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Bad Guys Shoot First. That’s Why They’re Bad Guys (except for Harrison Ford)

September 15, 2015

Han Solo

The superbly organised Gun Lobby has certainly been winning every argument in recent years.  Going on the offensive after the Sandy Hook massacre, they have advanced the argument that the cause of any given mass slaying is not the guy with the gun, but all the guys without guns.  It is the “gun-free” zone that is the problem, not the gun.

With every mass gun slaying, gun sales soar.  And NRA membership surges also.  The abuse of guns proves the need for more guns.

This “proof” is not evidential proof as we know it – more of a gut-feeling “troothy” kind of proof.  So please ignore the following….

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/01/good_guy_with_a_gun_myth_guns_increase_the_risk_of_homicide_accidents_suicide.html

http://www.bustle.com/articles/92454-does-owning-guns-make-you-safer-statistics-say-youre-actually-at-much-higher-risk-of-being

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check

Since evidence isn’t really the issue (when is it ever the issue?), I was wondering if a bit of imagination wouldn’t go astray.  Let’s imagine a world (and play the NRA rewrite of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in our heads as we do so) in which everyone is armed all the time.  Now let’s imagine a homicidal maniac who wants to kill a bunch of people within this dream world.  He or (far less frequently) she will be deterred from doing so, surely?

No.  Or at least, I can’t see how the concept of deterrence really works in this case.  Looking back over a long list of US mass slayings, typically the shooter commits suicide or is shot dead.  Escape plans are never in evidence.  “Getting away with it” never seems to be the issue.  So the homicidal maniac with a gun does not seem to fear being shot him (or very occasionally her) self.

Ah – but surely if we’re all armed one of us can shoot the bad guy before they kill someone?

Well, not really, because BAD GUYS ARE ALLOWED TO SHOOT FIRST.  That’s why they’re bad guys.  Homicidal maniacs who set out to slaughter innocent people have a head start on people who want to act in defense.  The initiative is theirs.

Ah – but it’s argued that if more people were armed, the maniac could be taken down before he (let’s face it, it’s nearly always he) kills too many people.  In which case, the question is – how many people could a gunman take by surprise and suddenly kill before going down in a hail of bullets?

Now if you’re a homicidal maniac (which of course you are) that doesn’t sound like a deterrent.  That sounds like a challenge.

No, to bring the bad guy down in time to keep their score in single digits, not only would all the good guys have to be carrying a gun, they would have to be loaded guns.  And there could be no rummaging.  If we we’re to stop the bad guy with the gun, we need to have our hands trembling over our loaded weapons and our eyes open for homicidal maniacs at all times.  Otherwise, the maniac still has the edge.

I think this is the utopian future envisaged by the gun lobby.  Every single human, fully armed, walking the streets in a state of constant suspicion, ready to blow one another away at the slightest eye flicker of suggested homicidalmaniacalness, every trigger finger in a state of constant readiness.  Because apparently, if everyone just hated and feared everyone else enough, if everyone was ready to kill at any given moment, then all that hatred and fear would somehow cancel itself out, and a state of perfect equilibrium would be achieved.  What humanity needs is far more hatred and fear and the unthinking instinctual ability to kill.  With everyone ready and willing to kill everyone else, we will live in a crime-free paradise.  We will be safe forever.

Good guys will never kill other good guys by accident.  That could never happen.

The gun lobby have gone beyond asserting the right to bear arms.  Responses to mass slayings increasingly suggest that unarmed people have no right to live.  Relatives have no time to absorb let alone grieve their loved ones before having to hear people blaming gun victims for their own deaths.

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