Wednesday, April 18, 2007

9mm Justice?

A predictable response by the fringe elements of the right wing, which are the most vocal, to the shootings at Virginia Tech is to arm more people. I first hear it on KVI, where Kirby Wilbur allows his callers to air their views, and he agrees with them, usually with "I think you're right." And right wing shill Michelle Malkin posted a piece over at stating the standard gun lobby response: If more people had guns....

And the examples cited are like those that occurred at Appalachian School of Law (I incorrectly stated it was Appalachian State. Thanks to an anonymaous reader I can correct this!)) where an armed shooter was forced to disarm by students who had retrieved their weapons from their vehicles. At a larger school like Tech, that would be a long time before a student got to their car because the campus is several times larger than Appalachian State. So obviously the solution is to allow people to carry the sidearms. Then we turn America into the wild west, which is correctly known for it's skewed sense of justice.

I happen to work with a former law enforcement officer. His opinion reflects that of many law enforcement officers. And many have said that when law enforcement does arrive, the question becomes, "Which one is the shooter?" Police officers will tell you that drawing their weapon at a scene raises the adrenalin considerably. Particulalry if their are armed people present with weapons drawn. So their hypothetical contention is, imagine then that an armed student is in the class, and at least one in the hall. The one in the hall rushes in after hearing the shots, to see the other student drawing his weapon in response to the shooter. The entering student then shoots the responding student, not seeing the real shooter who finishes re-loading or whatever, and promptly shoots the entering student.

Another problem to consider is that of marksmanship. I'm sure there are plenty of gun owners in America who aren't all that accurate. Police are supposed to be. Remember that incident years ago when New York police pumped 49 rounds into a hotel vestibule where they thought a kid was armed? Less than half of those shots hit their mark. These are trained people, yet somehow the right thinks that arming folks would them all marksmen. The greater likelihood is that errant shooting would take more innocent lives.

And we all know what would arise out of this: lawsuits. I'm sure they will arise in the Tech case because the law enforcement didn't respond to the first shooting as well as they could have. having no shooter, they didn't shut down the campus. There might even be some lawsuits against the state or the seller of the gun. Add more armed people, and those court cases will multiply. A solution to that may be to not allow cases, but that then runs into another problem.

And that's the concept of justice. To a right winger, justice seems best served in fascist 9mm fashion. And they must be certain that is what the founders were after, because they have used this rhetoric for years.

I have discovered though among most righties, a deplorable lack of knowledge of the Constitution. And if you read the Preamble to said document, you will see there a series of clauses as to why these people were founding this country. "We the order to...establish justice...." That's a foundational purpose for America.

And not the 9mm kind either. Any kind of reading reveals just what kind of justice they meant because it begins with Article 3 and continues in Article iv, and Amendments 4 through 8 are devoted strictly to that subject. The mention of guns? Once in Amendment 2.

People shooting at one another will nilly is not justice. End of the musket barrel justice was the kind of justice that the British exercised over the Americans, and the reason Americans chose another path. One in which even Brits would have had their day in court.

In my eyes, arming an already violent people is not the answer. A cursory glance at statistics reveals that there are more heavily armed populations, like Canada, while our numbers for deaths by firearms are by far the worst. The real problem isn't guns obviously, it's violence and the people who use them.

So gun control shouldn't bother any law abiding citizen. After all, the Second Amendment doesn't guarantee unfettered access to weapons for any reason. But I'm willing to bet that most righties today would sell their guns in a heartbeat if it meant that they were suddenly a member of their state National Guard unit, which is the intent of the Second Amendment.

In many places to today a felon can't vote. But he or she can drive to Virginia and buy a weapon without no background check, no waiting period, no anything. Cash and carry from any gun show.

What kind of world do you want to live in? One with 9mm justice, or the rule of law?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point of correction. The earlier shooting to which you refer occured at Appalachian School of Law, not Appalachian State. They are two different campuses with no connection.

18/4/07 07:35  

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