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In the midst of the raging gun debate, Intellectual Takeout has been playing its unique part by sharing the 2nd Amendment perspectives of the Founders, Supreme Court Justices, and others as well as quite a bit of raw data. We are actively trying to encourage our audiences to go deeper in considering natural rights, as well as the reasons for violence in our modern society. The image above is just one example -- the most popular by far -- of the kind of questions we're asking our nearly 1,000,000 aggregate Facebook fans.
As a father of four children under the age of 10, my heart breaks at the thought of losing them. I cannot, nor do I want to put myself in the shoes of parents of murdered children. It is a ghastly and evil act that was perpetrated at Sandy Hook. And it begs the question, "Has society changed since kids were trusted to bring guns to school, or do we react differently now to violence that's always been with us?"
Over the last several weeks, I've seen a lot of data and charts on violence, homicides, mass murders, gun usage, etc. They paint an interesting picture. Some claim mass shootings are happening with greater frequency and violence. Others tell us the opposite: mass shootings and murders aren't on the rise. Furthermore, from the FBI we learn that more people are killed by fists or hammers each year than semi-automatic rifles.
We're told that America has anywhere between 11,000 and 30,000+ homicides by gun every year, the most in the developed world, and that limiting guns is the solution. But then we find that homicides actually increased in the United Kingdom after that country passed strict gun control policies. Furthermore, it appears that the United Kingdom had more violent crime than the U.S. in the recent past -- "a higher crime rate than any other rich nation except Australia". Speaking of Australia, here's some interesting data on what happened in that country after its gun ban.
A look at Chicago and Washington, D.C., two of the historically most violent cities, reveals that gun bans do not necessarily decrease violence. It turns out that while Chicago is a leader in gun control, it is also a leader in gun violence. Most of the gun violence is gang-against-gang shootings involving African-Americans. Indeed, "a black Chicagoan is 20 times more likely to be a murder victim than a white Chicagoan". Over in Washington, D.C., we learn from a former prosecutor that violent crimes and gun-related homicides actually increased after that city's gun ban. Those rates decreased after individuals were more free to defend themselves.
Even after I look at all of those statistics, I still find myself coming back to the tough questions. What has changed in our society that we could once trust children to bring guns to school while today many would argue that even adults shouldn't have guns? Why is it that African-Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered in Chicago than whites? Why is it that young, predominantly white males (some from very affluent backgrounds) seem to lose their minds and go on homicidal killing sprees?
In a perfect world we could be gun-free and know, not just feel, that we are safe at all times. But that is not reality. We are cursed with human nature and its ugliness is seen all around in broken families, abuse, drugs, murder, rape, and so much more.
We have also seen how ugly government can become when the worst of human nature seizes power. Of all the murders and violence done in the 20th century, none comes even close to the slaughters done in the name of government, often for the so-called good of the people.
As surely as human nature will be with us, so, too, will criminals and criminal governments. To retain our moral and natural rights to defend against them is critical. But arguably even more critical is the need to recognize that everything isn't okay in America.
Taking guns away won't cure what ails us; gun violence is just the surface. We need to take a deep breath, remove our ideological blinders, look honestly at all of the data, and consider what has changed and what caused the change.
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- Guns and violence: The English experience
- Are Guns Really More Dangerous than Other Weapons?
- Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America
- More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws
- The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas
- Domestic Terrorism: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- State Firearm Death Rates, Ranked by Rate, 2006
- Quotes on The Right to Bear Arms