Thrawn Rickle 38

Gun Control

© 1993 Williscroft

Have you ever slammed your telephone receiver into the cradle because you were upset about a just concluded conversation?

It’s silly, but we’ve all done it. Throughout human history people have demonstrated a tendency to react against objects instead of against causes. A classic example from our Christian heritage is the perversion of the Pauline comment to Timothy that the “ of money is the root of all evil...,” which routinely is quoted as : “Money is the root of all evil.”

By shifting our focus from human behavior to an easily definable object, we can then vent our passion against this object with impunity. If money is evil, then the financially non successful individual can excuse his failure simply by pointing to this evil.

Before significant social and economic changes overcame the flow of events in the Soviet Union, the authorities banned the use of personal computers, arguing that subversive writers could use these machines to write their inflammatory material. That these writers were doing just fine with typewriters and with pen and paper did not enter into the argument. The computer was seen as a significant source of the subversion.

In America there is plenty of evidence for similar thinking. Frequently, “intellectuals” will proudly proclaim their freedom from television. Because these individuals dislike regular television programming, they remove the television set, depriving themselves of excellent educational and cultural programming. In a variation on this theme, others try to control program content through government action rather than just control the machine with the on-off switch.

Nowhere is this attitude more prevalent, however, than in some people’s reaction to firearms. When a drunk driver commits vehicular homicide, no one blames the car. Sometimes the alcohol gets blamed, but most often people from every political persuasion recognize that the drunk driver is at fault. If a golfer gets hit with a golf ball, most people will blame the golfer who hit the ball instead of the ball itself. Yet, when somebody shoots a person with a firearm, many otherwise intelligent people blame the gun instead of the shooter.

The most vocal current perpetrators of this intellectual fraud are Sarah and Jim Brady. I am deeply grieved by the tragedy that injured President Reagan and nearly took Jim Brady’s life. There is no shred of evidence, however, that handgun control would have prevented this shooting. President Reagan remains a staunch supporter of unrestricted handgun ownership, and—from any perspective—the near loss of a sitting president is significantly more serious than the loss of one of his advisors.

Restricting handgun ownership cannot prevent a tragic home accident involving children or resulting from a family argument. Handguns in this category are either already available in the home, or else will take just a bit longer to arrive on the scene. Handgun control will not prevent handguns from being used in robberies and assaults, because these weapons usually find their way into the perpetrator’s hands illegally anyway.

On the other hand, supplying incentives for proper training in handgun use might prevent many home accidents. Creating and enforcing extremely harsh penalties for using a firearm while committing a felony would make the possible reward not worth the risk. Do not rule out a mandatory death sentence!

The answer to our handgun problems lies not in making handguns difficult for honest citizens to obtain, but in guaranteeing that using them in the commission of crimes is totally unrewarding.