A Gun Rant

December 6, 2012 at 4:16 AM 2 comments

A reenactor friend of mine recently shared this graphic on his Facebook page and I shared it on mine.

The numbers on this graphic come from an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, a Virginia Newspaper, and are originally from a study done by Professor Thomas Baker of the Virginia Commonwealth University, who specializes in research methods and criminology theory. Baker found that even though gun sales steadily increased over the last six years, the amount of time his study spanned, gun-related crimes have dropped. Therefore, he argues, the suggestion that more guns mean more crime is a fallacy.

After I posted this graphic to my Facebook page, I was reminded why adding people from high school out of a sense of nostalgia and reconnecting was a stupid idea. After all, if I had nothing in common with these people in high school and didn’t consider them friends then – which would be all but a handful of people I went to school with – what made me think I’d have anything at all in common with them now?

One of them posted: “This doesn’t have anything to do with freedom and especially nothing with security. Even if those numbers were accurate, how has the number of wounded and dead developed since those 73% have been permitted to wildly shoot around?”

This was someone who has never been able to find that filter between his brain and his fingers and who holds strong opinions about gun ownership that are based on a history of having grown up in a very left-wing family in very left-wing Germany and who has categorically rejected anything American, anything military, and anything to do with firearms. Obviously, his opinion is a little skewed, which doesn’t really explain the fact that he felt the need to share it on my Facebook page. When I read friends’ posts that I don’t agree with (and there are quite a few), I don’t feel the need to post rude comments to their Facebook pages. I just ignore them. Some people can’t tell the difference between their page and other peoples’ pages and just have to open their mouths.

What really gets me is this: the graphic made no mention whatsoever of either freedom or gun rights. It only stated a simple fact: that while gun ownership rose immensely over the past six years, violent crime fell. These numbers can be very easily verified with a little bit of research, like in the article linked above. Of course, those who know me know that I very rarely post or forward anything, particularly anything citing statistics, unless I have been able to first verify it. (I’m sure it’s happened once or twice, but I make an effort to verify before I post.)

Statistically we also know that the majority of places that have very strict gun laws, like Chicago, New York City, and California, have much higher rates of gun crime and violent crime than places that have less strict gun laws. Washington, DC is a more dangerous place than Richmond, Virginia – statistically.

Of course, the question of security or safety is a no-brainer. As a 5’5″ female, am I going to be safer from being mugged or raped if I am legally carrying a concealed weapon or if I am unarmed? Survey says – I am safer if I am armed. That pistol gives me a means to defend myself that does not depend on my size, weight, of physical ability. It puts me on equal footing, regardless of the size of my threat.

It’s also ignorant to assume – but par for the course for most who are categorically opposed to any kind of legal firearms ownership – that owning a firearm means you’re going to “shoot wildly” at things any time you get a chance, or that you’ll whip your firearm out just any old time. Where does this sort of logic come from? I have never pulled a firearm on another person. In the everyday scheme of things, my guns are for putting holes into paper. (Which, I might add, is a very enjoyable, relaxing, fun sport.) If there is ever a direct threat to my life or that of my family or friends, they will be used for the direct preservation of that life. Period.

This exchange has made me realize once again that the anti-gun crowd has only one argument to make: that they believe anyone who owns firearms is a stupid redneck who cannot be trusted to handle a simple tool, like a gun, safely and probably should not be allowed to own guns, cars, reproduce, or do anything else, for that matter, without direct supervision of someone who can be trusted. The idea that a firearms owner could be a safe, well-educated, intelligent person who carries their firearm concealed without harming anyone has never occurred to them.

Yet nearly half of all households in the United States own firearms – you’d think gun crimes, unintentional shootings, and general rampaging would be a bigger problem based on the way the anti-gun crowd likes to portray firearms owners. The thing is, these people completely ignore facts and make an emotional “guns are bad, mmmkay” argument to support their agenda, then get offended when people present them with facts (“But they’re all skewed!”), making any attempt of education a moot point.

As for me, there’s always that UNFRIEND button.

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