Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Changing Gun Culture

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The National Rifle Association is under attack.  Some democrats are going so far as to call the NRA a terrorist organization.  A recent speech by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA has been hammered with major criticism.  The speech has some good points, and some embellishments of the numbers, but in the end it didn't matter what LaPierre said, the gun control advocates were going to rip it apart.  During his speech a protester held up a sign reading, "The NRA is killing our kids."

The gunman in Newtown, Connecticut made an individual decision to shoot those children.  The gun is an inanimate object, and made no decision.  Reality dictates that it is impossible to rid the world of guns.  The bad guys will always find a way to get their hands on them.  Gun control disarms the law-abiding gun owners, not the criminals.  With that in mind, one thing LaPierre said in his speech nailed it: "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Imagine how differently the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut would have turned out if good guys with guns would have met Adam Lanza with force?  What if there were a number of armed police on the campus, or what if the principal was armed?  What if teachers were armed, and met the kid with force? That was the crux of LaPierre's speech.

I think arming the good guys is a good idea, but the solution goes way deeper than that.

I heard a story about a gentleman who, during the early sixties, road his bike along a road in Redondo Beach, California with his .22 rifle on his handlebars.  As the kid road with his gun in plain view on his bicycle, he was stopped by a local police car along the way.  The car pulled up beside the kid, and the boy stopped his bike to talk with the officer.  The cop asked the young man where he was going with his rifle, and the boy replied, "Up by the eucalyptus trees to shoot at the trunks of the trees."

The officer considered the response for a moment, and then replied, "There's some new construction up that way, so be careful."

"Yes, Sir," said the boy, and he pedaled along his way.

The gun culture was very different back then.  In States where hunting was prevalent kids would often go hunting before and after school, and arrive in the school parking lot with their rifles on racks in their vehicles. Kids brought their guns to school to show their friends, and sat around the dinner table with their parents talking about their day out shooting.  Gun violence, in those days, was way down compared to today, yet firearms were in plain display throughout our culture.

What has changed?

Today, if I was to shoot my gun up at my place on the Oregon Coast, my neighbor may contact me and say, "Hey, heard you shootin' earlier.  Hit anything?"

Here in Southern California if I was to fire any of my guns, the police would be called, and I would be checked out as a dangerous potential criminal.

Why is it so different?

With freedom comes responsibility.

Firearms are a tool, no different than a hammer, or chainsaw.  As with any tool, treating a gun with respect in a safe manner is important.  For some people that comes with lessons, or being taught throughout their childhood, to treat guns in a safe manner. For some, it is just a matter of common sense.

I was taught to always treat a firearm as if it is loaded, which means never pointing it at anyone unless necessary to protect yourself.

The liberal left has always been anti-gun, and throughout the history of this country the statists in that ideology have been working to wrestle firearms out of the hands of citizens. They claim it is for safety's sake, but their claims don't match the facts.

We are now being told, in the advent of the mass school shooting in Connecticut that claimed the lives of twenty young children, that gun control would have prevented the tragedy.

According to GunFactsInfo, "In America, we can demonstrate that private ownership of guns reduces crime, but from country to country there is no correlation between gun availability and the violent crime rate."

The cultural attitude towards guns, violence, and freedom surely plays a role, then.

If we dig into the statistics, what we often see is that when gun control measures increase, often the rate of violent crime actually increases. Countries with the strictest gun-control laws tend to have the highest homicide rates.  From GunFactsInfo: "Since gun banning has escalated in the UK, the rate of crime – especially violent crime – has risen. U.K. Ironically, firearm use in crimes in the UK has doubled in the decade since handguns were banned. Britain has the highest rate of violent crime in Europe."

In Australia, "Crime has been rising since enacting a sweeping ban on private gun ownership. In the first
two years after Australian gun-owners were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms, government statistics showed a dramatic increase in criminal activity. In 2001-2002, homicides were up another 20%. From the inception of firearm confiscation to March 27, 2000, the numbers are:

• Firearm-related murders were up 19%

• Armed robberies were up 69%

• Home invasions were up 21%

The sad part is that in the 15 years before the national gun confiscation:

• Firearm-related homicides dropped nearly 66%

• Firearm-related deaths fell 50%

Gun crimes have been rising throughout Australia since guns were banned. In Sydney alone, robbery rates with guns rose 160% in 2001, more in the previous year."

These alarming numbers tells us that gun control does not necessarily curb gun violence, or criminal violence in general.  The way to stop gun violence like the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut is to change the culture - and that is something that can't be done by government.  Changing our culture to a safer one is our responsibility, as individuals.  Only we can stop the violence.

An individual shot those children, and it will take individuals to stop it - not through government forcing firearms out of people's hands, but by returning us to the gun culture of the past, where firearms were respected tools, and criminals were stopped by force . . . not only by the force of the police, but law-abiding citizens determined that if an armed attacker enters their home with the intent to harm the family, the only way that assailant is leaving is in a body bag.

Interestingly, the gun culture, and our culture in general, began to head in a violent direction about the same time prayer was removed from schools, and the progressives began working diligently to remove God from the public square.  Coincidence?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

NRA Calls for Armed Police Officer in Every School - Townhall

NRA's Statement on the Newtown Shootings: The Conservative Reaction - Guardian U.K.

Gun Facts dot info - "Guns in Other Countries"

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