conscience if it says to someone: “No, you cannot own a Koran"?
Is the answer still "no"?
Government is strictly prohibited from interfering with a person's Right to arms. Telling them "no" when they try to buy one is a clear violation of that prohibition just as surely as if government banned sales of Korans to certain people.
"People who should not be allowed to own guns:"
Ah, so Ms. Blalock gets to decide. This is not surprising.
"• anybody who has committed a felony, ever. Exceptions could be made for people who have clearly 'recovered' and wanted a weapon to protect their households."
Tax evasion is a felony. So because someone is rightly or wrongly convicted of not paying taxes they should not have the means to defend themselves even after they are released from prison? What about those hardened criminals who tear the tag's off of mattresses contrary to federal law? Or those who do not use their medications as directed? Or certain chemicals as directed? Or what of folks who commit felonies of a non violent, non confrontational nature & are sentenced to 1 day suspended & have a $25 fine? I mean folks who technically did commit a felony but the judge &/or jury saw that they did not intend to do so or perhaps didn't even know their actions would violate the law. Those folks should be disarmed?
"• anybody who has ever been in prison (not jail) for an extended period of time, especially for gun crimes."
I'd hate to see what "extended period of time" means. Anything longer than a weekend perhaps? So Martha Stewart should not be allowed a firearm to protect her home? How about those reporters who've spent months in jail because they wouldn't reveal their sources?
& "gun crimes"? You mean if I get charged with carrying a concealed weapon even though I caused no harm to anyone that I should be barred from ever owning a firearm again? What if that weapon was concealed because the wind briefly blew my jacket over my holster when I was otherwise carrying legally? Or what if I had a shotgun with an overall length of 23.75" without paying the $200 tax? Again not harming anyone or even threatening anyone, just possessing it should disqualify me?
"• anybody whose medical records show a history of mental illness."
Since that would imply that medical records be made available for such background checks, I guess there goes patient/doctor privilege. & would anxiety attacks count? How about someone who went to a shrink because of depression? Should a woman who sought help with her grief over the loss of her husband be rendered defenseless because of that?
"• anybody on any wanted list or terrorist watch list or any list of that nature."
So much for "innocent until proven guilty" huh? Being placed on a "watch list" by the government means they suspect you but cannot prove it. If they could prove it they'd file charges & you'd have a chance to refute those charges in court (in theory at least). By saying that a "watch list" has as much weight as a trial by jury Ms. Blalock is ignoring several hundred years of legal theory & practice, not to mention fairness. If, for any reason, government can place you on a watch list then perhaps they'd start doing so if it meant you could not buy arms. & since Ms. Blalock is a self proclaimed liberal I don't think she thought that one through considering she said it in the middle of a Republican administration. I know damn certain that if I was a Republican & had that power I'd disarm everyone I thought might oppose me, let alone want me dead. Ms. Blalock is playing right into the hands of the enemy as it were, but not just to her own peril.
Any serious advocate of the Right to Arms would find themselves on a "watch list" of some sort rather quickly if she power were abrogated to the government. After all, that'd be the most effective ay to disarm the very people who they'd want to disarm most.
"Do I think it is acceptable for a 'normal' citizen to own a gun for the purposes of self-protection and self-defense? Yes. In all likelihood, even if the government illegalized ALL guns, criminals would probably still be able to get their hands on them (although it might be a bit more difficult). Thus, if a criminal can get a gun, legally or illegally, I should be able to own one in case he or she breaks into my house with the intent to harm me or my family."
I'd also point out that even if a criminal could not get a firearm that does not mean all things would be equal, nor do we wish things to be equal. A criminal could use many other weapons, items as common s shovels or tire irons, in order to harm a person. & in man on woman crime it's rare for a criminal to need any arms at all. Most men are simply too physically developed for most women to put up anything but a brief, token fight.
What is ideal is that the criminal who does break into a house (or car or attempt an assault on a person walking on the street) to be at an unfair advantage. That lessens the chance of him succeeding should he try to commit a violent confrontational crime.
"This right, however, should not extend into the realm of automatic weapons. The gun must have a child safety feature, and it should be made illegal for that person to re-sell his or her gun to whomever he or she chooses because you never know what kind of psychotic individual might then be the owner of the gun."
Child safety feature? You mean a mechanical one to replace common sense? I don't have children so why should such a device be imposed upon me, especially when I know that teaching children about firearms safety goes a lot farther than relying on a mechanical device to prevent stupidity in action?
