Opinion

Guns Don’t Shoot People; People Shoot People

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Posted: Jun 06, 2018 1:00 PM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.
Guns Don’t Shoot People; People Shoot People

Santa Fe High School students returned to class last week for the first time since the May 18 shooting.  They were greeted with heartfelt Texan hospitality; a closed-door presidential visit; and the shock that the pointless murder they’ve so often seen on TV, happened to them.  

While the Class of ‘18 at both Santa Fe and Parkland will never be the same, these mass murders churned up predictable shootings-off-at-the-mouth in the mass media.  The same cast of haranguing “Don Lemons” stormed the media stage to spout rickety arguments that whine for political leaders to “just do something.” 

Lights! Camera! Action!  

And off they went with rhetorical shotguns a-blazing – locked, loaded and pointed at all the wrong targets: The NRA. The Republicans. Guns. And, oh yes, Trump!

After every mass shooting, an army of anti-gunners – camouflaged in sincere anger – hunkers down with an arsenal of ideological machineguns to mow down anything that moves against their deeply flawed gun control narrative.  

And it is flawed.

“More gun control will bring fewer gun fatalities,” they say, mostly from pristine TV studios.

Meanwhile in real life, common sense tells us that murderers don’t need guns to kill.  And the facts are telling us something else: People use guns, far more often, to stop murder. 

Paul Hsieh, writing in a Forbes article in March, quoted a study that estimated there were 162,000 cases per year “where someone ‘almost certainly would have been killed’ if they ‘had not used a gun for protection.’” 

Other studies quote over a million cases.  But let’s stick with the 162,000 lives saved.

By comparison, America had 11,208 homicide deaths by firearms in 2012, Hsieh wrote; 33,636 deaths from injury by firearm, and most of those – 21,175 – were suicides.

In 2017, homicide deaths by firearms increased to 15,549, according to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shootings in reports from media and law enforcement. 

So, Americans were protected by guns 10 times more than they were murdered by them.  

That’s real life. 

Chicago is also real. The murder rate there is covered as if real people aren’t dying. And although long-overdue enforcement has recently slowed the murder rate, the numbers – especially compared to school shootings – are still off the charts.

On Memorial Day, 38 people were wounded or killed by gunfire across Chicago, a city that saw 3,457 people shot last year, and 650 murdered. 

Compare that to 239 school shootings over the past six years where 138 students were murdered, according to a New York Times article in February. Over the same six years in Chicago, 3,422 people were murdered, including 198 murders so far this year.  

The media’s Don Lemons would have much more credibility if they went to Chicago’s inner cities to speak “truth to power” against murderous gang leaders.  The lopsided coverage creates an illusion about guns that doesn’t exist in real life. 

Gun-saving stories are either ignored, re-interpreted or marginalized out of media existence because, the truth is, rabid political gun-controllers aren't looking for the truth.  It’s all ideological.  

And when things get all ideological – whether the issue is guns, race, women’s rights, or illegal immigration – truth doesn’t matter. 

The simple truth is, the root of the so-called “gun problem” is as old as Cain and Abel.  Way back before guns, knives, bombs and acid, Cain used his fists.  

Back then, the murder weapon wasn’t the issue; the murderer was. The Bible simply says that Cain was “angry” and “downcast” and “attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”  Some things never change. 

We’ve made the reality of naked murder way too complicated. When people decide to murder, it’s a human issue – ultimately, a heart thing – not a gun thing. 

Creating more laws against the weapon of choice is like banning forks to control obesity.  Like murderers, if you take away the tool, these big eaters will just use something else – perhaps their hands. 

Blaming the tool is what London is doing.  After an unusual spike in murders this year, officials cracked down by supporting laws that ban rapid-firing rifles, knives, knuckle-busters, and now, acid.

If we want to gain mileage in addressing the real “gun” problem, we can all “do something”; and we’ve all got to stay in our lanes.

The People’s Lane: We need to get back to practicing the Judeo-Christian values that built Western civilization. That ethic provides the inner restraint needed to tame the most barbaric of hearts, something a government program could never do.  That “getting back” must start where the first fissures of national decay usually begin – in our homes and neighborhoods. This is something government can’t do. Augustus Caesar, for years, tried the top-down approach after moral decay tarnished Rome’s Golden Era. Exhausted, he later quoted Horace who said that “Laws are vain when hearts remain unchanged.”

The Government Lane: Government must recommit to confining itself to doing only those things that people cannot do for themselves.  A big part of that is law enforcement.  In the context of the “gun” problem, government must punish calculated, cold-blooded murder swiftly and without mercy.   A swift death penalty serves justice and raises the price for killing a human being. It communicates to frail human beings that the value of life is so incalculable that if you take a life, you lose yours. Delaying justice cheapens the human life that was lost. 

The Media Lane: The media world (especially social media) should impose on itself production values akin to the Hays Code (Google it), with a blind eye to easy profit. A self-imposed code would help rebuild the dilapidated walls of high Community Standards. Community Standards in media insulate the public – especially impressionable youth – from cancerous imagery and content that sprout all sorts of social ills: historical amnesia, moral cynicism, and platoons of Columbine disciples who are just a few grievances away from pulling a trigger. 

Guns don’t shoot people; people shoot people.  If we’re honest about “doing something” to fix the gun problem, we have to get dead serious about addressing the people problem.   

Otherwise, we’re just whacking at the branches of the tree, while ignoring the tree that produced the branches in the first place.