In recent weeks there have been a rash of what have come to be called “active-shooter incidents”—incidents in which a crazy person takes one or more guns into a school, office building, shopping mall, or store with the intention of killing as many people as possible before being killed himself, or otherwise stopped.
Using those incidents as a spring-board, liberals of both political parties and the mainstream media (which is the propaganda arm of the liberal movement) have renewed their demands for a variety of gun-control measures. Those include (but are not limited to) background checks on private sales, inheritances, and gifting of firearms; waiting periods of from three to ten days before a gun can be taken out of the store; a federal firearms license; a federal firearms registry; and “red flag” laws that would allow the courts to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens without due process.
It’s hard to determine how many people die in active-shooter incidents each year. That’s because the anti-gun groups want to count all deaths by firearm. When a despondent person commits suicide with a gun, they want to count it. When an irate husband shoots his wife and her lover, they want to count it.
If we comb thru the statistics and eliminate suicides…and hunting accidents…and other accidents (the “I didn’t think the gun was loaded” incidents)…and murders, what we’re left with is an average of about 23 killings a year over the past fifty years. That’s a terrible number, I’ll grant you, but let’s look at how it compares to other ways to die…
- An average of 47 people die each year from lightning strikes. You’re twice as likely to be struck by lightning as to be killed by an active shooter.
- An average of 784 people die each year because someone runs a red light and causes a wreck.
- Drunk drivers kill an average of 10,497 people each year. Think about that, folks. Drunk drivers kill nine times more people every year than active shooters have killed in fifty years.
- That number above (10,497 deaths) included 1,233 children ages 14 and younger. More children die every year in drunk-driving accidents than active shooters have killed in fifty years.
- An average of 3,536 people die from accidental drowning every year.
- The flu kills an estimated 56,000 people every year, despite flu vaccines and improved medical care.
These numbers are for the U.S. only, and they’re from what I consider reliable sources, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Okay, some liberal is going to argue that most of these things are things you can’t protect against. You can stay indoors when there’s lightning about, but you can’t protect against someone running a red light, or a drunk driver running into you. Most of us take the flu vaccine and try to stay away from people who might have the flu, but people get the flu every year anyway.
But you can’t really protect yourself from an active shooter, either—not unless you want to stay home, behind locked doors, all day, every day. If you go to the grocery store…or to your child’s school play or dance recital…or Christmas shopping in December…or even to your church…you risking being the target of an active shooter.
Liberals never advocate doing away with cars or swimming pools, but they argue that the obvious solution to “gun violence” is to make guns illegal. Abolish the Second Amendment. Confiscate guns from people who own them. Put the gun and ammunition manufacturers out of business. Put the gun stores out of business. That will solve the problem, right?
Except we’ve been down that road before. In 1920 the nation ratified the Eighteenth Amendment, which made the brewing, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. What was the result?
Well, for one thing, it put the Mafia in business. Prior to 1920, there was no such thing as “organized crime.” Major cities of the East Coast and the Midwest had ethnic gangs that hijacked trucks, ran numbers rackets, and operated gambling dens and whorehouses, but there was no organization.
Prohibition changed that. The degree of coordination and financing required to smuggle liquor in from Canada, Mexico, and Europe led to the formation of the crime syndicates known as the Five Families. By the time the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed in 1933, the Five Families controlled crime in all the major East Coast and Midwest cities.
During the ‘Forties and ‘Fifties, the Five Families spread their operations westward, to Las Vegas, then Hollywood. Today, they operate nationwide. That’s the lasting legacy of Prohibition.
Another result of Prohibition was that it made criminals of a large portion of the population. People who would never have robbed a store or assaulted someone found themselves buying liquor in back alleys, or knocking on a certain door and giving a password that admitted them to their neighborhood saloon.
Yet another result of Prohibition was that it caused a public health crisis. Because there were no government-enforced standards of content or quality, thousands of people died from consuming liquor tainted with things like wood alcohol.