& not being able to sell to another person? Pro-gun control & anti-free market all at the same time huh? Course if I did sell it to someone w/o government approval, say to a lady I've known for decades who was denied one at a gun shop cause she writes political essays contrary to the current administrations liking & landed on a "watch list" then I'd have committed a "gun crime" & be ineligible for future purchase or possession if I were caught. For someone who thinks that owning a firearm should be a protected Right Ms. Blalock sure has a lot of ways to involuntarily opt out of that Right.
"Also, when the founding fathers wrote that all American citizens should have the right to bear arms, there was no such thing as an automatic weapon. Guns that shot more than one bullet per pull of the trigger were not around. Now, there are guns that spray bullets easier than you can pick your nose.
Should these automatic weapons be legal?
NO. No, no, no."
I assume Ms Blalock is aware that printing presses of the modern variety, as well as personal printing presses & the internet were not around in the late 18th century either. Yet would she argue that such things should be banned? & words, not bullets or pointed steel or hurled stones, have been the impetus behind more deaths than I'd care to count. Papers, pamphlets, treatises & the like have been responsible for rebellions, revolutions, insurrections, riots, lynchings, "holy" wars & plain old wars. Who knows how many lives will be lost because of what will be read on the internet? How many blogs will cause people to take action that leads to one or another of the aforementioned societal states? So do we ban them from everyone? Good Lord no.
"If anybody can make a good argument as to why such weapons should be legal, or what positive purpose they serve in our society (or what purpose at all), please e-mail me or write an editorial about it."
Would a blog post do? How about several?
As He Told The Miller's Tale: Problems With U.S. v. Miller shows why a prohibition on automatic weapons would be unconstitutional & the current taxation/registration laws are unconstitutional as well.
U.F.B. (Unidentified Flying Brass) is about the fun had at a local machine gun shoot.
The Stroop Report is about a Nazi account of the Warsaw Ghetto.
The Nationals & Defense explains why the citizenry shooting martial arms is valuable to our security.
Self Help discusses situations where reliance on yourself, perhaps even against a government, is the best option.
The Means, Knowledge & Will To Resist tells of three things necessary for a free people to remain free.
But to answer the question directly the 2nd amendment was not instituted so folks could have arms for defense against burglars. That was so presumed that enumeration of it was not necessary any more than today it would be necessary to write out that you have the Right to think what you wish. The 2nd amendment sought to prevent the government from taking away martial arms from the people so that the people would not be outmatched by a soldier of any government that sought to oppress them.
If a soldier came to your house to commit some heinous act then would you wish to be armed almost as well as he is or just as well as he is? If some evil conservative came into power & wanted to stifle dissent in your home town & sent in troops to do so, would you want your bolt action hunting rifle or an M14?
The framers didn't see automatic firearms coming just like they didn't see home computers with printers. What they did see was a very simple premise: if a person is armed just as well as a soldier, then that person not only stands a fighting chance against the soldier, but may in fact deter the soldier from acting against him.
If a battalion of soldiers are armed with flintlock muskets, then the people should have flintlock muskets. If those soldiers have select fire rifles, then the people should have select fire rifles. Upsetting that balance of power is a very dangerous thing.
& a twist has been thrown into things since the 18th century. Back then the military served martial & police roles. Now we have a military force separate from the police force. So not only does a Marine boot being issued an M16A4 justify a citizen having an M14, but the cop down the street having an M4 carbine in his trunk necessitates that the citizen should have an M14 in his trunk as well. Doing otherwise would upset the balance of power; the ultimate check & balance system that the framers set in place.
They also have benefit for protection against criminals. Most of us gunnuts think that a .380 ACP is the minimum cartridge that should be used for self defense, with some of us preferring the 9x19mm or even the .40 S&W as the weakest cartridge to use for protection. All that is based mainly upon using one shot to stop an aggressor. But I think that 3 quick shots of an even weaker cartridge, such as the .32 ACP would be just as effective in stopping a hostile person from harming you. & the best way to ensure those 3 shots hit the attacker would be for them to come out of the gun with one squeeze of the trigger (along with proper training in using such a firearm). So a pistol capable of automatic fire wouldn't necessarily have to be as powerful as one that only shoots once per pull of the trigger.
