The Painful Truth of It

Some day, you'll appreciate this opportunity to quit filling your head with nonsense.

Ever wonder why, after a mass murder event, some say the 2nd Amendment must go, but never the 4th Amendment?

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

After a mass murder event, like what happened yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut, it is inevitable that many start demanding that guns be banned.  It’s an emotional response, not a reasoned one.

A majority of Americans and the Supreme Court are in agreement that taking away the rights of those who’ve done no harm to make others feel better about something that’s already happened does not meet minimum constitutional scrutiny.

Why don’t we hear anyone demanding that we be subject to warrantless searches and seizures — Fourth Amendment be damned!– so that we can root out unbalanced people from their homes before they snap and do something awful like shoot up a school?  Of course, that would infringe rights that the caterwauling gun-grabbers happen to value too much themselves.  Though they would never own a gun, and hence don’t care if your Second Amendment right to possess one vanishes, they undoubtedly would object if the police could easily pore over their stash of weed or their porn collection without a magistrate’s intervention.  They remind you of how many school shootings have killed.  Remind them of how many more have been killed, raped, robbed and kidnapped by criminals turned loose because the evidence against them was gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The solution to their problems is always to sacrifice your rights, not their own.  It’s downright disingenuous.

The fact is that no laws would have stopped the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza.  He violated the law by possessing a handgun, because he was only 20 years old.  He violated another law when he brought firearms onto school property. One thing you can say about Adam Lanza is that he didn’t care how many laws he broke.

That’s the point. The bad guys don’t care. Only trustworthy, law-abiding people are disarmed by gun control laws. The end result is that usually there’s nobody on campus in a position to stop the carnage.

ASIDE:  AN INTRODUCTION TO CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

Except for the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery, the entire U.S. Constitution restrains only the government, not individuals. The parts that protect life, liberty and property — but not the “pursuit of happiness” (which appears only in the Declaration of Independence, which lacks the force of law) — are found in the due process clauses of the 5th Amendment, which applies to the federal government, and the 14th Amendment, which applies to the state governments. The due process clauses provide that one cannot be deprived by the government of one’s life, liberty (including gun rights) or property without “due process of law,” which requires prior notice and opportunity to be heard in a fair and impartial tribunal applying the law as it existed at the time in question.

Adam Lanza could not possibly have violated the constitutional rights of his victims, because he is an individual, unless he held them to involuntary servitude. Though he violated many state and federal statutes, which seem not to have troubled him.

To the extent anyone suffered a constitutional violation in connection with the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, it could only have occurred at the hands of the government, which is to say that the only constitutional violation the victims suffered was not when they were shot (which was a violation of penal statutes, not the constitution), but when they were told that they could not be armed on campus for their self-defense.

As Daniel Greenfield wrote:

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.

*      *      *

[T]his 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. . . . as the Joker put it, “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying.”

*      *      *

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.

In 1997, student Luke Woodham began shooting students and staff at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi.  He had killed two students and injured seven others, when assistant principal Joel Myrick went to his vehicle in the school parking lot, retrieved his pistol and used it to end the bloodshed.

Congress had enacted the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990, but it was found unconstitutional in 1995.  Thankfully, Joel Myrick was not prevented by the Act from coming to the rescue.  But Congress amended the Act to overcome its constitutional shortcomings.  Once again, bringing a gun on school property became a federal crime.  And so it would remain to this day.  No more Joel Myricks will be tolerated.

The only thing that the gun restrictions in the Act have accomplished is to ensure that everyone on campus is a sitting duck.  Heaven forbid the shooting should end before the police arrive.

The lesson of Newtown, Connecticut is that there is evil in the world, and you have to protect your family yourself. Because when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

It is sad that people always try to capitalize off of painful episodes to advance their political agenda. That’s crass opportunism.

Instead of standing silent when confronted by such poor-mannered zealotry, ask how they would feel if you came after their 4th Amendment rights.  Then we’ll have something to talk about.

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This entry was posted on December 15, 2012 by .
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