OK, let’s talk about the ‘staggering human toll’

Columnist Scott Lemieux, who teaches political science at the College of St. Rose in Albany, wrote on Aug. 26 for the left-leaning, British-based newspaper “The Guardian”:

“After the 24-year-old television reporter Alison Parker and her 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward were killed while on camera from a lake outside of Roanoke, Virginia . . . the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, somewhat predictably tweeted ‘We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer’ and Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe called for new gun control measures in the form of background checks.

“The conservative response to Democrats’ anodyne reactions is even more predictable,” Mr. Lemieux writes. “It’s wrong, they say, to ‘politicize’ individual acts of firearm violence. But gun violence in the United States has everything to do with politics — and we should be talking more, not less, about the impact of America’s failed gun policies on victims and their families and communities. . . .

“The result of our lack of substantive, internationally comparable gun control is entirely clear: the US is not only an international outlier in the lack of gun control, it is also a massive outlier in terms of firearm violence. The ease of access to firearms clearly causes large numbers of unnecessary deaths by homicide, suicide, and accident.

“Thus, the staggering human toll of gun violence in the US is not just a random coincidence; it is the result of political choices.

“Which policies could reduce the huge number of mass killings in the US are not a mystery,” Mr. Lemieux continues. “After 35 people were killed in Tasmania in 1996, Australia’s conservative government enacted sweeping gun control measures. The result was that both homicides and suicides by gun were immediately and sharply reduced, and there have been no mass killings in the country since.

“Conversely, there have been 885 mass killings in the United States since December 2012, when a gunman killed 20 elementary school students at the Newtown Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.”

Well . . . not really. Sorry to interpose inconvenient facts here, professor, but gun crime, gun murders, and violent crime in general are massively down in America in recent decades, even as rates of gun ownership and issuance of “carry permits” for the law-abiding have soared. Mr. Lemieux claims to cite a statistic showing 885 “mass killings,” but the Web site to which he refers readers ( www.vox.com/a/mass-shootings-sandy-hook ) — which somewhat circularly cites “The Guardian” as one of its sources — actually reaches 885 by counting (though not seeking details about) incidents in which four or more people were reportedly shot, whether anyone was killed or not.

Oh dear.

Meantime, it turns out lots of countries with more draconian “gun control” laws than America’s have much higher rates of murder and other forms of “firearm violence” than America. As economist Ryan McMaken of the Mises Institute points out at https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/10/ryan-mcmaken/gun-lies/ , “We are never allowed to compare the US to middle income countries like Uruguay, Russia, or Mexico because that would show that the US is actually a remarkably safe place in global terms on top of having many more legally owned guns than those countries.”


(More on that, next month.) But more to today’s point . . .

What about ‘Gun Control Violence’?

“Identifying the policy changes that could reduce American firearm slaughter is easy, of course,” Mr. Lemieux continues, but “figuring out a politically viable way of getting these policies enacted is another matter. Even if the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller declaring an individual right to bear arms in the 2nd Amendment” (how about “recognizing,” professor?) “were to be overruled by the same court, the political obstacles in the path of meaningful gun control are formidable. . . . Passing any such measure through both the House and a Senate that massively over-represents small, rural states with a disproportionate number of gun-owners would be impossible for the foreseeable future.”

Until we reach the point in our “democratization” where the more easily manipulable subsidized urban mobs of Washington, L.A., and New York City are allowed to shove state socialism down the throats of such “small, rural” states as Texas, Florida, and Arizona the way they ought to — nullifying the bicameral compromise that allowed the American union to be formed in the first place, you understand.

“The lack of congressional reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 is instructive on that point,” Mr. Lemieux concludes. “Even very modest, overwhelmingly popular gun control measures, involving background checks and controls on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, failed to pass a Democratic Senate. . . .”

Oh, the humanity!

Leaving aside that the BATF already bars the import or new manufacture of assault weapons for sale to non-police civilians in this country -– an unconstitutional law amounting to a virtual ban that’s been in effect since 1934 — I do agree with comrade Lemieux on one thing: America’s current, massive and unconstitutional gun control regime certainly constitutes a set of “failed gun policies.”

But the important thing to note here is the insistence on the use of the phrase “gun violence.” This is not an accident. What the proponents of gun control are trying to conceal is the fact that — once “gun control” is in effect and only government soldiers and police (and some criminals, if that’s not redundant) have guns — governments in the twentieth century demonstrated again and again they will use that effective monopoly on firearms to kill millions of their own citizens.

