My heart goes out to the victims of the shootings yesterday at the Washington Naval Yard. I watched the news feed from the first Twitter reports, all through the day. My colleagues and I discussed it, and I withheld judgment until I knew what facts I could.
The murderer appears to have been a relatively normal person. Yes, he had some brushes with the law. He was angry about some things. If that ought to have been some kind of warning to us, then there are a million others that need to be rounded up.
So then he violates almost every existing law in the strictest gun control fortress in the nation, and shoots up the place. Predictably, the gun control factions start their calls for stricter laws.
But everything he did was already against existing laws.
Except the existence of the guns themselves.
Bookmark this post. I am not the only one who will point this out.
We on the side of the Constitution have always insisted that the guns are not to blame for violence, that it is the criminals who should be punished. That cannot be disputed. We, who lawfully and Constitutionally own guns for protection, sport, hunting, or any reason, should not be punished for the actions of criminals.
There is one side, however, which insists on previous restraint of every wrong. To them, anything that can go wrong can be prevented by restricting something, ahead of the potential wrong. So, in the case of gun violence, they pass laws to prevent convicted criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns. And they pass laws preventing anyone from bringing guns into areas where they think there should be no guns.
Only, not everyone who is violent has done something in the past that would have prevented them from lawfully buying a gun. And, strange as it seems, someone who is intent on committing a crime already (murder) sees nothing wrong with violating Gun Free Victim Zone laws.
So, in the near future, the overwhelming logic will become clear in the media: since we can’t know who will kill with guns, we must remove all the guns from society. Now.
Here it comes.
Do not be surprised.
Do not be weak. Look to Australia and Britain if you wonder where this leads.
I was going to end this post here, with a warning. But I cannot, because, to me, the real answer is obvious and must be presented.
The real answer, for us, is to end this unreasonable insistence that every crime can be prevented with some new law. True, the only way to prevent crime – any crime – is to give the potential criminal a reason to decide not to commit the crime. But believing that some law, which results in a sign or a metal detector or a background check or a potential prison term, will somehow always cause a potential criminal to change his decision, is demonstrably absurd. Yesterday’s events prove that.
What, then, would prevent criminals from carrying out something like the Washington Naval Yard tragedy?
Thanks to a change in the laws in 1993, no one other than guards may carry guns on a military base. So, the murderer yesterday was attacking a Gun Free Victim Zone. The murderer at Fort Hood last year attacked a Gun Free Victim Zone.
The murderer in Newtown attacked children in a Gun Free Victim Zone.
The murderer in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, picked that theater because it was a Gun Free Victim Zone.
We must end Gun Free Victim Zones.
If the potential criminal thinks his targets may be armed, he may decide not to attack. In this case, prior restraint turns out to be a real thing, but only if it is a real thing, not a law or a sign.
And, if the threat of potential victims fighting back does not change the criminal’s mind, then the potential victims do fight back, and the incident is resolved. Not completely peacefully, admittedly, but the final results are much less than they would have been otherwise. Ample historical examples exist. And, the more these kinds of results occur, the more that potential criminals are swayed to prior restraint.
But we must be ready to make this argument, and not be swayed by the other side. Be persistent, and be calm, and be polite.
Here it comes.