Laws, Liberty and Las Vegas

I don’t publish the names of mass murderers unless they’re politicians. But we all know what happened Sunday night in Vegas in terms of the attack, and that’s what it was. An attack. We don’t yet know motive if we ever will, but we know it happened.

And that’s where common ground in the US ends. Before the victims had even been identified, the usual anti-gun rights crowd was making their same requests. Then the nightly talk shows started.

This morning, as I’m sure many of you witnessed, the feeds and trends were full of stories about the emotional pleas from liberals to do something about gun violence. No doubt the local leftist Muftic will push out her usual ideological drivel which amounts quite simply to: left = good, right = evil, followed undoubtedly by a call for gun control.

Those on the right, a demographic Paul Ryan seems intent on pretending doesn’t exist, have trotted out their same old claims and rhetoric.

Grand County, being something of an anomaly in terms of population, will mostly lean away from any concept involving gun control, with exceptions on the eastern end of the county.

But what do we have for facts? The fact is the combative and divisive rhetoric such as labeling the National Rifle Association, the single largest public firearms safety training entity in the country, a terrorist organization for lobbying according to what their membership wants, is excessive.

It’s cute and cool to suggest the NRA is too powerful and most Americans support more gun control. Problem is, the NRA represents the significant portion of the country opposed to gun control. So what we definitely do not have, is a monopoly on either side.

Was the attack horrendous? Of course. There’s no arguing that. But suggesting reactive legislation under the appeal of emotion is destructive to individual liberty. A look at what we have for actual numbers (approximate).

  • 350,000,000 firearms in the US owned privately.
  • 90,000,000 citizens own those firearms.
  • 30,000 Americans lose their life to a firearm every year.
  • 15-20,000 of those are suicides.
  • 10-15,000 deaths are split between negligence and homicide.

If Americans want to address gun deaths, we can do so long-term with a serious plan that includes three key policy changes.

First, suicide awareness, detection and prevention must become a part of public education and PSAs. We’ll start seeing decreases eventually, I honestly don’t know how long that would take. But we could also de-schedule all recreational drugs and see what actually has a use.

For instance, the pharmaceutical industry (responsible for over 100,000 American deaths a year), literally pays to suppress testing on drugs proven to cure depression, as discovering a cure undermines repeat business. MDMA, LSD, psylocybin and cannabis have all proven more effective in treating depression than most people know. A column for another day, but still a crucial point in decreasing suicides, the largest demographic of gun deaths.

Second, we need to address negligence. Oddly enough, left and right agree on something, don’t educate when education is the most effective solution to a problem. For the right, it’s sex ed. For the left, it’s guns. Teaching age-appropriate firearms safety in public education and information will have a nearly immediate impact on gun deaths attributed to negligence.

Finally, we need to terminate the failed, expensive and unconstitutional drug war and pivot to a Portuguese model of treatment. That step alone will decrease street violence and defund organized crime in the same move.

What will not work is attempting to suggest anybody opposed to gun control is in the pocket of the gun lobby. Or telling the world that if politicians don’t do something, anything, they are traitors.

This boils down to one of the most moronic presentations of an argument that exists. “It is better to do something ineffective fast, than to do something effective that takes a long time.”

Huh? Appeal to emotion is a classic logical fallacy. It’s the most popular method used by those opposed to gun rights.

For instance, there’s a repeated claim about the efficacy of restrictive gun control in western Europe and Australia. But even the slightest bit of intellectual curiosity leads one to research the claim.

It doesn’t take long to realize the nations to restrict private gun ownership do see a decrease in gun deaths. But their overall murder rates do not decline, and in some cases increase, meaning gun murders are made up by other methods and means.

Here’s one breakdown I’ve used in conversations a great deal, it provides the numbers and evidence, which are easily vetted if not believed (this will happen, trust me, on firearms in particular, the cognitive dissonance is palpable).

What’s going to happen? Based on the discussions surrounding budget, healthcare, foreign policy, elections, etc. … nothing effective, meaningful or helpful.

We know for a fact these suggested avenues will not happen. The Rs have no interest in undermining the pharmaceutical lobby (and most of the Ds are in their pocket as well), the Ds have no interest in teaching firearms safety in public schools regardless of how effective it might be.

Our system of government exists to protect the rights of the individual from tyranny of the majority. So understand when you see the invocation of the majority, it doesn’t matter. The rights of the individual must be respected.