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Category: Monticello College Comments: 19

Gun Control Revisited

A friend of mine commented on my recent blog post entitled Surprising Results From Obama Mandated Gun Violence Study By CDC.
Though we disagree on a number of topics, I very much appreciate her candor and willingness to discuss hard issues. I have included her comments and my reply.

Hi Shanon,
Long time! Thanks for posting this. I have something to add as regards the mass shooting issue.
The statistics don’t take into account the real cost of having assault style weapons easily available to the civilian population, which is psychological and emotional. Children today have never experienced what it is to leave the safety of their home each morning and not feel the specter of being systematically hunted down in their school.
That nightmare is always there, in the background, for our children and for their parents. This is a kind of domestic terrorism, in its effects if not its intent. The argument that these types of weapons are a bulwark against governmental tyranny is specious at best, considering the types of technologies the U.S. government has at its disposal.
The best way to ensure freedom from tyranny is to see to the health of our democratic institutions. And to privilege the rights of those who wish to possess these weapons of large scale destruction over the citizens who are held hostage to the reality of mass shootings is to abuse the notion of second amendment rights, which are ostensibly to secure freedom from tyranny.
That these types of weapons are still flooding our country is a financial victory for vested interests, and a source of national shame for Americans of all political stripes.

I honestly feel for our school children and the fear they feel. It should not be this way.
However let the facts stand – The report cited in the above blog, ordered by President Obama in 2013 and carried out under the direction of the CDC simple does not support your conclusions:
Fact – there are 300 million guns in America 200 million rifles and 100 million hand guns
Fact – from 1983 to 2018, a period of 35 years – 78 mass shooting events occurred -defined by the CDC as 4 or more deaths caused by one shooter in one day – as a result of these 78 events, 547 were killed and 476 injured – 1,023 in total. 1,023 too many deaths I agree, but hardly enough to change our constitution.
Fact – From 2000-2010 there were 335,000 deaths by gunshot, 61% were from suicide. During this same time 87% of all violent crime involved a hand gun not a rifle. Why are we focusing on rifles when in a 35 year period less than 700 have died in a mass shooting from the abuse of firearms, often a rifle. That is 16 deaths a year on average. To put this in perspective, 5,000 people die each year from food poisoning.
Fact – a semi automatic weapon is not an assault firearm. One trigger pull, one round fired.
Fact – 2008 – 300,000 violent crimes involving a firearm. During the same time, there were 1 million occurrences where a civilian thwarted a crime by possessing a firearm, that’s 3 crimes averted for every crime committed.
Other research shows that annually 88,000 people die in America from alcohol, 480,000 die from tobacco, 40,000 die in auto accidents and 33,500 die from gunshot.
In my opinion, all of these numbers are horrific. So why are we spending so much national attention on the lesser of these statistics?
I believe it is mostly because of media induced fear, lack of exposure to firearms, and a historic agenda to disarm the public. History is replete with accounts of an unarmed populace–regardless how they arrived at being disarmed–being tyrannized by an armed government.
It is not necessary for the public to have the sophisticated weaponry of the military to pose a significant deterrent to government abuse. Anyone who has spent anytime around firearms knows that even a single shot .22 poses the threat of serious bodily harm. An untrained civilian with a firearm scares me as much as you. So let’s remedy this by getting America trained and respecting firearms.
No act of Congress could ever stop people from owning firearms. We tried that “prohibition” approach with the 18th amendment and it failed miserably. And that was just over an intoxicant.
The better approach would be much more firearm education and training, better security in schools, much more Run-Hide-Fight training in the schools etc. We need to become more Anti-fragile.

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Comments (19)

  • John Eberhard

    Couldn’t agree with you more Shanon.

    March 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      Thanks John.

      March 15, 2018 at 9:05 am
  • Claude Richards

    The fact that the progressive/liberal/socialists and mainstream media immediately call for gun control after every shooting, in a drumbeat drive to disarm the entire population, in total disregard for common sense, Constitutional prohibition and the God-given right to self-defense is clear evidence that small arms are a deterrent to government power.

