Fourth Grader Settles Gun Control Debate: Details at 11:00

Posted: Feb 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Despite a recent survey conducted by Dee Rowland, Chairwoman of the Gun Violence Prevention Center, I know that owning a gun is the best way to protect myself from criminal victimization. After all, Dee only surveyed one person – her nine year old grandson. I doubled her sample size by surveying two of my closest friends.

A friend I will call Steve – because that’s his real name – was recently a near-victim of road rage. Someone who perceived himself to have been cut off in traffic by Steve proceeded to follow him several miles to his home and then reach for the handle of the car door to yank him out. But the assault was interrupted when the fellow looked across the seat and saw a Glock 23, chambered in .40 caliber. He shouted “oh, that f***ing figures, can’t fight without a gun” as he ran back to his car, never to be seen again.

The guy went from zero to sixty in four point five seconds in a Subaru. The Guinness Book of World Records has been officially notified.

A friend I will call Barry – because that’s his real name – was recently a near-victim of a crack induced mugging. He had just withdrawn a large amount of money from an ATM and hopped back into his Mazda 626. A haggard looking crack addict – Barry assumed he was a drug addict because he was humming a tune by Whitney Houston, not by Merle Haggard – came running up to the door and tried to force his way into the car. Barry responded by letting him know his money was in a fanny pack, right next to his .45 Auto. After Barry looked down to secure his weapon, he looked up and saw the man running away.

The guy went 100 yards in about 8 seconds flat – give or take several seconds. The Guinness Book of World Records has been officially notified.

But, unfortunately, in the wake of the recent murderous rampage at Trolley Square, the folks at Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah are embarking on an anti-gun rampage that could soon be the envy of every Muslim who likes to kill innocent people at a shopping mall.

Steve Gunn, a member of the organization that relies heavily on the advice of nine-year-olds, says that whether you believe that “everyone” or “no one” should have a gun “depends on your perspective.” That’s exactly right, Steve. And since it appears that the angry Muslim’s crime spree was stopped by a man with a concealed weapons permit, it’s worth asking a couple of questions about “perspective.”

What do you suppose was the perspective of the Muslim murderer who went on that shooting spree in Utah? Does he favor concealed carry permits like the one that helped someone kill him?

And how about the people who died or had to rely on someone else to defend them from that gun-wielding member of the religion of peace and love, which is otherwise known as Islam? Do they favor concealed carry permits?

Since many of the potential members of our survey are dead, I guess we’ll have to give extra weight to the opinions of a nine year old – one who just happens to have a grandmother chairing the board of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah. In fairness, we’ll ask him whether a ban on guns includes a ban on Steve Gunn. Since our survey will be a small one, son, please remember that a whole lot ‘depends on your perspective.’

But lest the reader believe that I disparage the opinions of every board member of the aforementioned Utah gun control organization, let me introduce a statement by Gary Sackett who says “I’m not comfortable arming our entire country for protection – that’s a paranoid notion.”

I actually agree with Gary. Those in the gun control lobby who think we are trying to arm “our entire country” – including felons, illegal aliens, and mental patients – are indeed paranoid. But they always manage to win the argument as long as they are arguing against something we aren’t saying.

I actually agree with “Gun-control Gary” on something else. He says that “You can’t protect against every madman with a firearm or a hand grenade.” Aside from a) admitting that he only thinks you can get “a firearm or a hand grenade” out of the hands of sane man and, b) suggesting he will try to accomplish only this goal, there is one more problem. It’s the old Utopian notion that only perfect solutions, not trade-offs, are acceptable.

Imagine telling a rape victim – one who was previously denied a concealed carry permit – that she only had a twenty percent chance of stopping her attacker with a gun. Tell her you won’t settle for anything less than one hundred percent. But if you say this to five rape victims, make sure you don’t report the cumulative percentage. That might cause unnecessary emotional trauma – although I admit to being less than one hundred percent certain as of this writing.

“Gun-control Gary” Sackett also teaches us that homicide and suicide rates are lower in places like Japan where they have more restrictions on handguns. But he fails to tell us that less than forty percent of crimes are reported to the police agencies that are under no obligation to report crimes to the federal government, which does not include any federal crimes in its own reports. Are we to also conclude that there is no federal crime in America? Or should we just ask Martha Stewart instead? Never mind, I think she has a nine year old grandson.

Actually, we do learn something from studying our federal crime statistics; namely that they wildly underestimate the amount of crime in America. And we also learn that, despite their limitations, they are vastly superior to the statistics of virtually every other nation, including highly advanced societies like Zimbabwe and Castro Cuba.

That means we can’t make cross-cultural comparisons like the gun control lobby would lead us to believe. But, fortunately, we can compare our national statistics from one year to the next since they tend to have roughly the same level of error from one year to the next.

When we compare the 1950s to the early 21st Century we realize that the increase in per capita ownership of devices with transistors has been accompanied by an increase in property crime. And the correlation is probably a reflection of a causal relationship – this is because the prevalence of lighter and more portable valuables is more appealing to larcenists and burglars alike.

But there’s no need to fear that a group of people in the Gun Violence Prevention Center will form a sister group called the Transistor Crime Prevention Center. They don’t know that my choice to buy an item with a transistor is driving up the crime rate. In fact, the latest statistics show that Japan has both lower crime and more transistors per capita. If anything, they may start to lobby for concealed carry transistor permits in order to bring crime back down to 1950s levels.

When the public policy director for Gun Owners of Utah said that a concealed permit is something that every adult “needs to consider” he was right. We all need to consider (read: think seriously about) important issues in the 21st Century.

But Dee Rowland said that the assertion that we should “consider” – or think about the issue – is “absurd” adding that even her nine year old grandson asked rhetorically “how could that help?”

The next time you try to talk to a nine year old only to find he is opposed to serious thinking, just ask someone else. You could just survey a member of the gun control lobby or maybe even a Muslim in a shopping mall.

Just as long as someone else is doing your thinking - especially someone with a political agenda - everything will probably work out fine.