Earlier this week, as everyone now knows, Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 members of that community while injuring several others.
Unsurprisingly, the bodies of the victims weren’t even cold before the usual suspects among the political left began calling for more “sensible” or “common sense gun legislation.”
As any reader of this column knows well, I’m anything but an admirer of leftist ideology. Still, there are characteristically leftist positions on some issues that, while I reject them, I recognize as bearing at least some semblance of plausibility. And there are some arguments for some of these positions that I can respect, even though I find them neither compelling nor persuasive.
This being said, both the “gun-control” position and the argument(s) for it are about as manifestly nonsensical as any of which I’m aware. And because those on the left continue to endorse this position while refusing to so much as entertain the possibility that the time and energy they invest in clamoring for “gun control” could be better spent devising adult responses to mass murder that are of infinitely greater potential for saving lives than their stance of choice, their appeals to “gun control” are also morally offensive.
In fact, “gun control,” as its proponents conceive it, is so silly that one can be tempted to ignore it altogether, fearful that by responding to it one risks lending it just an air of legitimacy. Consider:
Whether it is Nikolas Cruz or any other mass shooter, what the Gun-Controllers would have us believe is that while the literally tens of thousands of existing gun laws at the federal and state levels were not sufficient to deter these killers, if only there was that one heretofore non-existent law, or maybe a set of laws, that magic legislation, then shootings of this kind (of any kind?) would be no more.
If only there was a law preventing the sale of guns to people like Nikolas Cruz, then this person would not have shot anyone, let alone shoot as many people as he in fact did shoot.
The absurdity of this claim is self-evident. Implicit in it is a larger, underlying principle, the principle that if we want to stop people from engaging in destructive or otherwise undesirable activities, we need only criminalize those activities.
Anyone willing to slow down the three seconds necessary to think about it will find the absurdity of the principle to be even more glaring than the original claim regarding “gun control.”
Any number of examples will highlight the lunacy:
If we want to prevent people from consuming alcohol, we should just criminalize the consumption of alcohol.
If we want to prevent people from using drugs for recreational purposes, we should criminalize the use of drugs for recreational purposes.
If we want to prevent people from engaging in prostitution, we should criminalize prostitution.
If we want to prevent people from gambling, we should criminalize gambling.
If we want to prevent people from robbing, raping, pillaging, and murdering, we should criminalize robbing, raping, pillaging, and murdering.
And if we want to prevent people from shooting up schools, we should criminalize school shootings.
In reality, we know that when activities like drinking, drug usage, prostitution, and the like are criminalized, this only serves to create a black market which in turn exacerbates the very problems to which the criminalization was ostensibly intended as an antidote—to say nothing of creating a new battery of problems (like organized crime).
To this line of criticism, the Gun-Controller could respond that I have misconstrued his view. He may argue that while he has no illusions about being able to prevent all future mass shootings, “tougher” laws, i.e. laws that will make it more difficult for citizens to purchase firearms—laws that will potentially deter them from purchasing firearms—promise to at least reduce the likelihood of mass shootings.
This counter-response fails utterly to relieve his position of the idiocy with which the Gun-Controller has burdened it.
To the activities of raping, murdering, and the like, we attach the harshest of penalties. Yet still, people continue to rape and murder. The Gun-Controller would have us think that a person, like Nikolas Cruz, who resolved months in advance to become a “professional school shooter,” as he revealed on social media, would have been deterred from mowing down innocents if only, somehow, there was that one law that prevented him from legally obtaining a firearm.
That is, the Gun-Controller maintains that though Cruz was not deterred by the threat of either serving the remainder of his natural existence in a prison cell or being executed for the crime of mass murder, he would have been deterred from following through with his plans if only it was illegal for him to purchase the weaponry that he wanted to use.
Now, if you still don’t see the imbecility in this logic, or if you pretend not to see it, then you must be among those who shout for more “gun-control” whenever a mass shooting assumes center-stage in the news cycle.