    March 14, 2018 at 10:25 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      While the fear people experience is real, you are right, based on data provided by the Left itself (the initiative of president Obama – CDC Report) citizen disarmament would literally increase the number of incidents of violent crime and mass shootings, not decrease it. As we saw in the last several mass shootings, the police are first responders not “Preventers” of these terrible crimes, so pass all the gun control laws you want, criminals don’t need the law to acquire weapons, only law abiding citizens worry about that. The only thing holding back criminal activity is the criminal’s concern of coming up against an armed citizen. The push for disarmament then makes little sense…unless there is another motive.

      March 15, 2018 at 9:05 am
      • Claude Richards

        Can there be any doubt that there is another motive?!

        March 16, 2018 at 10:06 am
        • Shanon Brooks

          I don’t know if there is an “organized” motive to gun control, but certainly there is no doubt that there are individuals who are for disarming America.

          March 20, 2018 at 12:48 am
  • LeGrand Fry

    Trying to reduce mass shootings by taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens, is like trying to reduce drunk driving fatalities by confiscating the cars of sober drivers…totally backwards.
    As you pointed out, more firearms training is needed and instead of spending millions on TSA security theater, install metal detectors in schools and lock-down the entrances/exits once and for all.
    Home schooling / distance education makes a lot of sense in this regard. Best regards Shanon!

    March 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      Thanks LeGrand. You’re right its just common sense.

      March 15, 2018 at 8:53 am
  • Julie Mathison

    Jeez — I had a great argument that just got erased! Take two:
    The rates on gun ownership track perfectly with the rates on gun violence. If there were fewer guns in circulation, we wouldn’t need them to protect ourselves from our fellow Americans. We own about 90 firearms per hundred people, compared with the next contenders at about 30 per. Rates of gun violence in America are over triple that of the next contender with everyone else a distant third or off the chart entirely. So, do guns keep us safer? The facts would say, no. The majority of Americans are in favor of common sense gun control, and it works in every other industrialized country in the world.
    One Sandy Hook is too many. Semi-automatic weapons are invariably the type of weapon used in these kinds of assault. If the only argument in favor of keeping these kinds of weapons in circulation is as a check on governmental abuse, I would say the evidence is lacking there too. What happens in these armed showdowns is that the government wins. Again, I would say the way to protect a democracy is to vote, to educate yourself and your community, and maintain good standing in the world.
    I think — again, respectfully — that the bottom line is that people like their guns!

    March 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm
    • Jason kowalczyk

      Julie, I appreciate your perspective you are only looking to make it safer, I think your approach is flawed. I don’t think you can compare gun violence in one country to another since you state that it matches exactly, and you are only comparing LEGAL gun ownership. If you ask any police officer, you will find that it’s not legal guns that are usually involved in a crime. Check out the violent crime statistics versus legal gun ownership, now that is something you could compare, specifically any large City versus any area outside a large city.
      As for government abuse after disarming the people… All you have to look at is Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Castro, or others, they each disarmed the people before Mass killing them, in numbers that make all of our gun crime look like a rounding error.

      March 16, 2018 at 6:29 am
      • Shanon Brooks

        Your legal gun ownership point is very well taken. Just like no government can ever get rid of drugs or alcohol or religion – guns will never go away. But laws can make criminals out of anyone. Laws can make the use of drugs illegal, or engaging in the consumption of alcohol illegal or worshipping illegally according to the dictates of your heart.
        But what happens when we make things illegal? they just do under ground and have even a great negative impact on society by making it taboo. We learned that with religion as recently as Communism in Europe. We learned that with alcohol as recently as the 18th amendment. We are seeing that now in America over past 50 years with “drugs.” Gun control advocates are either really slow learners of they think that government can change human nature.

