Equipped to be a Killer
(April 9, 2009) There is a funny story about a woman who rowed her husband’s boat out for a little solitude. While she was enjoying the fresh air and sunshine a Park Ranger pulled up alongside and asked to see her fishing license. When she told him she didn’t have one he said that he was going to write her a ticket because, even though she was just sitting in the boat reading, there was fishing equipment in the boat. The woman replied that she wanted to charge the Ranger with rape then because, even though he was just sitting in his boat talking, he had all of the necessary equipment.
Unfortunately, in the real world, the woman’s quick wit would probably not get her out of the ticket and might cost her more charges, but there is a truth in this story that deserves careful consideration.
There is a dramatic difference between having tools and having intent. While this truth should apply to fishing gear or guns in parks, it is also one of the fundamental flaws in the thinking of hoplophobes and their attacks on individual rights – that having tools and using tools is the same thing.
I recall a story of a hoplophobic politician or reporter who, looking at the firing line at Camp Perry saw hundreds of "potential assassins" rather than hundreds of dedicated sportsmen, patriots, and potential defenders of the nation. That distorted perception demonstrates a level of fundamental human distrust which is simply astounding. How can a person who is so mistrustful of his fellow man ever get behind the wheel of a car or even leave his home?
But this is the mindset that we in the rights movement are up against. These people believe that having the equipment is the same as being equipped, leaving out the most important factors; motivation and inclination. Virtually everyone in the world has the equipment to be "violent killers," but only a small fraction of the world’s population are equipped with the desire and inclination to truly be violent killers. (And then there is the question of those who equip themselves to be violent killers to protect civilized society, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)
What the hoplophobes refuse to see or understand is that criminal behavior – whether with a gun, knife, car, or bare hands – is always first and foremost about the behavior. The tool is a side issue. Behavior is the problem and any "solution" that fails to address behavior is no solution at all. While there is some truth to the old saw, "the clothes make the man," likewise having the accoutrements of criminal behavior at hand can help to facilitate that behavior – but only in people predisposed to the behavior and only to a very limited degree. Dress an honor student in gang-banger duds and give him a gun and he’s not likely to start ripping off liquor stores. Conversely, dress a street punk in Ralph Lauren and he’s still not someone you want your daughter dating.
Most importantly, even if it were possible to keep guns away from people who are predisposed to criminal violence (which is not really possible, but let’s play "even if…") the lack of a firearm is not going to deter those people from engaging in their criminal violence. There is no credible, statistical evidence that violent crime, including murder, has ever been significantly reduced by restrictions on firearms. Crime involving firearms might go down some, depending on how draconian the gun control laws are and how actively they are enforced, but actual numbers of murders, assaults, rapes, and robberies tend to go up rather than down in the wake of stricter gun laws. That’s why the anti-gun agitators are always careful to focus their attention on "gun crime" rather than just crime.
People with an irrational fear of weapons, particularly firearms, think that it is the weapon that causes the crime. If they were able to think rationally they would realize that it is criminals who cause crime and criminals, by definition, violate laws such as laws against acquisition and possession of weapons just as they do laws against rape, robbery, and murder.
Something that rights supporters must understand is that hoplophobes can not be "cured" with reason any more than people with an irrational fear of spiders or snakes can be convinced that such vermin are "friendly." That’s what irrational means.
Therefore efforts to reform hoplophobes are wasted. Instead we must focus our energies on exposing the irrationality and distortions put forward by these people so that the rational public can see the truth.
Gun laws don’t work.
Restricting the rights of responsible citizens does nothing to reduce crime or protect society.
Focusing on tools diverts resources away from effective strategies for reducing crime and suicide.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.
©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates