Like many others, I was raised around guns. I liked them a great deal and if there was one thing I lament about my youth it’s that more time wasn’t spent at the range.
But as I grew older, I sort of lost that fire for a bit. I was preoccupied with play sports (badly, I might add) and chasing girls. Then I went into the Navy where I couldn’t really own them while living in the barracks.
It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I rekindled my love of firearms. Part of the reason for that was because I had a family and I desperately wanted to protect them.
So like a lot of other people, I got a little miffed when CNN tried to that folks like me value guns more than life. Now, Cam already addressed that one himself. Go read that first, and not just because he’s my boss.
Yet Cam’s not the only one who takes issue with that piece’s claim. Charles C.W. Cooke over at the National Review Online also had problems with it. He starts by addressing the claim that the individual right to keep and bear arms didn’t actually exist until Heller, the shift to this:
But I’ve been through all that ad nauseam. What particularly bothered me about this one was not its commonplace historical illiteracy, but Erdozain’s cheap framing of the contemporary debate. In his headline, as well as in the text itself, Erdozain repeatedly implies that the only reason that the United States has declined to ban or severely limit the private ownership of firearms in the modern era is that its people — or some of them, at least — simply do not care about the criminal use of firearms:
Any government that fails to protect the lives of its citizens from “reckless shootings,” warned Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1931, “is out of step with modern thought.” We will have to go back before we can go forward — to an America where a life was more precious than a gun.
Which is ridiculous. Erdozain’s book is titled, One Nation Under Guns. I must ask: Has he ever met anyone in that nation who disagrees with him? Has he ever heard any articulate arguments against gun-control? Does he sincerely believe that half the country — perhaps more — evaluates this question by examining first whether or not it cares about human life?
If he does, he’s a fool. I’ve been writing about this topic for more than a decade now, and I have never, ever heard anyone who agrees with me say, “You know what, screw all those dead people — I want my guns, and I don’t care about anyone else.” That is a straw man, a distraction, a tawdry debating trick. There exist all manner of solid arguments against gun control, and none of them rely upon indifference to the abuse of firearms. Some people believe that, in a country with this many guns (and yes, America has always had lots of guns), gun control simply cannot work — and, moreover, that attempts to make it work will merely strip the good people of their firearms while doing nothing useful to hamper the criminals. Others believe that, irrespective of the merits of the policy, large-scale proscription efforts simply do not work in the United States (see: Prohibition). Yet others believe that history shows that gun control leads to tyranny, and that tyranny causes a lot more death and suffering than regular lawbreaking.
Yet let’s be real here, Erdozain didn’t break new ground here. Anti-gun voices have long argued that any opposition to gun control was, in fact, a conscious choice to let people die.
I’ve lamented this in particular regarding mass shootings, as I’ve lost someone in one and that whole line of “argument” infuriates me to no end.
But Cooke is very right that it’s a stupid argument.
For me, I value my right to keep and bear arms because I value life. I cannot stop the criminals from having some means to harm me and mine. Even if guns went away tomorrow, they’d still have plenty of ways to hurt and kill people I care about.
The gun in my hand, however, equalizes the situation. The gun in my wife’s hand equalizes it even more since she’s even less likely to be able to meet an armed attacker on anything close to equal footing otherwise.
We don’t value guns more than life. We value guns because we value life.