There They Go Again

There They Go Again
September 25, 2013

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)

So in the end President Obama did not let the Navy Yard tragedy go to “waste.” He finally addressed the nation last Sunday to explain why the deaths of a dozen innocent victims on September 16 should mean more power for him and the government, and less freedom for millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens across America — who are actually reducing gun violence (and much more effectively than Obama and the Democrats).

Obama recounted in his September 22  remarks, “As president I have now grieved with five American communities ripped apart by mass violence: Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and now the Washington Navy Yard. And these mass shootings occur against a backdrop of daily tragedies as an epidemic of gun violence tears apart communities across America, from the streets of Chicago to neighborhoods not far from here.”

Then Obama came up with this explanation:

But we Americans are not inherently a more violent people than folks are in other countries. We’re not inherently prone to mental health problems. The main difference that sets our nation apart, what makes us so susceptible to so many mass shootings is that we don’t do enough, we don’t take the basic common sense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. What’s different in America is it’s easy to get your hands on a gun.

Excuse me, Mr. President, but it is not “we” who don’t take the basic common sense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. It is Democrats who don’t do enough.

When was the last time a Republican served as Mayor of Chicago? Or of Detroit? Or governed the “neighborhoods not far from here”? But Republicans have served in the Mayor’s office in New York City since 1992, and during that time the murder rate and gun violence in New York City has plummeted. But Democrats are now complaining and moaning and campaigning against the very policies that have made that possible.

So one lesson to take away. If, to quote Obama, “The question is do we care enough, do we do we care enough to keep standing up for the country…even if it’s politically uncomfortable? Do we care enough to do everything we can to spare other families the pain that is felt here today?” The answer is NO, unless we are willing to vote Republican for local government at least.

And what is the common thread of the mass killings, from the Washington Navy Yard, to Sandy Hook, to Aurora, to Tucson, if not Fort Hood (which is the same actually)? That common thread is mental illness. Something more serious needs to be done about people crazy enough to engage in random mass murder. Something like the policies in other advanced countries that do not suffer so many mass killings. Something like policies to make sure they take their meds, and to hold them until they can reliably do so.

But Democrats oppose this as a violation of civil liberties. You know, the right to mass murder. They prefer to use the issue as an excuse to disarm the population, so it will be less resistant to other left-wing restrictions on their liberty. The Second Amendment be damned, as they have said quite explicitly before.

But much, much bigger than mental illness as a real cause of gun violence is the gang and drug culture of the inner city. That stems from the breakdown of the family, and single women bearing and trying to raise children, particularly males, outside of marriage.

Republicans like Ken Cuccinelli running for Governor of Virginia have tried to address that, by opposing policies that promote family breakup, like welfare paying women for having children outside of marriage, and substituting for supporting husbands. But Democrats oppose that, and resort to ridicule and vilification of Republicans like Cuccinelli. Welfare buys votes for the Democrat political machine. So we can’t mess with that.

The Fatal Fallacy of Gun Control
But there is an even more fundamental, mental problem with Obama’s proposed “basic, common sense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people.” (His speech did not get any more specific than this dopey rhetoric.)

Gun control laws cannot stop criminals from getting guns, by definition. Criminals, by definition, do not obey laws. That is why they are criminals.

Criminals do not get their guns by walking into gun stores and filling out forms for a criminal background check they know they can’t pass. (Your average criminal is a lot smarter than your average liberal Democrat). They get their guns on the black market. That is where the gangs from Obama’s Chicago get their weapons.

Government gun control laws cannot stop that, by definition. Government laws, regulations, and restrictions do not apply in the black market. That is why it is called the black market.

The only effect of gun control laws is to disarm the law-abiding victims of “criminals and dangerous people.” That is because the law abiding obey the law, by definition. This is precisely the only effect we see of gun control laws wherever the liberal/left rules, where gun violence rages more than anywhere else.

Does that make any possible sense, to disarm the law-abiding victims of “criminals and dangerous people”? No. Are Obama and his liberal Democrats too dumb to understand that? No. That is because disarming “criminals and dangerous people” is not the real goal of the gun control laws they support. The real goal is to disarm the general, law-abiding public, which is what gun control does. Why do they want to disarm the general, law-abiding public? That is a good question we should and could ask them, if we had a politically independent news media, as our nation’s founding fathers originally envisioned.

What Is David Frum Thinking?
On the very day of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, David Frum wrote at the Daily Beast: “Gun enthusiasts say it is inappropriate to talk about gun violence at the time it occurs. Better to wait…wait…and wait…until time has passed, and the weeping next of kin have vanished from TV, and it is safe to return to business as usual. The idea of gun enthusiasts is that the way to show respect for the victims of gun violence is to do everything possible to multiply their number” (emphasis added).

Okay, David, you put that in writing, so it is not too much to ask you to back it up. Please name at least two (you used the plural) gun “enthusiasts” who favor doing everything possible to multiply the number of victims of gun violence. Which in plain English means killing people (everything possible to increase their number), or at least favoring the death of innocent victims. Or in the alternative, just give me any evidence whatsoever that any opponent of your left-wing policy of gun control favors doing everything possible to multiply the number of the victims of gun violence.

Frum marketed himself to the conservative movement as the genius from Canada who would show conservatives how to succeed in a political comeback, after Obama routed Republicans in 2008. But I never heard one good, original idea from him. All I have heard is criticism of conservatives and conservative and free market, libertarian positions, as on this issue.

Just this month, in Colorado, the people recalled and removed from office two liberal Democrat state senators who voted in favor of gun control measures enacted in that state. So much for Frum’s self-touted, far sighted political acumen in potentially leading conservatives to a comeback.

But David offers us this further insight on the gun issue, writing, “Most gun casualties occur in the course of quarrels and accidents between people who would be described as ‘law-abiding, responsible gun owners’ up until the moment when they lost their temper or left a weapon where a 4-year old could find it and kill himself or his sister.” But that is not what the data show. The numbers show that most gun casualties are due to the conduct of violent criminals and gang members, unrestrained by any threat or fear of self-defense.

David, I would refer you to John Lott, the most thoughtful and knowledgeable person on the planet on these issues. His book, More Guns, Less Crime, presents a sophisticated econometric analysis of copious data showing that in areas where the population owns more guns, there is less crime. And where they own fewer guns, there is more crime, as in the killing fields liberals designate as “gun free zones,” and in all the cities where liberal Democrats govern. That is because of something called self-defense, which potential victims deploy, or threaten to deploy, with their guns, and something else called self-preservation, in which criminals engage in the face of armed, potential victims.

So I ask the same question of David I asked above of Obama and the liberal Democrats. Is he too dumb to see that it makes no sense to disarm only the law-abiding victims of criminals and dangerous people? I would have to say yes, on the basis that he is transparently incapable of Aristotelian logic.

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)