But since they do it primarily through concentrations camps and gas chambers and purposeful famine and mass starvation, the proponents of “gun control” tell us those deaths “don‘t count” — we’re somehow “not allowed to count” those murders, since (while they were clearly made possible only by disarming the victims through massive “gun control”) they weren’t actually accomplished with bullets!

Why this squeamishness? Easy. They don’t want to debate the number of “murders” (though of course they include suicides and self-defense shootings) facilitated by firearms ownership in a free state, versus the number of government murders facilitated by “gun control.” Instead, they prefer to ignore the historical record, comparing the number of shooting deaths in a free society with some cherry-picked figure from a couple of quiet years under a regime that’s between genocides. (What’s that? There’s never been a genocide Down Under? Have you told the aborigines?)


Death by Gun Control

Visit with me the Web site of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership at http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/deathgc.htm .

“People have asked us to present the whole JPFO argument in one place,” wrote Richard Stevens and (now the late) Aaron Zelman. “We have done it. Available now in an easy-reading format and a handy size, the new book is entitled Death by Gun Control: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament.”

(Actually, the book may now be out of stock from JPFO. But it’s still readily available online for less than $20.)

“The message is simple,” Stevens and Zelman write. “Disarmed people are neither free nor safe — they become the criminals’ prey and the tyrants’ playthings. When the civilians are defenseless and their government goes bad, however, thousands and millions of innocents die.”

Professor R.J. Rummel, author of the monumental book Death by Government, conclude “Concentrated political power is the most dangerous thing on earth.” But for power to concentrate sufficiently to become dangerous, the citizens must be disarmed.

When the gun prohibitionists quote a statistic about how many people are killed by firearms misuse, the discussion can bog down into whose crime statistics to believe and how to count crimes vs. defensive firearm uses, JPFO explains. But Death by Gun Control demonstrates that in the 20th Century, governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined; and governments murdered millions more disarmed citizens than were killed by common criminals.

JPFO then presents their “Genocide Chart,” identifying details of the “gun control scheme” in effect in the nation in question. The chart shows (and I’m being selective):

The Soviet Union from 1929-1945 “licensed” gun owners — which means they effectively banned non-government firearm possession with severe penalties, since no one but the Army, the KGB, and a few of Stalin’s cronies could get a “license” — what we call in America “the New York-and-Los-Angeles Buddies-of-the-Police-Chief System.”) What did this enable? The purposeful murder of 20 million of Joe Stalin’s political opponents, including members of farming communities that resisted collectivization.

Nazi Germany from 1933-1945 had firearms registration & licensing and strict handgun laws with a ban on civilian possession. This facilitated the mass murder of 20 million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons, and political opponents and critics.

Red China from 1949 to 1976 would sentence to prison or death “counter-revolutionary criminals” (which meant anyone resisting any government program) with a death penalty for anyone supplying guns to such “criminals.” What did this facilitate? The systematic murder of 20 to 35 million political opponents and enemies of the state, particularly in rural areas.

In Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge required licenses for guns, owners, ammunition and transactions, and a photo ID with fingerprints, with all gun licenses to be inspected quarterly. The result? These Paris-trained Communists got away with the systematic murder of 2 million educated persons, persons who wore eyeglasses, and political enemies who had been easily deprived of the firearms with which they could have organized to defend themselves — as Americans did in 1776 — thanks to Cambodia’s government registry.

So: You want to start comparing murder rates in today’s America with murder rates in these countries (and many others) that experimented with “sensible . . . internationally comparable . . . gun control” over the past century? Get out your calculators, fellows. You’ve got some big numbers to top.

Vin Suprynowicz was an award-winning Libertarian columnist and editorial writer for the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal. His 2014 novel about the War on Drugs, “The Testament of James,” is available online. The second novel in the series, “The Miskatonic Manuscript,” is due Dec. 11. It ain’t your grandpa’s used bookstore.


3 Comments to “OK, let’s talk about the ‘staggering human toll’”

  1. RRND - 11/04/15 - Thomas L. Knapp - Liberty.me Says:

    […] https://vinsuprynowicz.com/?p=2617 […]

  2. Paul Bonneau Says:

    Why would we care what the Brits think about it anyway? Let them blather on. Normal people would feel shame at being rendered helpless, at being well-tended farm animals, but I guess it is beyond them.

  3. MamaLiberty Says:

    I don’t really care what anyone thinks about “gun control.” When it comes up in discussion as something viable, I just ask them how making people helpless would result in less violence or injury. “Why would making me a helpless potential victim make YOU safer?” I’ve never had a rational answer, of course.


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