Brace yourself for the aftermath of Jared Lee Loughner’s actions.

Posted: January 11, 2011 in The End is Near

Like anyone, I am appalled by the senseless tragedy in Arizona that was perpetrated by a mentally-disturbed shooter.  Even more appalling, is how quickly this has led to partisan sniping as all sides seek to gather political capitol from the still-warm bodies of unarmed civilians.

“Sarah Palin is to blame”.  “Limbaugh,  Hannity, and Beck created this!”  “He’s a right-wing TEA-bagger!!!”, “No, he’s actually a left-wing pothead!!!” come the venomous cross-complaints.  It is a disgrace how many people are politically exploiting this.

He may be all of these, but at root he is a schizophrenic.  Watch any of the YouTube videos he produced and you will see the flight of ideas, delusions of reference, and word salad of a classic schizophrenic lurking there.

As a responsible gun owner, I am appalled that this incident (especially since it occurred to a politician) will fuel a new round of gun control reactionary frenzy.  The shooter used a very popular firearm, common ammo, and large magazines that he legally purchased.  This opens the door to more well-intentioned, but ultimately ineffective laws that restrict the 99.99% of gun owners who are NOT insane.

Other than an (unlikely) complete and total ban on the private ownership of firearms, there is no real way to prevent this type of activity from ever happening in a free society.  Even in societies with such restrictions, the committed assassin simply moves to explosives, inflammable liquids, or (even archery) to prevail.  A few years ago a motorist intentionally ran down pedestrians at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in his SUV because he could not legally purchase a gunAnything is dangerous in the wrong hands.

Gun restrictions just don’t work, time and time again.  Germany has super-tight restrictions on gun ownership, and has far less guns per capita, yet they show up frequently in the mass school shooting chronology.  Austrailia restricted gun ownership after a shooting spree in 1996 that left 35 dead.  (Years later, violent crime has risen sharply.)

In our own country, the District of Columbia, another region with a firearms ban, has been the historical leader in murders, yet by 2009 (a year after gun DC’s draconian gun laws were struck down by the Supreme Court) violent crime had plunged to HALF it’s level during the 1993 “Peak Nanny State” years! (The reported murder rate in DC during 2010 was down yet another 9%.)

A balanced sense of perspective is essential before we lose our minds in fearful legislation.  (I’m not counting on this to happen in a society where more people can tell you the names of the latest American Idol contestants than the names of three Supreme Court Justices.)

More people died in Chicago (1982) from tainted Tylenol than died in Arizona (2011).  While not minimizing those lost to evil intent, no one rationally calls for the removal of acetaminophen from society.  The benefits of responsible use exceeds the risk, even though many people attempt to kill themselves with it, and small children overdose on it frequently (if not daily).

But, being a student of history, (if you choose to speculate in the free market) I believe now is a good time to start stockpiling high-capacity magazines and ammunition.  Just like the 1994 Clinton gun grab, once this train leaves the station it will only pick up speed. [Sigh]

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