A new Yahoo story today shows that gun sales have spiked after last week’s shooting massacre in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater.
I’m sure I don’t have to state the obvious … well, yes I do. Lots of gun nuts out have over the past couple of years scrounged up the counterintuitive argument that massacres like these could be prevented if more people were armed. That means, if tons of guns were dropped in a crime-ridden inner-city area like Detroit, crime rates would drop. It would mean that if guns were airlifted to a war zone like Syria and dropped down to both sides, violence would stop.
We’ve already been through this obscenely stupid argument before. When Gabrielle Giffords was shot, along with several others, in a Tucson, Ariz. parking lot early last year, one of the people to rush to the scene was the armed Joe Zamudio. He came with his gun drawn to the scene with the safety off and caught sight of a man with another gun. This was not the shooter. But Zamudio didn’t figure that out immediately and pushed the man up against the wall. Luckily he had the presence of mind not to shoot, but things could have spun out of control. He also knew, according to Slate, that if he pulled his gun out he might be confused as the shooter.
Common sense tells us that when everybody is armed, situations easily defused could turn into life and death emergencies. People who feel threatened are oftentimes mistaken, or even if they aren’t, they aren’t likely to judge whether they are really in mortal danger. Guns give people a false sense of power, when the power they won’t really ever have–unless they are criminals–is that of surprise. And that is always left to a hostile person with a weapon. For this person, the right wing is willing to fight tooth and nail, because a schizophrenic’s access to firepower as a key assumption of their own liberty, a supposed bedrock of their own Rousseauian natural rights.
This is one of those diminishing return arguments–it goes nowhere, but gun fanatics will argue it because they know you are too afraid to fight it to its dead end–nonsense.
The more untenable their arguments, and the more grisly statistics about gun deaths give them the lie, gun rights advocates grow more ruddy faced and extreme about their conviction and engage in the most childish forms of projection: It’s not guns that are bad. It’s got to be anything else. Everything else.