Elgin: Question 1 Reply 2

posted in: Politics | 0

In his reply to my answer, Watts claimed that my “point is a black-and-white dichotomy, and it is a severely falsely dichotomy.” I must admit, however, that I am not completely clear exactly what point he was referring to, as his description does not match any of my views. I am certainly not against all gun control, nor of preventing those who are mentally unstable, or who have a history of violent crime from processing guns. If that were the extent of the gun control debate, I do not think there would be much of an issue. So I suspect that Watts is battling against a straw man here.

He claims of my position that my “first solution, that of more guns, flies in the face of wisdom, logic, and reality.” This is particularly puzzling in that I did not call for more guns. Sure, I argued against gun control laws, and even argued that “less gun control” may be more effective, but that is not quite the same thing as arguing for more guns. Others such as John Lott have made this argument and have amassed a great deal of evidence to support their view. Still, given that this issue is highly politicized, I think the best one can really say is that such claims are hotly contested and this renders such blanket statements such as Watts’, without specific support, highly questionable.

Watts’ analogy with AIDS was at best mystifying, as I do not see any correlation with guns. Give someone AIDS, and I think you can safely say that this is a bad thing. But unlike getting AIDS, giving a gun is, in and of itself are neither good nor bad. It is how the gun is used that determines whether or not it is good or bad. While the analogy fails, the equating of guns with AIDS does reveal the focus is on inanimate objects instead of the people that commit these crimes. Rather than deal with the criminals, the drive is to remove guns from law abiding citizens.

Watts mentioned Romans 13, and while it raises some very difficult issues, I do not see a prohibition against self-defense as one of them. Frankly, I see the claim that Romans 13 prohibits owning a gun to be about as valid as a claim that Luke 22:36 requires it. To allow citizens the choice to defend themselves is not the same thing as forcing them to become the police.

As to his arguments about separating guns and people, Watts argues against his own position with his examples. If we treated these example like we do guns, we would not go after the architect who designed the building we would ban others form doing architecture; we would not go after the doctor, we would ban others from being doctors. Thus with these mass murders, the focus is on keeping others from owning guns.

As for Watts’ claim that without guns there would not be mass murder, this is just historically false. Sure, the incidents he listed were caused by people using guns. But the New Life Church shooting I cited was greatly limited by that fact that someone besides the shooter had a gun and was able to stop him. In the Osaka School massacre the murderer used a knife. The worst school murderer in the U.S. killed 38 children and 6 adults, not with a gun but with a bomb in 1927. Now with the internet, chemical and biological weapons also become considerations. The point is that even if you could remove all guns, guns are not the real problem. People who want to murder are the problem, and they will, as they have, find other ways.

I was somewhat disappointed that Watts seem to skip completely over the three things I said should be done to begin to addressing this problem, and thus I do not know if he agrees or disagrees. Instead he skipped to my conclusion that mentioned sin. Frankly, I fail to see how, from the fact that I mentioned the reality of sin, Watts reached the conclusion that I was somehow saying sin is the total of human existence or nature.

I simply said that while there was a lot more that we could do, we will probably never be able to eliminate such murders. This is just like our laws against theft and rape have not eliminated those crimes. Still, went on to say that, “we could go a long way towards reducing them.” Watts labeled this as a “cop-out.” Yet in his very next line he said we could, “reduce it to the point where… it is a shock rather than just another occurrence.” Frankly I fail to see a significant different between these two statements, and thus, once again, it is hard to not see this, like so many of his arguments, as little more than a straw man.

Watts concludes by saying “we recognize a problem exists and it is our better human nature that will create a path to either fix the problem or to limit the issues giving rise to the problem” While I agree with this statement, we differ on the nature of the problem, and thus on how to address it.

I see the problem being with people who want murder others, not with the methods they choose to carry out their crimes. I want to focus on what in our society and culture produces such people and why, for example, our society fails to care adequately for the mentally ill. To me, talk of gun control is not only a distraction, it diverts attention from the real problems and thus hinders real solutions that could actually make things better.