"A weapon that shoots bullets at a ridiculously rapid rate serves no real purpose in our society, other than killing people."
I disagree. An automatic firearm is just as capable of non-lethal use as a semi-automatic or even a muzzle loader. Look back up for my post on the machine gun shoot here in Colorado. No one was killed or even injured at that event. In fact only a relatively small portion of all firearms ever end up being used to kill someone.
"If somebody wants to own a handgun for the purpose of injuring an intruder in his or her home who may be threatening his or her life, I am not opposed to that. Should a person be able to own an automatic weapon for the same purposes? Absolutely not. It is unnecessary, and you are more likely to kill the intruder rather than just injure him or her, which is also unnecessary."
That's the problem; not recognizing or perhaps even knowing the facts. When you shoot someone it is not to kill them, nor is it to injure them - it's to stop them. Unfortunately the human body is designed in such a way that stopping them often means killing them. I cannot shoot someone in the arm & that be it. People don't magically become non-hostile if they are merely wounded. In fact many people with fatal wounds manage to kill the person that killed them before they die. You should not ever shoot to wound simply because that will not keep someone from harming you. & that's assuming you can shoot to wound someone. Ever try to hit a 4" or 6" object at ten yards? Ever try to hit that same object while it's moving & you have enough adrenalin racing through you to give you the shakes? It's not that easy. In all likelihood you'd miss trying to hit someone in their arm or leg. The best way is to aim for the body, & if you can the upper body. You have a bigger target which means more chance of hitting that person & more vital areas to hit which increases your chance of incapacitating, & as a consequence, of killing your attacker.
Killing someone who is trying to harm, perhaps even kill you is very necessary - that is if you value your life more than someone else's life that has no qualms about killing or raping you.
"So, in conclusion, guns are not evil. The acts they commit – via a person pulling the trigger – can be evil, but they are not always. I think it is always wrong to kill another person, regardless of what they have done. But it is not wrong to injure one who is trying to injure you or your family. Automatic weapons are just ridiculous and should be completely outlawed."
It is not always wrong to kill another person. In fact sometimes it is necessary to keep them from killing you. I fail to see how automatic weapons are "ridiculous". They serve very useful function & should be condoned rather than outlawed.
"Unfortunately, in these modern times, the pen is no longer the most powerful weapon; the automatic rifle has taken its place."
Bullshit. Not only are automatic firearms used rarely in crimes (except by cops & soldiers) in this country but I guarantee you that the printed word can still cause more damage than any firearm. Don't believe me? Think about this:
How many people died at the Hollywood bank robber shoot out?
How many people died as a result of the St. Valentine's Day massacre?
How many people died as a result of The Communist Manifesto?
I come up with under 30 for the first two & right at 100,000,000 for the latter.
It's pretentious lamenting that claims an invention 100 years old has now magically supplanted a millennia’s old concept. Words can cause much, much more damage than any tool. You take ten people with belt fed machine guns & I'll see your automatic weapons with a single word: Jihad! Which do you think will cause more death? Want to see another example? Go to any construction site & ask any worker which he'd rather face: a man 100 yards away shooting at him with an automatic rifle or his wife of X years writing him a note that said she didn't love him anymore & was leaving. Aside from those folks that are really unhappy in their relationship I'd wager that most people who are busting their ass every day to feed their wife & kids would much much rather deal with a hail of bullets than a Dear John letter.
Any firearm can only do one thing; hurl a projectile. A projectile aimed correctly will hit its target. If that target is flesh & blood then it will damage that target & possibly kill it. But words...they can make men pick up arms or put them down. They can cause mobs to swarm a building & kill all the occupants or walk around it with lit candles singing hymns of mourning & sympathy. We all use poetic license to some degree, but saying that the sword is mightier than the pen is just a plain out & outright lie.
There are some things that Ms. Blalock didn't understand when she wrote her editorial. Hopefully she understands them now. Still, it's hard to believe anyone who says they don't think an object is evil when they seem so adament about banning that object or a subset thereof. If an automatic weapon is not inherently evil then why ban it but still feel okay about other types of firearms?
It'll be interesting to see if she does actually come over to our side. In the meantime I cannot give her the benefit of the doubt due to her advocacy of "reasonable" gun control being entirely unreasonable to me, as I feel it would be unreasonable to those that penned & voted in favor over our constitution.Posted by Publicola at October 3, 2005 01:21 AM | TrackBack