Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun Craziness and Sandy Hook

There has been a wave of craziness in the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook. Both sides have said some stupid things.

To start with, we cannot get rid of guns. That horse has left the barn. There are more guns than people now. Any attempt to confiscate all of them would require a level of house to house search that would shock the 18th century British. It would also be ineffective. If I know that they are going to search my house for guns, I will hide them elsewhere until later.

Nancy Pelosi has promised to introduce new measures that would put restrictions on new gun purchases. This is political opportunism that would not have stopped the shootings. In general, gun opponents see an opening for new gun legislation that is unrelated to the shootings. The big giveaway here is that this would only affect new sales. This is fueled by the natural urge that politicians have to be seen doing something, even if it is symbolic.

The other side has made an issue about the gun free zones. Of course, declaring the school a weapons free zone did not stop the shooting. It was never intended to. The weapons free zones were created in the 1990s after a number of students were caught with guns. They inevitably said that they carried the gun for self-protection. Teenagers should not be carrying guns around with intent to use. They do not have the judgement. This is even more true of the elementary school where the shootings took place.

Finally, guns are only the means. Getting rid of guns would not stop someone dedicated to destruction. The worst school killing in history took place in 1927 when the school board treasurer in Bath, Michigan packed a school full of explosives and blew it up. Just today a car bomb killed 17 in Pakistan. The Columbine killers planned to explode a propane tank, potentially killing over 1,000 and only started shooting people when their bomb failed. Taking guns away will not stop murderous intent.

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