Gun Control is Evil Misspelled

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


If you’re the biblically minded sort, then the trouble began when a jealous Cain clubbed Abel to death, but if you’re evolutionarily minded, then it’s a “chicken and egg” question. Violence had no beginning, except perhaps in the Big Bang; it was always here, coded into the DNA.

The issue isn’t really guns. Guns are how we misspell evil. Guns are how we avoid talking about the ugly realities of human nature while building sandcastles on the shores of utopia.

The obsession with guns, rather than machetes, stone clubs, crossbows or that impressive weapon of mass death, the longbow (just ask anyone on the French side of the Battle of Agincourt) is really the obsession with human agency. It’s not about the fear of what one motivated maniac can do in a crowded place, but about the precariousness of social control that the killing sprees imply.

Mostly it’s about people who are sheltered from the realities of human nature trying to build a shelter big enough for everyone. A Gun Free Zone where everyone is a target and tries to live under the illusion that they aren’t. A society where everyone is drawing unicorns on colored notepaper while waiting under their desks for the bomb to fall.

After every shooting there are more zero tolerance policies in schools that crack down on everything from eight-year-olds making POW POW gestures with their fingers to honor students who bring pocket knives to school. And then another shooting happens and then another one and they wouldn’t happen if we just had more zero tolerance policies for everyone and everything.

Zero tolerance for the Second Amendment makes sense. If you ban all guns, except for those in the hands of the 708,000 police officers, the 1.5 million members of the armed forces, the countless numbers of security guards, including those who protect banks and armored cars, the bodyguards of celebrities who call for gun control, and any of the other people who need a gun to do their job, then you’re sure to stop all the shootings.

So long as none of those millions of people, or their tens of millions of kids, spouses, parents, grandchildren, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates and anyone else who has access to them and their living spaces, carries out one of those shootings.

But this isn’t really about stopping shootings; it’s about controlling when they happen. It’s about making sure that everyone who has a gun is in some kind of chain of command. It’s about the belief that the problem isn’t evil, but individual agency, that if we make sure that everyone who has guns is following orders, then control will be asserted and the problem will stop. Or if it doesn’t stop, then at least there will be someone higher up in the chain of command to blame. Either way authority is sanctified, control or the illusion of it, maintained.

We’ll never know the full number of people who were killed by Fast and Furious. We’ll never know how many were killed by Obama’s regime change operation in Libya, with repercussions in Mali and Syria. But everyone involved in that was following orders. There was no individual agency, just agencies. No lone gunman who just decided to go up to a school and shoot kids. There were orders to run guns to Mexico and the cartel gunmen who killed people with those guns had orders to shoot. There was nothing random or unpredictable about it. Or as the Joker put it, “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying.”

Gun control is the assertion that the problem is not the guns; it’s the lack of a controlling authority for all those guns. It’s the individual. A few million people with little sleep, taut nerves and PTSD are not a problem so long as there is someone to give them orders. A hundred million people with guns and no orders is a major problem. Historically though it’s the millions of people with guns who follow orders who have been more of a problem than millions of people with guns who do not.

Moral agency is individual. You can’t outsource it to a government and you wouldn’t want to. The bundle of impulses, the codes of character, the concepts of right and wrong, take place at the level of the individual. Organizations do not sanctify this process. They do not lift it above its fallacies, nor do they even do a very good job of keeping sociopaths and murderers from rising high enough to give orders. Organizations are the biggest guns of all, and some men and women who make Lanza look like a man of modestly murderous ambitions have had their fingers on their triggers and still do.

Gun control will not really control guns, but it will give the illusion of controlling people, and even when it fails those in authority will be able to say that they did everything that they could short of giving people the ability to defend themselves.

We live under the rule of organizers, community and otherwise, whose great faith is that the power to control men and their environment will allow them to shape their perfect state into being, and the violent acts of lone madmen are a reminder that such control is fleeting, that utopia has its tigers, and that attempting to control a problem often makes it worse by removing the natural human crowdsourced responses that would otherwise come into play.

The clamor for gun control is the cry of sheltered utopians believing that evil is a substance as finite as guns, and that getting rid of one will also get rid of the other. But evil isn’t finite and guns are as finite as drugs or moonshine whiskey, which is to say that they are as finite as the human interest in having them is. And unlike whiskey or heroin, the only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun.

