Short response to Correia
Posted by Kirk on January 11, 2013
Larry Correia’s written a long post on the gun control subject (short version: fewer controls, let trained carriers carry anywhere including schools). Since Larry’s a professional writer it reads well, and whether you agree or not it’s worth reading just for seeing the points in readable fashion.
I’m not going to object to his use of strawman positions. Firstly because almost everyone posting without a debating partner is doing it, and secondly because I’ve heard one or two people say them. Kind of the same reason some of the pro-gun positions should hold their tongues – just as there are extreme no-gun/knife/anything people, there are people who think it should be legal to have stocks of explosives and major military weapons. (In other words there are extremes to the position on each side.)
No, I’m going to object to two of his “facts”. I see them a lot, and I don’t know where they came from, but they’re wrong, and therefore what they buttress is hanging in the wind.
The first “fact” is that mass shootings always happen in gun-free zones. Actually, Larry’s statement was that over the last 50 years of mass shootings only one was not in a gun free zone. Sorry, Larry, but no. Not unless in addition to excluding incidents where many were wounded though fewer than four (besides the killer) died, you excluded killings on freeways and killings in the parking lots of gun free zones. Oh, and killings in homes (both of families and of others. Oh, and if a county having strong prohibitions means every business in the county is gun-free (even though CCWs are issued, and hair salons are not on the absolute prohibition list). Yeah, sensing a trend here?
Killings in gun free zones make more splash, largely for the reason they’re gun free. My suspicion – note not a “fact” but just an opinion – is that people who want to do mass killings go there not because the targets can’t shoot back but because that’s where the masses of targets exist. You go to banks to steal money because that’s where the money is.
Anyway, I said two ‘facts’ were wrong. The second is that 80% or so of mass shooters were on or grew up on psychotropic drugs. Sorry, Larry, but no. Just flaming wrong. Go through the list of known mass murders, one by one, and you’ll discover that the drugs are confirmed in fewer than 20% of the cases for the past 50 years. There are some assumptions that another 20% or so may have used them while younger but even if those unsupported assumptions are valid we’re under half.
So does this weaken Larry’s main argument? Directly, no. Indirectly, yes.
See, part of the ‘allow trained gunholders everywhere’ argument (which by the way is a slightly unfair simplification of Larry’s position, but let my strawman stand for a moment please) is that the target-rich environment encourages the shootings. Reduce the number of environments that are target rich and the shootings will decline. With the discovery that shootings happen where guns are allowed, too, the argument is much weaker.
The other part is, well, Larry intelligently said he’d avoid the mental health discussion. But drug use is a narrow portion of the mental health issue – if they weren’t on drugs or damaged by drugs they’d be less likely, goes the implication. FWIW, I still havent’ figured out how that particular slice fits in Larry’s argument. However I’m still going to counter it because even though it doesn’t support Larry’s position it pops up in other pro-gun arguments supporting those positions. Apparently some druggies aren’t deterred by human decency or reasoning or something so they go for fame by mass killings. And for some reason making guns available everywhere is supposed to counter this. If it’s not just druggies — worse, if the majority aren’t druggies, then this argument is a waste of everyone’s time.
OK, so I’ve killed 600 words or so correcting a pair of errors in his article, one of which is a major keystone to the position. That’s too short, really, for one of my posts. But I really don’t want to parse and pare the rest, most of which is either statement of credentials or opinion. So as filler, an address of the elephant in the room that he ignores.
Mass killings are horrendous. They’re attention grabbers. And annually they account for less than half a percent of deaths by gunfire in the US. IF we managed to stop them we’d have no real effect.
I grew up thinking guns were OK. I still do, if they’re in the hands of responsible people. The problem – and it’s a huge one – is that our system as it presently operates gives access to a lot of unreasonable people.
The more I dig the more I know there really isn’t a simple solution. It’s yet another Mencken situation: to every human situation there is a solution which is neat, simple, and wrong. Total bans and total access both hit the “wrong” button.
I want a network of solutions that get guns out of the hands of the irresponsible. I suspect that part of the solution is actually enforcing laws and regulations already on the table. I suspect that part of the solution will wind up requiring national databases of firearms or firearm owners or people prohibited from owning weapons. I suspect that part of the solution will mean freer access for the responsible owner. I suspect that part of the solution will include closing private trader loopholes.
And I accept that a perfect solution is not only unattainable, but that as we close on it the costs may become unacceptable.
It’s just that right now we’ve got 30,000 deaths per year from handguns, and that number needs to go down.