Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 709, February 24, 2013

"Crimes against the Constitution".
Remember that phrase, and pass it around
because we're going to be using it a lot.

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

They are trying to make us afraid.

There is something disturbing about our friends in the gun rights movement. They talk about how dangerous the modern world is and why we need to arm ourselves in self defense. Of course, arming oneself in depth, tear gas/pepper spray, knives, guns, shillelaghs, and training, is prudent and you should get as much as your pocketbook can handle. This is the only way to deal with an increasingly dangerous world. That said, they appeal not to our prudence but our fears.

Meanwhile the advocates of gun control also speak to people's fear. To them the world is growing dangerous and we have to get rid of all the guns so the crazy folk and criminals who commit murders can't get them. This is the only way to make the world safe. Disarmament is the only prudent step.

They are trying to make us afraid.

There's only one problem, In most of the United States violent crime is declining. Very specifically, murders are decreasing at a rate of about 600 a year even though the population is rising. The big exceptions are Chicago, which is in the middle of a gang war over who gets to sell drugs and El Paso, Texas, whose murder rate has "recovered" from the anomalously low murder rate off 2010 (5 murders) to a more normal 22 in 2012, which is still lower than average for a city El Paso's size, lower enough that it still qualifies as the safest large city in the US (sorry, vcn't resist sticking up for my much maligned hometown.).

There is sufficient danger to warrant prudence. but not the fear some gun right advocates and all gun rights opponents are seeking to foment and appeal to. This makes me wonder just how reliable these allies are.

There is talk that assault weapon bans and magazine restriction are going nowhere at the Federal level (From the talkers' mouth to God's ears as well as Eris'). There is also talk that "universal background checks" will be passed, as a sensible step "we can all agree on." The opponents of gun control will claim that univeral checks and better maintained "Instacheck" is a small price to pay to not be subjected to the bans that have been proposed. Meanwhile the hoplophobes will be told "hey, at least we got background checks through."

And the average American will walk away from the whole thing afraid of his fellow American, convinced he is going to murder him when he freaks out with a gun in his hand or else trying to disarm him. We will be ruled by fear, and those who manipulate our fears. Acynical and untrusting person might even suggest that that was the point when all was said and done.

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