There is no doubt that the recent spate of irrational shootings has scared many Americans. Some of them to the point where they are willing to forfeit their Second Amendment rights to an administration dedicated to the disarming (and subjugation) of our citizens.
I have written other articles in support of the Second Amendment, why the Founders included it in our Constitution (as a safeguard against a government that turns on its citizens) and why gun ownership, in and of itself, is not the cause of the irrational conduct we see around us. All I said then is still true.
However, there is another dimension to all this that needs also to be discussed. That is “how safe can we really be?”
At one level we all realize that all life carries with it an inevitable death sentence (whether or not we want to think about it). Naturally, most of us want to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Equally naturally, none of us wishes to be injured or disabled. That said, I ask again, how safe can we really be? It does not take much thinking to realize that life is actually quite precarious. Indeed, it amazes me that I have lived as long as I have, considering the way I have conducted my life – and, I will guess that many of you feel much the same.
It is also only natural that we wish to live in a circumstance where we can go about the daily activities of our lives without constantly looking over our shoulders – with a feeling of relative safety and security. And, for most of of the time, that is true. The odds that any one of us (or our families) will be the victims of violence are actually quite small, are slowly growing smaller, and, for the most part, have nothing whatsoever to do with firearms misuse. Indeed, if you are killed or maimed in an act of violence in America, the odds are much greater that the weapon used was an automobile rather than a firearm.
But, you say – used as intended, automobiles do not kill people but firearms do. My response is that this is partly true. In my own case, I would much rather my very possession of firearms would dissuade those who might harm me so that I never have to actually fire them other than for target practice.
Yet, that is not the point of this article. The point is that, whether the tools used are firearms, cutlery, automobiles, baseball bats, improvised explosive devices, bare hands, or whatever, there are a few among us who are irrational enough to use whatever tool they can find to cause harm to others – others who are totally undeserving of said harm. And, there are several truisms associated with this fact:
→ The more individual freedom we enjoy as a people, the easier it is for the few to misuse that freedom to cause harm.
→ The denser our population becomes, the higher the stress levels that lead some people to misuse their freedom.
→ The more our government (indeed, our very culture) discourages responsibility and self discipline, the more likely people will misuse their freedom.
This leaves us with a true quandary – are we willing to trade freedom for safety and security? If so, how much are we willing to trade, and, how can we know if any freedom we willingly surrender actually delivers a commensurate level of safety and security? Or, do we really care? Are we, perhaps, willing to settle for simply the illusion of safety and security (like the insults to our privacy we suffer in return for being able to board an airplane)?
I suggest that, whether we admit it or not, it is always the latter. Life will never be made truly safe or secure, especially at the hand of government. As the reality of the communist dictatorships of the previous century fade into history, the older among us tend to forget how truly brutal life was in those regimes, while the young never even knew (and far be it for our “education” system to teach them about it.).
The truth is that life will always have dangers. There are several ways these can be lessened, such as educating people to behave rationally and to understand the degree to which our individual rights rub up against each other. For instance, people can be taught the proper operation of automobiles and most will do so. Likewise, people can be taught the proper handling of firearms and most will do so. We can also pass laws against certain harmful behavior – however, such laws never really prevent such behavior – instead, they provide the legal foundation to punish those who misbehave after the fact.
We can also, acting collectively via our elected officials, make value judgments whereby we willingly forgo some freedom in return for a higher level of safety and security but this must always be done with extreme caution and with the clear understanding that everything is a tradeoff and that we must rationally guarantee that such a tradeoff is worth it. True leaders know and understand this. They realize that hard decisions often involve a choice between options, none of which are perfect. So, they should attempt to choose the option likely to cause the least harm, knowing that there is never really an option that totally eliminates it. And also knowing that “harm” is not always physical in nature.
A prime example of what I am trying to say would be the decision to render an entire population defenseless against the predations of government, claiming that this would protect the very few from the acts of the irrational and the insane. While harm to anyone, especially a child, is a horrible thing, subjecting an entire population to probable harm is infinitely worse. Freedom always exacts a price. Real leaders try to minimize that price, knowing it can never be totally eliminated.
Those “leaders” who promise to eliminate all harm are simply liars who wish to enslave you. And only fools believe them. We seem to be blessed with plenty of both these days.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson