Don't blame violence on guns

Chapel Hill News editorial, April 1994

by LF

Mrs. David Price's recent Chapel Hill News editorial "Gun violence a legacy we can live without" (April 17) prompted this companion piece.

Amazingly, Ms. Price has not yet learned that Switzerland (only 91 killed by handguns in 1990) presents a particularly odd example for her group to trumpet since in most of that country's cantons (provinces) the average citizen can easily acquire modern high-capacity pistols not to mention anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons while a large percentage of them at any given moment are required by law to keep a fully-automatic rifle and a stockpile of ammunition in their homes. The Swiss, you see, still hold to the historically accurate but currently unpopular notion that "the Militia" consists of every able-bodied citizen capable of bearing arms.

I can understand why such factual niceties fail to make a dent in the average anti-gunner's noggin. After all, their whole crusade is based upon one monstrous, hairy evasion. They simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that the vast majority of violent crimes in this nation are a direct result of the ever-increasing governmental intrusions into our lives.

Up until the 1930's, anyone with enough cash could purchase a machine gun without incident. These firearms were almost never used by criminals, and violent crimes occurred at rates that we would today consider almost inconsequential. Then came Prohibition. As an unforeseen consequence of our government's attempt to legislate morality by banning alcohol, our homicide rate more than doubled in a few years. Finally, when the Feds belatedly came to their senses and their costly mistake was repealed (long after organized crime managed to gain an unshakable foothold in most of our cities), violent crimes slowly drifted back down to their pre-Volstead Act levels. Let me emphasize this: Even during the heart of the Great Depression, when most American families experienced TRUE poverty that makes today's Welfare recipients look like minor-league Rockefellers, our per capita murder rate dropped until stabilizing at a level where it stayed for many years.

And then came the 1960's, when Washington tossed two enormous monkeywrenches into our lives that once again caused our crime rates to explode: the Welfare State and the first salvoes in an increasingly repressive War on Drugs. The "Great Society" social programs differed from FDR's in one critical fashion. They were never intended to be a temporary hand up during difficult times. Rather, they are legalized extortion based upon the false, Malthusian notion that the only way that the "Haves" could succeed was by disenfranchising others. The monstrous children who now prowl our streets were spawned by this mindset, following it to the obvious conclusion that anything tempting that anyone else owns can justifiably be liberated by brute force.

If our chest-thumping politicians were serious about "getting tough on crime," they would end the Drug War, a move that would cut our homicide rate in half. After all, freedom requires that every adult in this country should be able to wreck or enhance their lives in any manner that they choose. In addition, eliminating the huge profits associated with illegal trafficking will greatly reduce the incentive for teenagers to kill each other over sales territory, and the quality controls established by our highly-competent pharmaceutical companies will put a stop to the deaths currently caused by tainted products and accidental overdoses. Most importantly, a very large number of prison cells would be made available when all of the non-violent drug offenders are granted amnesty. They are currently clogging the penal system because they are subjected to mandatory sentences, a luxury not extended to the rapists and murderers who are set free whenever a Grateful Dead concert results in more youthful first-timers being arrested for possessing a few hits of LSD.

Unfortunately, the chances of such sensible steps being taken are almost nonexistent. Decades of concerted indoctrination have reduced the vast bulk of Americans to the level of mindless pigeons. They think that they are still free because they can bad-mouth politicians with relative impunity. However, a quick look at their tax forms would reveal that most working stiffs now spend 16 to 20 hours a week as slaves to their local, state, and federal governments. Worse, they cling to the belief that the few crumbs that they are tossed in return constitute fair repayment.

Now our Masters are demanding our guns. The fact that folks like Mrs. Price are backing such an outrage hardly surprises me. Those who take their fill at the public trough rapidly condition themselves to see only the good (at least for them) that can come out of chucking yet one more individual right into the gaping maw of the State. The sickening thing is the sight of average Americans who apparently feel that they cannot possibly abandon the Constitution fast enough in exchange for what will only turn out to be yet another empty promise.

Price and the NCGC have prattled on endlessly about "compromise," a term they have corrupted to mean a process in which they may make any insane demand that suits them, and then pout for the cameras while "middle of the road" legislators pare it back slightly. Not once have they offered ANYTHING to the defenders of the Second Amendment in exchange for the precious right they seek to destroy ("We'll let you keep your single shot squirrel guns for a few more years" hardly qualifies). So, in the interest of injecting something new into this debate, I offer up the following experiment as a quick way to figure out which which side is correct in its assumptions.

Allow one state to end and stop paying taxes into every single federal social program. Then declare that each individual can own and carry any firearm that suits them. In order to forestall the complaint that criminals from the other states are using the one thus freed as an arms depot, Alaska should be selected (as Canada would act as a strict buffer). I'm sure that a majority of its citizens would jump at the chance, not only because they are rugged individualists, but because the chance to acquire the 60-70% of its land currently controlled by Washington would prove irresistible.

Want to bet whether the resulting Free State would soon have a much lower crime rate than the remaining 49?

With any luck, the Alaskans would then take the next logical step by seceding from the Union. With their vast supply of natural resources and a minimal government, they could create one of the world's most powerful economies in short order. Then those of us left behind who still believe that our Founding Fathers meant what they said all those years ago would have a place to emigrate to before our own rotted system completely collapses.


Up the spout