        March 16, 2018 at 7:38 am
    • Shanon Brooks

      You know Julie that I am an advocate of education and being personally responsible for good government, on that we agree.
      I also agree that people like their guns and annually 33,500 people die from the fact that guns are accessible. People also like their cars – 40,000 deaths annually, people really like their tobacco 480,000 deaths annually which includes second hand smoke.
      But where is the car control or the tobacco control? 15 times more people dies each year from automobiles and tobacco than from guns. And what about opioids and other pharmaceuticals or food additives or honey and the list goes on and on. I ask again…of all of the things that cause death why the focus on guns, the least them all?
      And I will answer my own question.
      Politicians who want to stay in office are always looking for a theme or event or fad that they can hitch their wagons to. The more emotional the better. The bigger the lie, the more convincing. There are even those who believe that the solution to everything is a government program or government control. Tocqueville summarized it well in Democracy in America: “For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances — what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
      Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.”
      People often tell me, “stop quoting the past, we need modern solutions for modern problems.” I submit that human nature never changes and the only solid and viable solutions for human nature concerns are found in reviewing the past – seeing what didn’t work and what did, then building modern solutions around those aspects that did work in the past.

      March 16, 2018 at 7:26 am
  • John DeWitt

    I agree completely. I had though about making a response to Julie similar to yours but simply hadn’t made the time to post one. Thank you for taking the time to respond, and in a more detailed manner than I would have done.
    Thank you for taking the time to respectfully express your thoughts on this matter. I appreciate your willingness to debate the issue without the vitriol that is so prevalent today. I will have to challenge you though on your opinion. It is incorrect to say that the rise in gun ownership has tracked with the rise in gun violence. FBI data as well as the CDC report shows the opposite with a decrease in gun violence since the 1990’s overall from 15.2 to 10.6 per 100,000 and murders falling from 7.0 to 3.6 per 100,000, suicides have fallen as well though they are heading upwards again but this has more to do with the moral decline in the US than guns.
    I agree one Sandy Hook is too many but you can’t stop it by removing guns or certain types of guns from law abiding citizens. That being said had the laws on the books been adhered to it is quite likely that it would have prevented the most recent shooting in Florida. It appears at this point that political “program” called PROMISE led to this tragedy taking place. No amount of gun control would have changed that.
    I won’t clutter up the post with more facts but will finish by saying that we must try very hard not to let our feelings and opinions cloud the facts. No matter what we feel things are or should be we must follow that facts and see where they lead whether we like it or not.
    P.S. Until we can figure out how to keep criminals from being criminals and from obtaining firearms illegally the best defense is responsible private gun ownership.

    March 16, 2018 at 6:55 am
    • Shanon Brooks

      Well said. And I want to stand by Julie here, she is as awesome as you allude to. We have had several discussions in the past and she is always level headed and at least as open-minded as I am. (I am smiling Julie).

      March 16, 2018 at 7:46 am
      • Julie Mathison

        Belated reply here — thanks to both John and Shannon, and all the other comments, which were all respectful. I think it’s important to keep talking about these issues, and I appreciate the tone of the conversation!

        March 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm
        • Shanon Brooks

          Thanks Julie.

          March 20, 2018 at 12:48 am
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  • Beverly Ganiere

    I think the conversation regarding gun control needs to be more focused on why do these shooting occur where they do? Gun Free Zones is where these mass shootings occur. It seems to me that if we no longer have Gun Free Zones we could reduce if not eliminate these occurrences over night. It doesn’t mean we have to arm teachers or administrators. But it would mean that any potential predator/terrorist would have second thoughts about entering these places because teachers could be carrying. As stated in the statistics guns have stopped guns or crime nearly 3:1. We can also see from what happened in Florida, “You can’t count on the government for protection.” Not only did they not stop the event from happening when they were advised of its potentiality, but they didn’t even try to stop it in progress. Let’s advocate for the removal of Gun Free Zones.

    March 19, 2018 at 9:08 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      This is a relevant comment, the police force anywhere are a reactionary force. Preventative efforts are best provided by the citizens and institutions themselves. Government by their very nature are prone to “Post Bellum Auxilium” or in other words, assistance after the fact or too late to be of assistance.
      Unless the people themselves provide cultural relief, this nonsense will continue.

      March 20, 2018 at 12:55 am

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