I’ve spent the couple of weeks since the Guns in America symposium was announced thinking about what to say, but so far I haven’t managed to develop sufficiently coherent thoughts to build a post out of.I don’t particularly care for guns myself (I have fired a shotgun before, but I wouldn’t be particularly interested in doing it again), and find the machismo that can be found in some gun proponents utterly nauseating (the Bushmaster “Man Card” ad being a particularly stomach-turning example).
However, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook murders I also encountered a disquieting sentiment in New Zealand and British media – a sort of smugness about violence in the US. The media outlets could hardly get through a minute of coverage before bringing up gun control in a way that amounted to saying “those barbaric Americans – they can’t even stop murdering themselves with their millions of guns”. This skeeves me out in the same way that blaming rape victims for dressing provocatively does.
Ultimately guns are a subject I have neither a personal stake in, nor any expertise on and, while I am aware there are reasonable people on both sides of the issue, I tend to find the most visible public proponents of each camp deeply unpleasant. Clearly this is a topic on which I should avoid saying much on.
Tomorrow I will put up a post that’s not really part of the symposium, but will touch on a related issue – how you go about determining empirically whether a hypothesis like “Gun ownership increases violent crime” (or the reverse) is true or not.
But for now, let me heartily endorse a recent post by Conor Friedersorf making the point, that if you are concerned about arresting the spread of tyranny, there are a lot better tools in the Constitution than the Second Amendment, and even if you consider the Second important, it’s worth supporting these other tools as well.