The Conversation

Gun control: hysteria by default

In response to Report: Navy Yard Gunman 'Gathered Weapons Along the Way':

This would seem to detonate a number of cherished arguments from the gun control lobby, since the one bit of our Second Amendment rights they've been (loudly pretending) to concede is the ownership of shotguns and hunting rifles.  The proof that they're not deranged totalitarians and/or crass political opportunists is supposed to be their solemn vow that they'll never, ever come after shotguns and hunting equipment.  

Why, no less than Vice President Joe Biden has specifically endorsed the shotgun as an invaluable implement of self-defense - for women, no less, since he made a point of claiming that he tells his wife to keep a shotgun handy and fire warning shots at intruders, by which he presumably meant the intruders who get past the professional security protection he's enjoyed throughout his endless political career.

I guess the only move left for the gun-control extremists is to demand that security forces and military police be disarmed as well, limiting the carnage in Bill Clinton's gun-free military zones to whatever the killer can do with the weapons he brings.  

But no, wait, I'm still using too much logic to predict their position.  The Piers Morgan types will howl for new regulations that have nothing to do with what happened at the Washington Navy Yard.  They'll declare it's further evidence supporting whatever voodoo gun-control remedy they clutch to their bosoms.  They'll call for legal sanctions and restrictions against millions of people who had nothing to do with yesterday's horror - indeed, people who would have acted to stop the killing if they had been there, with their legal firearms.

It's almost redundant to speak of "gun-control hysteria," because hysteria is the default state of the movement.  It fits with the Left's tendency to collectivize everything, most definitely including responsibility.  If a handful of people do bad things for a variety of different reasons, it's evidence that none of us can be trusted with the full exercise of our liberties.  And it's always taken as evidence that The System must be refined (i.e. made larger) - never as evidence that people within The System have failed in some way, and should be held individually accountable.  

Of course, this hysterical reasoning never works the other way.  When a handful of government employees does something bad - for instance, the IRS scandal - it's never presented as evidence that the government is too large and powerful.  It's never viewed as evidence that the government cannot be trusted with its "liberties."  Only the great body of private American citizens can ever be judged unworthy based on the actions of a few criminals and lunatics.  The collectivist State is never held collectively responsible for anything.


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