Is it Dangerous to be Human?

Politics Issues Gun Control

I pride myself, as you presumably do, in possessing the unique qualities which distinguish us from all other animal species: the ability to think logically, to use reasoning to guide our actions, to be methodical and not jump to conclusions, to assess the consequences of our actions before acting and not to allow our emotions to take over and dictate how we behave.

Question: How well are we able to use these abilities during the extremely stress-ridden times that we are living through now? Do we have the fortitude to withstand a barrage of messages whose aim is to make us fearful and not be driven to jump to conclusions? Are we able to stop ourselves from believing emotionally driven positions without studying the facts?

Do we have the courage not to allow ourselves to be stampeded by a crowd mentality that is whipped up by sound bites, catchy phrases or millions of dollars spent on bombarding us? Here’s a real life example: I, like many others, am alarmed by the scourge of gun-related violence resulting in indiscriminate mass murders at schools, colleges, movie theaters and less the sensationalized gun-related murders that occur daily.

After the tragic murders in Aurora, Colo. there has been a renewal of the debate whether it is more important to protect our second amendment rights or to ban assault weapons that allow gunmen to kill scores of people. The most used argument by the National Rifle Association, is stated in the motto “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Most Americans, according to polls, buy the NRA argument and are more concerned about protecting the right to carry weapons than in gun control. My rational mind, on the other hand, concludes we would be better off if we outlawed people instead of guns; especially if we will not seriously control the availability of weapons.

My conclusion is based on the dangerous positions of people with great influence upon public opinion. Here are two examples: U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin defended the Second Amendment and gun rights, saying the following about large ammunition clips: "There are magazines -- 30-round magazines -- that are just common all over the place, and you simply can't keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals that want to do harm. And when you try and do it, you restrict our freedoms." 

According to Mitt Romney, "There are -- were, of course, very stringent laws which existed in Aurora, Colorado. Our challenge is not the laws, our challenge is people who, obviously, are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things,"

What am I missing? Simple logic tells me that if we had kept the assault weapons ban and put in reasonable restrictions on the sale and availability of large ammo clips, which are useful only for killing mass numbers of people, there is at least a reasonable chance that fewer people would have died in Aurora.  
The notion that there is a constitutional right to own an assault weapon, or that it is a terrible curtailment of freedom to be blocked from buying thousands of rounds of ammunition is thought disordered.

This brings me back to the question of whether we actually possess uniquely lofty human qualities or whether our ability to reason is woefully unreliable and riddled with distortions.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bill August 01, 2012 at 12:37 PM
One more comment, assault weapons are used in less than 1% of gun crimes. Assuming someone committing those crimes, by definition is not concerned with committing the crime of owning a banned weapon, if we ban assault weapons at best we will prevent less than 1% of gun crimes and more than likely prevent none. So why the need for the legislation? Because for many it's not the results that matter, it's the need to feel that your doing something important to prevent crimes even if the evidence is to the contrary, to be able to feel superior to those clinging to their guns and bibles. This is called feel good legislation, you can feel good about voting for it despite the fact that it is ineffective in preventing crimes.
Avi Isseroff August 01, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Bill, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree that restrictive gun laws are not the whole answer. Progressive (sorry) liberal countries have a much lower murder rate than we do. Therefore, over all they do better. Perhaps, there are other factors at work..But it's worth investigating why that is? In some ways doliberal progressive societies reflect the effects of how cultural development create a more civilized human being? I honestly don't know.
Bill August 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Yes, investigation is necessary, instituting laws that obviously don't work isn't even part of the answer . Btw I don't feel that liberal "progressive" societies are inherently safer, our society was much safer decades ago when the argument can be made that it was far more conservative and it has only been since the liberal agenda of the 60s onward had a full effect that we have become the dangerouse place to live you claim we are. The safest places to live, crime wise, now and historically have always been totalitarian regimes where individual freedom is greatly curtailed. The soviet union, present day Cuba, nazi Germany all spring to mind. We don't have crime because we have guns, we have crime as one of my favorite authors put it "because we are a free wild people, and crime is the price we pay for freedom". There are those who look at it this way, someone loses his shirt gambling, ban casinos, someone shoots someone, ban guns, a man cheats on his wife get rid of cheap motels, someone jumps from a tall building, let's ban tall buildings. What we really should be doing is holding individuals responsible for their action and stop giving them the out saying its the fault of the gun or the man who sold it to him, or who sold him the alcohol, or the dad who hit him. Your not a murderer because someone sold you a gun and someone else sold you a bullet, anymore than your a drunk driver because someone sold you a bottle of rye and someone else sold you a car.
Art August 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM
•In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Where is the outrage to ban alcohol or vehicles? Maybe if certain types of alcohol or vehicles were used we can just ban them right? In the U.S. for 2010, there were 11,015 homicides caused by firearms. So lets be fair, one death is no worse than the other, but because its a gun and a random act, it gets more attention. The moment you you born, you were vunerable. I say that if someone is going to start blasting away, I got a chance to send that bastard to hell by firing back. If you wait for the police to protect you, then you may be a statistic. So you want to ban assault weapons? What is next? high capacity semi-auto pistols?
Saul Freedman August 05, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Avi, it's illegal to discharge a firearm in Aurora, CO. Why would the killer all of a sudden choose to follow any new idiotic laws you propose when he flaunted the ones already in place?


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