Of Shopping Malls and AR-15’s
Of Shopping Malls and AR-15’s
Yesterday at a mall in a suburb of Portland, Oregon there was what law enforcement refers to as an “active shooter scenario”. In English that means that there was a seriously disturbed individual that went into a shopping mall two weeks before Christmas and opened fire on innocent people for no apparent reason. Without fail, there were those (like Sen. Ginny Burdick (D)) who called for the ban of high capacity magazines for semi-automatic weapons. Just like the much disputed comments of Bob Costas when the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide occurred scarcely a week ago, Ms. Burdick’s comments have reignited the never ending debate in this nation on gun control.
Never mind my political affiliation (Republican for the curious), or my background (Military Brat)-the proposal to take weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens has never made sense to me. Now I am fully aware that many people argue that the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution was never meant to apply to modern times; it was written with militia in mind when our nation was young and less organized. It is true that the 2nd Amendment does mention militia but it also states clearly that the people have the right to keep and bear arms-see here. Now, when we look at crime statistics in societies which have banned firearms, like Britain for example, we tend to see an explosion of gun crimes committed. Just in the past year, one article states that criminals have used firearms in 46% more offenses from April 2010-April 2011. According to information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nonfatal firearm incidents in 2009 (the last year for which these data are available) comprised a scant 8% of all violent crimes in the U.S. So, I feel pretty safe saying the following to Ms. Burdick and Mr. Costas-if you disarm the law abiding population of the U.S. you are not only violating their 2nd Amendment rights under the Constitution, you are ignoring the statistics that tell us that no matter how many of these types of stories splash across American media-only 8% of violent crimes in this nation involve firearms.
When someone bashes in the head of their spouse with a baseball bat, why doesn’t anyone call for a ban on Louisville Sluggers which are sold in sports supply stores across this nation every day? The answer is clear-because the gun debate is a hotly contested issue in this nation’s politics and has been for years. Anytime you have a powerful lobbying group, in this case the NRA, supporting an issue which is largely supported by one political orientation (right wingers of all degrees from moderate to extreme) the opposing side is going to object.
The point of this posting isn’t to revisit this debate yet again; it is simply to observe that perhaps we should start to apply some logic to how we view this situation. While it is difficult to view things on the news like the assault on holiday shoppers in a suburban oasis like a shopping mall and hold logic firmly in our minds-but we need to as a society. If you doubt what I am saying, just call a friend who lives in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. One friend of mine who lives in Manhattan told me stories about how the societal fabric broke down a short 24 hours prior to Hurricane Sandy even hitting. She fled to a safer location-not just from the storm, but from those looting the bodegas and restaurants. No matter how she felt about firearms prior to that experience, she thought about it afterward and is in the process of changing her views on the topic. I am not asking those who read this who might agree with Ms. Burdick to simply turn to my side on this issue-only to keep the facts in mind when discussing how we as a society react to situations like Tuesday’s insane rampage.