I don’t have any contacts in the Mafia, but I can guarantee you one thing, just on the basis of simple logic: they’re among the strongest supporters of gun control and confiscation. It would open up a whole new area of operation for them. The business of smuggling guns and ammunition into the country would be like Prohibition all over again. A large segment of the population—people who would never buy drugs, place a bet, or hire a prostitute—will be in the market for their guns and ammunition.
And since the smugglers are breaking the law anyway, they wouldn’t pay any attention to the National Firearms Act of 1934, either. Someone who wanted a fully-automatic machine gun…or a rocket-propelled grenade launcher…or a land mine…would be able to buy it.
As I’ve said in several previous Commentaries—the problem with liberals is that they live in a fantasy world, a world in which everyone follows whatever rules they make. They believe that when they outlaw guns and ammunition, no one will buy or sell guns or ammunition any more. They believe that when they order the confiscation of all guns, the criminals will turn in their guns. They believe that crimes like murder and armed robbery will cease to exist.
Now, let’s move away from the topic of active-shooter incidents and talk about murder. The very word—murder—conjures up negative images for most of us. In our mind’s eye we see innocent people, victims, being killed by evil, gun-wielding criminals. But is that an accurate picture?
In 2006 (the latest study I could find), USA Today published the results of a study they had done on murder. The results were surprising. They found that 77% of the murder victims they studied had previous arrest records. In fact, they had an average of 11.8 arrests each. They were, in other words, career criminals who had lived by the sword and finally died by the sword.
So the vast majority of the “gun violence” the liberals talk about isn’t really criminals shooting innocent victims. It’s criminals shooting criminals. Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens isn’t going to stop that.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that when I’m not studying politics, I’m studying history. Let me share with you some of the history of gun control.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, two million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and killed by the Turkish government.
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about twenty million dissidents were killed by the Soviet government.
In 1935, China established gun control. From 1948 to 1952, twenty million political dissidents were killed by the Chinese government.
In 1938, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, a total of thirteen million Jews, Gypsies, handicapped people, and political dissidents were killed by the German government.
In 1956, Cambodia established gun control. From 1975 to 1977, a million “intellectuals” were killed by the Cambodian government. That was approximately 25% of the Cambodian population.
In 1964, Guatemala established gun control. From 1964 to 1981, a hundred thousand Mayan Indians were killed by the Guatemalan government.
In 1970, Uganda established gun control. From 1971 to 1979, three hundred thousand Christians were killed by the Ugandan government.
In almost every case in history, the disarming of a people by their government has been followed by the extermination of large numbers of “undesirable” people (like Hillary’s “deplorables,” perhaps?) by that government. It was also followed by tyranny. In the Twentieth Century alone, more than fifty-six million defenseless people were killed, not by enemy combatants but by their own governments.
Two decades ago, gun owners in Australia were forced by their government to surrender 640,381 personal firearms. Collecting and destroying those weapons cost Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. Since then…
- Homicides are up 3.2 percent, but homicides with firearms are up 300 percent.
- Assaults are up 8.6 percent.
- Armed robberies are up 44 percent.
In particular, there has been a dramatic increase in assaults on women and the elderly.
It’s obvious from these numbers that while law-abiding citizens turned in their guns, criminals did not. Figures over the previous 25 years had shown a steady decrease in armed robbery, assaults, and murder, but when the Australian government confiscated guns from law-abiding citizens, the numbers spiked up again. Criminals knew their intended victims would be unarmed.
Australian politicians are at a loss to explain why public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense to rid Australian society of the “evil” of guns.
The Spanish historian and philosopher Jorge Santayana said, “Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The next time you hear someone speaking in favor of gun control, remind them of the history of gun control and ask them if they’re willing to repeat it.
An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
I’ll end this Commentary with the words of one of my Founding heroes, Thomas Jefferson:
“When the government fears the people, you have liberty.
When the people fear the government, you have tyranny.”