People do kill people and the only way to stop people from killing people is by killing them first. To a utopian this is a moral paradox that invalidates everything, but to everyone else, it’s just life in a world where evil is a reality, not just a word.

An armed society spends more time stopping evil than contemplating it. It is the disarmed society that is always contemplating it as a thing beyond its control. Helpless people must find something to think about while waiting for their lords to do something about the killing. Instead of doing something about it themselves, they blame the agency of the killer in being free to kill, rather than their own lack of agency for being unable to stop him.

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  • watsa46

    It is clear that the American politicians so far lack the will and courage to discuss the issue or to even find out how many Americans are in favor or against the 2nd amendment. It would require only a simple vote for or against. Even the Egyptians can vote for or against one item. As long as the issue is not openly discussed no solution can be offered. It is impossible to find out how many people have been saved by the 2nd amendment but it is easy to count how many have died because of the 2nd amendment.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      False. No one has died because the Second Amendment. What an absurd assertion.

    • gray man

      Who gives a crap about how many people favor it? this is a republic, not a democracy. The second amendment is in the constitution to protect all other amendments. Here's a better idea let the american people vote how many want to slap commenters named watsa46 silly.

      • watsa46

        u r the 2nd out of 300 million +!!!

    • Mary Sue

      That's like asking how many people died because Canada legalized Gay Marriage.

      • watsa46

        Many miss an important point: the unintended consequences of the 2nd amendment!!!!!
        The pro 2nd dig their head in the sand as deeply as possible. Semi-automatic should be forbidden.

  • pinnie99

    Id like the Dems = (Communists) to go trash something else.R Constitution has had quite enough of them!

  • Len_Powder

    Every person has to ask themselves this question: If I, or my family, or even a stranger is mortally threatened by a criminal or a psychopath with a weapon am I willing to wait for the police to save our lives or will I try to save them myself by owing and using a gun? Will I put my life in the hands of others that I am not sure I can trust or depend on, or will I put that trust in myself, who I can depend on? Keep in mind that if I choose to trust the police then I also choose to trust the entire corrupt judicial system which considers victims guilty and criminals innocent until proven otherwise. The ultimate guarantee for freedom of speech is the second amendment. Surrender your weapons and you will surrender your rights and freedoms.

  • Raj Kumar

    What the gun-banners are saying is that "the right to protect your own life with a gun is a mistake. We are 'safer' when we are under the false illusion that no one has a hand gun."

    But the reality is that guns are readily available in the criminal world and any nutjob with an agenda can get one.

    While allowing everyone to carry a gun creates thorny issues, it is still preferable than to not. I've had a few close calls in my life. One I never forget was when I was a kid, I was confronted by a bully who wanted to beat me up for being in his neighborhood. It was only thanks to his friend who talked him out of it that I didn't get battered and bruised or worse.

    Nothing makes one a great advocate for the right to self-defense and bearing arms than real life incidents such as this. Another incident occurred in my early 20s, this time in a confrontation with some drug-dealers. While I was not armed I was much more intelligent about self-defense. I came close to take violent action but fortunately we were able to take a cab to escape the situation.

    I live in Canada and the radical left has managed to prevent us from having guns for self-defense. We desperately need a 2nd Amendment here. Don't let them take your guns my US friends-that is the road to tyranny-that's the first thing that Nazis, Commies and other fascists do when they want to establish their totalitarian rule, they go after your guns and legislate them away. They are enemies of freedom and liberty.

    • Mary Sue

      yeah, we can have them but using them for self-defense is VERY tricky. If they find out you used a handgun for "self-defense", you'd better be able to prove you had it locked up securely right up until you needed it, or they'll nail you for Improper Storage Of A Firearm. With Long-guns it's not that restrictive but still tricky.

      My hatred for Kim Campbell and what she did while Minister of Justice under Mulroney burns with the fire of a Thousand Suns. Freaking Undemocratic "Orders-In-Council" gun restrictions.

  • upchuckliberals

    Here's a little tidbit that won't have any effect on the narrow minded left, this includes Diane Feinstein.
    Before the ban on guns in the UK, the 15 year death rate was 8642 For the 15 years AFTER it was 11203. Yep, gun control works so well. Source: http://www.murderuk.com/misc_crime_stats.html Oh BTW Leftist Loons, we back up our statements with something you're not use to, FACTS.

