The Sandy Hook School Massacre
The tragedy at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, where a lone gunman slaughtered 20 children and 7 adults, demands action – effective action. The burning question is how to prevent such slaughter in the future, without the law of unintended consequences making things worse.
The citizens of the USA – and of every country – need the Second Amendment’s rights to protect themselves from rape and pillage by both government agents and common criminals. But who do you need more protection against? Which can inflict the most damage? Lone individuals or an out-of-control dictator or government?
Self-defense is a basic right.* If someone attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself. Yet strict gun control regulations interfere with that right because ordinary citizens abide by the law while criminals acquire guns illegally. That leaves honest people at a distinct disadvantage – how can the police be immediately at every scene whenever desperately needed?
Does Banning guns solve the problem?
Does banning guns work to eliminate people’s violence. The UK experience is instructive. Now Britain enforces a near-total ban on guns, the Telegraph reports that: “The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world, worse even than America, according to the European Commission.*”
The simplistic answer to the Sandy Hook massacre is obvious: Just make all guns illegal. But is any law 100% effective?
Americans are understandably determined that massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, never happen again. But how? Some demand ever stricter control of firearms. Many others advocate more effective treatment of mentally ill people and understand that so-called gun-free zones simply disarm law-abiding victims.
The USA is not alone in facing this problem of mentally deranged individuals and criminals. Both Britain and Australia suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s, despite their already stringent gun laws. Both countries nevertheless decided that even stricter gun control was the most effective answer. Their experiences are enlightening.
Should government stop citizens protecting themselves from criminals? What would be the consequences? Yet this question misses the crucial point: If government carried out their fundamental job of protecting citizens properly, then citizens wouldn’t need to protect themselves.
The 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook, Connecticut has disturbing similarities to the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting where two angry young men slaughtered a teacher and twelve students.
Do Guns Kill – or Protect?
If guns are responsible for killing people, then spoons are responsible for making people fat, and beds are responsible for women becoming pregnant.
In the article, Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown, the Wall Street Journal* reports there were 18 random mass shootings in the 1980s, 54 in the 1990s, and 87 random mass shootings in the 2000s. In 2012, just one year not a whole decade, the Washington Post lists 14 cases of mass shootings. Are restrictive gun laws producing the desired effect? Or are the increasingly stringent gun bans worsening the number of massacres?
Along with other liberals, President Obama believes that more stringent gun laws will make it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms. Although banning guns does make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to own them, their beliefs just ignore reality: Criminals don’t get their guns by following the law.