David Frum’s newest CNN column is a must read. (I know, I know, I post a lot of Frum here.) At its core, the column breaks down the mythology the NRA has created: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” That might work in Spaghetti Western morality tales, but real life is much more complicated:
In LaPierre’s mind, the world is divided between law-abiding citizens and dangerous criminals. Citizens and criminals form two separate and discrete categories. The criminals pose a threat; if the citizens do not go armed against the threat, they will be victimized by the threat…
…Now let’s take a look at the real world of American gun ownership. The following incident occurred in August:
“A man was shot in the face 9 p.m. Friday in an altercation with a neighbor over barking dogs on Atlas Street,” Troy Police said.
“Police arrested David George Keats, 73, of Troy [Michigan] and charged him with attempted murder in the incident,” according to a media release from the Troy Police Department.
“According to police, witnesses stated that the altercation began when Keats let his three dogs outside and the dogs began to bark. According to the media release, Keats’ 52-year-old next door neighbor yelled at the dogs to be quiet and kicked the fence. Keats then ran up to the victim, yelled, ‘Don’t tell my dogs to shut up,’ and began shooting at the victim.
“One bullet hit the man in the face, piercing both cheeks, and four more shots were fired at the victim as he was running away,” according to the report…
…Now that so many Americans carry weapons when they go out of the home, shooting incidents can occur anywhere, including very commonly the road. Another recent incident: In Pensacola, Florida, in October a man in a Jeep Cherokee cut off another car. A roadway confrontation followed, the two cars stopped, and the Jeep owner emerged to shoot the other driver in the knee. He was arrested this past week.
In these cases, and thousands like them each and every year, it is not so clear who is the “good guy” exercising responsible self-protection and who is the “bad guy” who can only be deterred by an armed citizen.
In the real world, an abundance of guns increases the chance that a minor altercation turns into a deadly one. Here’s another perfect example where an argument over basketball teams turned bad:
Easy access to guns, hotheaded young men, and a stupid argument. Where are the “good guys and bad guys” in all of that? Without a gun, even if it became violent, a few punches would have been thrown, nothing more. Easy access to guns make the world worse.