Anti-Gun Mentality

Instinct pointed me to this page on the failblog in an email.

That just about sums up the naivety of the anti-gun crowd. How different is it from this?

For both my readers, I know I’m preaching to the choir. But, I’ve got to rant from time to time. It seems that some people are so deluded that they think they can keep some people from criminal actions by asking them not to – or by making those criminal actions doubly illegal. You can’t stop criminals by making their actions illegallererer. That’s not how it works. It’s not like the bad guy will see the sign on the door, stop in his tracks, and wander away dejectedly.

It’s already illegal to perform unjust violent acts. The criminal mind doesn’t care. A gun is a tool that a criminal may use to perform such acts. Such use of the tool is criminally illegal. A gun is also a tool that may be used to prevent such occurrences when a police officer is on the way – or not.

Much legislation has been put in place that makes obtaining a gun much more of a hassle. There was a time (that some still living people can attest to) in which you could walk into Sears or Montgomery Ward and walk out with a shiny new gun. You could even mail-order guns from the back of a magazine. It wasn’t all that long ago that you could purchase a gun at the local drug store with just the exchange of money – no paperwork needed apply. Has the legislation kept the guns out of unsavory hands? No. Will further legislation? No. If they were to pass a blanket ban on guns, the criminals would still have them. The biggest difference is that decent people like you and I would not – because we are decent, law-abiding people.

Yesterday, I was thinking about all of this in reference to the automotive industry. My brother has said on multiple occasions that he uses wheel locks on his car, because it keeps the honest people from stealing your wheels. I personally have taken wheel locks off of cars without the wheel key. Don’t worry, I used to be a mechanic. Most people can’t keep track of the key, so the locks have to be busted off by creative means at one time or another. It’s not that hard even.

The first few cars were made in such a way that they had absolutely no security or safety features whatsoever. Nobody had thought of anything like that. Cars were such a novel thing that only the rich had them, and most people didn’t have a clue how to operate them, so they wouldn’t steal them. They didn’t go very fast, so the dangers of accidents were muted.

Today, to keep criminals from stealing our cars, we have alarms and tamper-resistant locks. Some vehicles have OnStar, which can locate an individual vehicle and shut it down if need be. We have computerized keys that interface with the lock cylinder in both the old-fashioned, mechanical pin against key tooth method, and with a computer in the car that recognizes an imprinted chip in the key. If one or the other of these features is not present in the key, the car is designed to not operate. We have wheel locks, electric door locks that lack external key cylinders, The Club, and any number of anti-theft devices. Will any of that absolutely keep your car from being stolen? No. Not a chance. There are enterprising criminals that can bypass each and every or all of these and more. These devices simply keep the honest people honest.

When I park my car, I park it in plain view so that if any criminal got any ideas, he’d have an audience to his actions. I lock the doors, because criminals usually take the path of least resistance and won’t jimmy a car door if they have a better opportunity. I don’t leave valuable-looking stuff in plain sight in the vehicle, so it doesn’t look worth breaking into, and I don’t leave actually valuable stuff in an unattended car if I can help it, so if someone breaks in, the losses will be limited.

To keep us safe, we have crumple-zones that sacrificially reduce impact to the passenger cabin. We have three-point, auto-tensioning seat belts that will lock if the car stops too suddenly. Some of these seat belts have pyrotechnic rewind units that will actually pull us harder into the seat if the body structure is compromised. Similarly, if the body buckles, we have air bags that will deploy in front of us, and beside us, to lessen cranial stress in the event of an accident. Cars are often equipped with traction control that make them harder to lose control of, and I don’t think there’s a car manufactured for the U. S. market anymore that is not equipped with sophisticated, computer-controlled anti-lock brakes that are designed to make the car easier to stop in an emergency maneuver. BMW and other premium brands even have optional night vision systems that warn the driver of obstacles that they may not otherwise be able to see in the dark.

Do people still have accidents? Absolutely. Do people still die in automotive accidents? If you watch the news, you know the answer is yes. Chances are, you have known someone who has died in an accident in the last five years. You may not have been close to them, but it’s not at all an uncommon thing to happen.

This is why we use our seat belts and don’t drive excessively fast. We use our turn signals so other drivers can better predict what’s about to happen in traffic. This is why we check our mirrors, and our blind spots. A responsible driver is aware of the cars all around him, and is constantly making predictions as to what those other drivers are going to do. When I see a large vehicle piloted by a stressed-looking driver, on the phone, swerving from lane to lane, driving as fast as they possibly can, I steer clear. They are obviously not going to take the care of my safety like I am.

Some of these mentioned were imposed by government regulation and others are features that the manufactures independently developed to make their products more attractive to the consumer. With both the safety features and the security features built into modern automobiles, they can be argued as positive improvements. Each of them does serve a purpose, but not without pitfalls. I’ve had to chase wiring problems that arose from faulty security systems that had cars dead in their tracks. If your car has no key hole on its exterior and the battery goes dead, you’re in trouble. As I mentioned before, if you lose your wheel lock key, it can be quite the pain to get the locks off. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are frowned upon by some aficionados of driving, because they impede certain characteristics of high-performance driving. When your car is fitted with a system that can shut it down from a remote location, you have relinquished a certain amount of control over your property.

With rare exception, Smith & Wesson installs a lock on nearly every one of their new revolvers. These locks are known to spontaneously lock up the gun’s action while firing on occasion. It’s a rare occurrence, and most owners of new Smith & Wesson revolvers will never experience it. But, since the possibility exists, many people refuse to carry these fine machines as defensive tools. I personally abhor what I like to call ‘deliberate’ safeties on guns. I really don’t mind the trigger safeties on Glocks, S&W M&Ps, as well as other firearms, or the grip safety like you will find on a XD or a standard 1911. But, I hate a manual safety lever. God forbid I should ever have to use a hand gun in the act of defense, I don’t want to have to do anything beyond sighting and pulling the trigger, in order to get that first shot off.

The anti crowd would like to see more stringent safety devices on guns, and would like to see the gun manufacturers held criminally liable for the illegal use of their products. This would be like someone suing Ford because their daughter died when she ran her Mustang off a bridge, or because the getaway driver was in an E150, for that matter! The anti’s would like to make it even harder for decent people to obtain guns, and the licensure to carry them. With the idiots I see on the road, it seems that it’s only gotten easier to obtain a driver’s license! The antis would ultimately like to ban guns altogether, which would still not prevent gun crimes. All we have to do is look to Mexico for an example of that.

I’ve got to stop this rant somewhere, and I suppose this is as good a place as any. I have said and written it many times before, but I will close with this thought: When people comment to me that guns are scary because they kill people, I simply answer, “None of mine have.” That usually provokes some much needed thought.

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