  • xpcoupe

    Here in Australia, the ownership of semi automatic weapons and handguns was outlawed years ago as a kneejerk reaction to a mass shooting at Port Arthur. Since then slashings and stabbings have gone through the roof, and the only people with these firearms are criminals who shoot at whomever they like. Making something illegal only ever affects law abiding citizens anyway.
    Im sure as heck that the young bloke that shot all those children (god rest their souls) realised it was very illegal to enter a school and kill 26 people…and yet….

    • Mary Sue

      not to mention the school was a self-proclaimed "Gun-free zone"!

  • joe

    A quick review of the UK press will show that contrary to the statements by certain contributors above gun related crimes, including mass shooting spree incidents, continue in the UK NOTWITHSTANDING the passing of some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. Indeed the incidence of gun crime has risen in direct proportion to the introduction of increasingly tough gun control laws in the UK over the last 70 years!

    Recently in England some lunatic went on a spree attacking people by running them down with a car. Strangely I don't recall any outcry for banning cars following this.

  • tagalog

    We need to face the truth: deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill hasn't worked. The gloss on human rights that says you can't put a person involuntarily into a mental health facility for observation and treatment unless they are a present danger to self or others is wrong (the Donaldson case from 1975).

    We need to find the disturbed and do our best to see if they're capable of BECOMING dangerous. That means observation and diagnosis BEFORE they become a danger to self or others.

    It's better that a few disturbed people be involuntarily placed for mental observation and diagnosis for a few days than that law-abiding gun owners, scores of millions of them, be deprived of their rights permanently.

  • geula

    How other Western nations regard gun control is interesting:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2

  • Moliminous

    A Tale of Two Shooters

    The day after the tragedy in Connecticut, an hispanic individual fired more than an estimated 50 shots into the air and at the pavement in a shopping mall parking lot in Newport Beach, California. No one was hit and/or killed–thank God. Two shooters, two guns. One wrecked havoc and tremendous evil into the lives of too many families. The other did not.

    Should we say the second weapon was broken?

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      I understand your point, and agree with it completely. However, if I may suggest, juxtaposing mass murder with gross irresponsibility with a firearm, just gives the gun grabbers something to whine about.

  • Moliminous

    The end of the Connecticut tragedy was itself tragic and violent. Evil was confronted by force. Weapons of force were brought to bear against this perpetrated and heinous evil-doer. Confronted by that fact, he killed himself. I cannot condone the evil that was done here. But one has to dispassionately consider the hard fact that weapons caused and ended the same tragedy.

    By themselves, guns can be used for good or evil, by law-abiding citizens, government officials, or even politicians. It's their choices that are either good or evil–it's there that changes need to be made.

    Remember the 1927 school tragedy in Bath, Michigan. 38 children died here. No guns were used. We've given too much rein to evil in our world and called it something else to hide its real intent: "right to privacy," "choice," "entertainment," "politics," "diversity," and "education." Here is where change needs to occur… and soon.

  • geula

    Israel’s human rights records and freedoms is admirable, considering the neighborhood and Israel’s REAL many enemies.  Citizens there understand the true meaning of self-defense and the restrictions it entails, including the military. Thank God, there are no tragedies there as there are here in schools, unless caused by Muslim terrorists. Beyond this,  your generality about human rights below is a non sequitur, if you understand the term.  But at this point I give up trying to change your imaginings and ossified  biases with facts. Nice sharing opinions with you.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      And yet, in Israel, teachers are armed, at least in highly at risk areas.

      Yes, it would be best if you quit, before you are even farther behind.

  • crackerjjack

    Guns are bad. Get rid of them and we can all live in harmony, drink coolaid together, ride unicorns in poppy fields and such. Evil is in guns and guns make good people do bad things.
    The UK is perfect, no violence EVER. We all have free healthcare and don't have to worry about being shot, since there are no guns.
    Give up your guns then you can leave your houses and cars unlocked. It is so simple people.

  • http://twitter.com/robproject @robproject

    Guns aren't the problem with our society. Check out this chart (gif image) on deaths in the USA.
    http://robproject.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/201

    Full article here: http://robproject.com/blog/2012/12/are-guns-reall