When violence is a prevalent problem, you can’t just wish it away. You have to act to make it disappear.
There are a lot of ways you can go about doing that, and many of them have profound value, but they don’t make the problem disappear overnight. You need time for these measures to yield results.
Such is the case with so-called gun violence.
If you’re going to do something about it short-term, you need to provide some kind of deterrent to such actions. According to an op-ed at Salon, that’s just absurd.
That is essentially the NRA’s alternative to gun control: continuing to add armed security personnel without end. But this alleged solution to gun violence is a mirage that recedes as you try to approach it. The NRA wants more armed personnel not only at schools and churches, but also at bars, arts and music festivals, supermarkets, movie theaters, schools, parades,and workplaces where the mass shootings that uniquely plague America keep happening. A security detail will be needed for every federal judge, but also for their family members — potentially more than 3,000 new federal security officers. Eventually the same will hold for all 535 members of Congress and Cabinet members, plus an increasing number of state officials as well.
How expensive that will be is rarely even discussed, but in fact the economic costs entailed by this approach are staggering. Imagine how angry Americans would be if their state doubled sales taxes on every product and service. The NRA’s “armed guards everywhere” approach might entail at least that much.
Oh, the writer shouldn’t pretend for a moment that he actually gives a damn about expenses and taxpayer money. In fact, no one who writes for Salon, as a general rule, gets to make that claim.
Take money used for foreign aid to countries who hate us and use that to fund security efforts. There. Problem solved.
But the author continues.
In sum, the NRA plan is an arms-race spiral with no logical end. Because officers with handguns are not enough, we will need armor-piercing weapons to stop mass shooters. The armor will get stronger and so will the guns and bullets, with the weapons industry cashing in at every iteration cycle. It’s a bit like a web programmer who attacks your computer with viruses and then sells you antivirus software: Their goal is to direct attention away from the root of the problem.
That root, once again, is the vast number of guns in this society, including assault rifles, and their ready availability in most states. This is the main difference between the U.S. and other developed democratic nations, where most mentally ill people, suicidal people or those on a rampage of hate cannot easily get hold of a powerful firearm when their crisis arrives.
Except, as I’ve noted before, the problem isn’t guns.
The United States has a ridiculously high non-gun homicide rate as well. If guns were the totality of the issue, then that simply wouldn’t be the case.
The truth is that comparing us to other developed nations ignores the profound differences between the United States and those other countries. For example, we’re a multicultural society whereas most of the other developed nations really aren’t. I’m not saying those other cultures are the reason we have such a problem, only that there are significant differences.
But anti-gun zealots don’t want to acknowledge that because their sacred cow is that the only difference is how readily available firearms are.
Yet while the author is lamenting the lack of an assault weapon ban, he’s also ignoring the recent Supreme Court decision that pretty much laid out the test gun control laws will have to meet to survive legal challenge. an assault weapon ban just won’t.
Then again, when did Salon or its writers ever care about pesky annoyances like “constitutionality” anyway?
The truth is that the approach of more armed guards will act as a deterrent against such acts of aggression. If you’re really worried about the cost, then simply stop trying to restrict law-abiding gun owners from carrying guns in various places. We’ll be happy to act as that deterrent.