Friday, March 22, 2013

First They Came for the Guns of the Murderers

First they came for the guns of the murderers,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a murderer.

Then they came for guns of the rapists,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a rapist.

Then they came for the guns of the wife beaters,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a wife beater.

Then they came for the guns of the psychopaths and psychotics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a psychopath or psychotic.

They never came for my guns,
because I’m a law-abiding citizen.

Once the pool of illegal guns dried up,
and it became harder for criminals and violent mentally ill people to get guns,
the crime rate dropped,
because those idiots tried to break into my house with just a knife,
and I shot those motherfuckers.

You know, I don't often discuss my political views because I'm a moderate with pragmatic leanings, and chances are, no matter color of the political spectrum that you inhabit, I probably agree with you on around 50% of your views. My mom is a Tea Party member, and she and I have lots we agree on. I have friends who are tree-huggin' socialist Occupy types, and we have lots we agree on. 

However, background checks for gun purchases are a pragmatic step, and the time has come to institute them. 

If you haven't committed a felony or don't have a violent mental illness diagnosis, why are you worried? 

The "Slippery Slope" argument is a fallacy. The Second Amendment protects the rights of law-abiding citizens to have and hold guns. Convicted felons and mentally ill people who are a danger to others are stripped of their constitutional rights, which includes the rights to liberty, representation through voting, and to bear arms. 

We have locked convicted felons in prisons and not allowed them to vote for centuries, but no one has taken those rights away from law-abiding citizens. Denying violent criminals and violent mentally ill people access to firearms will not impinge on law-abiding citizens' rights. 

While any one criminal or mentally ill person may still be able to access a firearm, reducing the percentage of the violent population who can access firearms will reduce the number of crimes. 

While I believe, deeply, that all of the above is true, I also maintain that the only thing that is going to stop or drastically reduce the number of violent crimes like Tucson, Newtown, and Aurora is the creation of a mental health system to identify, detain, and treat people who are violently mentally ill. 

We also need better treatments, both behavioral and pharmaceutical, for violence. If we can treat depression with pharmaceuticals, treating aggression is most likely possible. 

If pharmaceutical companies were given the right financial incentive, like mandatory medication for all incarcerated violent felons, I'll bet clinical trials would start next week, because I suspect that some medications that have already been approved would be effective. 

So, yes, I believe that mandatory, universal background checks will keep some guns out of the hands of some violent people. 

Then, we need to reduce the violence.