Debunking Jason Alexander's Gun Myths
Over the weekend, former "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander released a vitriolic anti-gun screed at a Twitter-style social media outlet. Big Hollywood contributor Jeremy Choate offers this less heated rebuttal:
Before I begin, let me respectfully submit that I believe you to be an extremely talented performer, and I still find myself stopping to watch episodes of “Seinfeld” regardless of whatever else may be on television at the time. While I admire your passion on this subject, I believe you are misguided in a few areas, and I hope this letter will address some of those ideas.
Now, I started to write a lengthy and detailed response to your Tweet, but as I wrote, I was dogged by the constant thought that very little of what I was writing (or what you wrote, frankly), gets to the heart of this issue.
I won’t bother getting into a detailed rebuttal of your thoughts concerning the intent of the Founding Fathers with respect to the Second Amendment, since smarter men than both of us have exhausted this topic. Let me say only that your “militia-only” interpretation is roundly rejected by most Constitutional scholars, and it doesn’t require a law degree to recognize the speciousness of your argument.
Simply put, there are scores of quotes from the Founding Fathers concerning the necessity of individual ownership of arms, completely separate from their function in a well-regulated militia. Furthermore, and most importantly, if the Second Amendment is reserved only to government-approved militia groups, then it is the ONLY right listed in the Bill of Rights that is not an individual right. For that reason alone, it is incredibly dangerous to cast doubt on the individual nature of ANY of the rights listed in the Bill of Rights - even the dreaded Second Amendment.
I found it interesting that you chose to single out “assault rifles” to receive the brunt of your wrath. I have no particular affinity for assault rifles and have no interest in defending assault rifles against their, in my opinion, undeserved infamy. As a firearms expert and former Reconnaissance Marine, I can assure you that I am more deadly with my Glock 32 and its 10-round capacity than the average citizen is with the fearful AR-15 and a 30-round magazine - especially under the circumstances and at the ranges that the Aurora shooter encountered.
As such, even if those who feel as you do are successful at banning the possession of so-called assault rifles, my ability to defend myself will not be hindered in any way whatsoever.
As an engaged citizen, I’m sure that you are aware that 13 innocent people were killed during the Columbine massacre - one more than at Aurora. Are you also aware that almost three times as many innocent people were killed at Virginia Tech as in Aurora? Did you further know that none of the killers involved in those massacres used assault rifles? Harris and Klebold destroyed 13 lives (not including their own) using two 9mm handguns and two 12-gauge shotguns. Seung-Hui Cho callously murdered 32 people using only a .22 caliber Walther P22 and a 9mm Glock 19.
Why do I bring this up? It’s not to exonerate assault rifles; it’s to illustrate the fact that your Tweet is a misdirected overreaction to an event about which you should rightfully be enraged. The issue is not about the type of weapon James E. Holmes used to end the lives of so many innocent people, and a focus on such an irrelevant issue distracts us from real solutions to the problem.
Obviously, the common thread between Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora is NOT the type of weapons the predators used. The common thread was the viciousness of the predators and the helplessness of their prey. In each case, the victims were found in situations where the lawful possession of firearms was prohibited, and these law-abiding victims were the only ones observing the rule.
It is natural, at a time like this, to bemoan the existence of firearms, but we may just as well bemoan the existence of Great White Sharks, mosquitoes and personal injury lawyers. In all the aforementioned cases, all those things exist and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. It is folly for us to believe that more laws and gun bans will somehow cause all weapons to disappear from our society. Even if we could accomplish the Herculean (and tyrannical) task of confiscating ALL firearms from all 300 million of us, are we naive enough to believe that the possibility of gun violence will be eliminated?
I’m sure that you are intelligent enough to deduce the ways in which firearms will find their way back into the hands of those with the highest proclivity for criminal violence. Besides, if a predator has no respect for laws that forbid the cold-blooded murder of another human being, what makes you so confident that he will respect yet another law against the possession of certain types of firearms?
Jason, there are wolves among us. Pulling the teeth of the sheepdogs will do nothing to protect the sheep. Statistics show that we live in a very violent society, but that violence has nothing to do with the implements used to achieve that violence. Until we can transform our society into one that has more respect for human life and human dignity, the best we can do is allow the sheepdogs among us to stand in defiance of the wolves. We’ll never be able to do that if every time a wolf steals a sheep, we de-fang the dog.