If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. – Lost to history

A friend shared a video with me today called “Guns With History”. It disgusted me. This group of anti-gun activists set up a mock gun store with the intention of luring innocent, unsuspecting, first time gun buyers in only to share stories with them of every horrendous crime committed with a gun that they could think of. They had guns from the Sandy Hook school shooting and others where a child had accidently shot a sibling or parent.

The problem with this approach is you could do this with any common day object. “Want to try being a carpenter come on in! Hello. Do you like this hammer? Did you know that on average 584 people a year are killed in the USA by hammers!” “Oh I had no idea how dangerous hammers were, I’ll never use another hammer in my life” the clueless person on off the street might say.

What’s worse, did you know that 812 people in the US are killed in a year by hands, fists or feet! We should outlaw hands, fists and feet!

You can find the data I referenced for the 584 hammer deaths/year from the FBI here.

If you have understood by now I am trying to make a point that guns aren’t the problem. Yes, guns sure make it easier to kill someone and they also make it easier to conduct other crimes, but they also make it easier to stop someone who’s trying to perpetrate a crime with a gun. Read the tragic story of this girl. A “gun free zone” policy was in place on her campus. Therefore she, being a law abiding citizen chose to follow the law. She was assaulted and raped by a man who had a gun. Her comment about gun free zones follows “leaving them (law abiding citizens) defenseless against gun-wielding criminals who disregard the laws.” Did you read the last five words? Criminals don’t follow the law anyway. That’s why they are criminals.

Another important topic to discuss in the gun debate is the role antidepressants have played in gun violence in the past 20 years. The world can be a sad place, but the internet is a great place as far as sharing information. I will let you, the concerned reader, check out this article and this website documenting all the dangers of antidepressants and the role they have played in murders and suicides.

I leave you with these summarizing thoughts.

Outlaws don’t play by the rules. If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

You can’t simply outlaw things because they are dangerous. Hands, knives and bats are all used to kill people everyday.

Antidepressants have played a role in most mass shootings and play a role in many other murders and suicides.

If you really want to help, focus on helping people and addressing what’s giving them the urge to shoot people, don’t try to simply stop them from shooting people, because if they can’t shoot someone, they will find another way to kill.

Trust. Government Regulation. Guns and Income Inequality (Oh And Of Course Smoking)

I have been wanting to write about gun control and income inequality recently but as I’ve been researching and talking with people I have come across some interesting similarities between both topics that I feel the need to expound upon.

The basic idea shared by both these topics is how much government regulation should be exercised over each issue? I think it’s important to try to understand what is really being said, despite the words used. When a person says I want more government regulation, what they are really saying is “I trust the government to make better choices for my life than I can for myself.”

I am completely ok with that statement if some people want to make it. In fact, it’s probably quite accurate for the majority of people, not because the government is incredibly smart, but because people are often incredibly self centered and ignorant of how the world works. I would never make this statement myself. I am the architect of my own future.

For every regulation you think the government should make you should also be arguing for more taxes. OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO. I’m not paying more taxes, you say. Ah. Herein lies the problem. People can’t see the world beyond the walls of their own home and they think that the government should take care of them, but they don’t want to pay for it. People expect someone else to pay for it and this is the problem with arbitrarily raising the minimum wage.

How do you conduct your shopping? If you are like most people out there you first ask “What is the cheapest way I can get this?” If that includes buying things from Walmart, which you are very vocal about not liking on Facebook, or buying a burger from a fast food joint because it’s fast, cheap and therefore convenient, you are part of the problem. If you wanted to do something active to make companies listen to you you need to start talking with your wallet. Read this article about Moo Cluck Moo. It is a semi-fast food joint in Michigan that pays its workers $15/hour. Here is the important part for you lazy people who won’t read it “In order to make this model work, customers have to pay a little more.” If you go to McDonalds because it’s faster or cheaper but then argue that McDonald’s should raise their minimum wage, you are part of the problem. That is called internet activism my friends and it’s as useless as a knife at a gun fight.

The same principle has been enacted in the argument for smoking. People are arguing that the government can remove someone’s free choice to smoke and your free choice to avoid establishments that endorse smoking because you think the government is smarter than you. If you are in the NRA you should also be trying to help smokers get back their choice to smoke in places that business owners think it is beneficial for their business (public places like gas stations and hospitals where it’s inherently dangerous excluded). Read my article on smoking if you want to understand that more. If however you are in the NRA but you think that it’s ok to deny restaurants the right to choose if they will have smoking or not, you are really saying that you DO trust the government to make good choices for you and all your arguments for no gun registration is as worthless as a gasoline engine on the moon. (For those of you who don’t understand this, an engine running on gasoline needs oxygen to run, of which there is none on the moon.)

So let’s recap. The question is how much do you trust your government? If you say, unequivocally but argue against higher taxes, you are a liar. If you say I don’t trust the government at all (NRA people and anti-gun registration folks) but argue for some regulation like seat belt laws and smoking laws I also call you a liar.

This is my challenge to you. Let’s start taking a little responsibility for ourselves. Do the right thing! If you think you can make good life choices for yourself lets see you do that. If you don’t think you are capable of making good life choices for yourself, please give your whole paycheck to the government and let them tell you exactly what you should be doing for a job, where you should live, what you should eat etc.

Mark Rain Flickr Creative Commons, cover photo