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Why Clinging to Rights in the Wake of Tragedy Matters

Vegas shooting

Typically in the wake of a mass tragedy like the one we just witnessed in Las Vegas I would want to wait a few days before throwing my opinion out there. For the most part, no one is really listening during these first few days and we all typically just run and hide with our brethren of similar thought. Those who never supported the 2nd Amendment will tweet their tooshes off about the need to ban “assault weapons.” Meanwhile, gun lovers across the nation are assaulting the “libtards” for utilizing a tragedy to push a political agenda. Very few people, unfortunately, are bothering to spend anytime with open heart and open mind to just analyze the facts. The cold hard truths that are simply incontrovertible as Churchill would say. Those truths can be maligned by malice or derided by ignorance, but in the end there they are. Gun ownership in America is a right and one that will come with a cost as do most. That much is just truth. Until it ceases to be a right, which I hope it does not, then I will defend this right as vigorously as speech, religion and even the weird 7th amendment that says something about lawsuits over $20. Rights are inalienable like that and were they alienable given the scope of a tragedy we are less free than we would hope. 

To the Fallen

First thing’s first, if you know or were personally affected by someone lost during this tragedy then I support your constitutional right to speech. You can say what you will, malign guns and even myself and yet, I will sit silently. The truth is that I would remove anything from the face of this planet if it would in fact help save the lives of my children. Were a man named Bob to harm them, I’d load every Bob, Bobby or even William up on a boat and sink it in the depths of the ocean. The fact that the ratio between the number of Bob’s to Sideshow Criminal Bobs in this nation are very low would mean very little to me. You can rage, you can mourn and you can get political in the wake of this tragedy as you choose. I don’t blame you.

For the rest of us who have merely watched this tragedy from afar we might for the sake of this nation speak with a little more objectivity. Gun ownership is a right and as long as it is it must be spoken of as a right. Hating the right or finding no personal need for it doesn’t make it less so. To cheapen one is to threaten the rest. You see, you can’t just say that you are willing to give up a right just because you don’t need it. Edward Snowden made as much of a case when he exposed the lack of privacy Americans have under our surveillance systems. You can’t say I don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say, you can’t say I don’t care about privacy because I have nothing to hide and my friends, you can’t say you don’t care about gun ownership because you have no personal use for them.

Moreover, the interesting thing about rights is that I’m not sure you could even disparage them were you to remove them from the constitution. If the right to express one’s speech freely is indeed an inalienable right gifted to us by our creator then who is government to cease it? That’s why the bill of rights was put into place so that this government might protect the rights given to us by our creator not gift them to us when public sentiment concurs. Gun ownership is a right and as such it is to be protected and that protection comes with a societal cost. The ignorant speak foolish things, the easily manipulated will join Scientology and bad men will get guns. This too is just incontrovertible fact. Yet, liberty calls upon us to be ready for it. 

The Assault Weapons Myth

Never mind that “assault weapons” don’t really exist, but this too has been reported at length in error. Even the New York Times posted an article a couple of years back titled “The Assault Weapons Myth” where it noted that even during the years of the assault weapons ban the impact on crime was negligible. The truth is that less than 1% of gun injuries each year are caused by these “assault style” weapons. That much as well is truth. Incontrovertible truth. Even at its statistical best, banning these weapons would reduce gun injury by 1%. Exactly how cheap are you willing to sell a right, any right?

But truthfully in the wake of this tragedy I’m not here to debate stats. You see, I always just used this blog to put my thoughts out there to the world to tell you where I am at on matters. I’m not trying to tell you what’s right or wrong, but here is where I am and you can use this as a platform to reflect and shape your own thoughts on the matter. I’ve always said the best compliment someone can give me is that they love my article but disagreed with everything I said. So read the below and come to where you are at on the matter. The truth is that there is a persistent movement to rid America of this right and for them, these “assault style weapons” are the trojan horse and a mathematically improbable shooting an opportunity. That’s what the gun community is reacting to today not a void of compassion or empathy. 

The Trade Off

If Bill and Ted landed in a flying phone booth at my local Circle K and told me that if I gave up the individual weapons I owned that over 50 lives would be saved at a future mass shooting I’d say here you go. Keep in mind, that’s not a national ban that’s just Bill Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan telling me that if I personally gave up my weapons 50 lives would be saved I’d say sure. Truthfully, the odds that I’ll need them are substantially lower than the odds they can be used to save more than 50 lives otherwise. That’s me, an individual giving up a personal right because I can draw a direct correlation to a specific good. Done. 

 

Why not? I do so with other rights all the time. I personally give up my own money that I earned for various causes. I personally shut my mouth and give up my right to free speech at times when I can see that silence is the greater good. So yes, if you want my guns you will indeed have to pry them from my cold dead hands. But if I willingly see the good and direct correlation I’m game. That gun owners embrace carnage because they like to go pew is a myth. However, I would never ask nor would I think it wise or good for America as a nation to acquiesce a right. Any right, any time, anywhere and at whatever cost. Speech, privacy, religion or guns, in the wake of tragedy we must cling to our rights evermore.

It is a false narrative that gun owners are unwilling to give up their guns even if that were to save little children. No, most gun owners that I know would give up their lives to defend those same children or fallen concert goers. They simply would not ask an entire nation to give up free speech under the ambiguous promise it can prevent harsh words. Though at times, they will individually embrace silence. They would not ask the entire Muslim faith to leave the United States of America under the ambiguous promise it would somehow end terrorism. My friends, gun owners would give their lives for their fellow man but they would not ask a nation to give up their guns under the ambiguous promise that it would prevent what happened in Las Vegas. You want my gun to prevent it, take it. You want America’s guns we got a problem. 

In Conclusion

This is the trade off we make when we call something a right. If you are unwilling then we must not call it a right. If it is a right, then we must prepare for its abuse. We tolerate divisive and dangerous words for speech. We tolerate archaic and intolerant religions for the sake of faith. We tolerate that bad men will do bad stuff with guns because gun ownership is a right. It is the right to defend oneself, it is the right to not acquiesce all personal security to the state, and it is the right our founding fathers thought so important they put it at number 2 on the list.

Yes, I would personally give up my gun as an individual sacrifice. After all, I’d risk my life to save those 50 people in Las Vegas with my gun so why not. But for the sake of liberty I will not ask nor will I in the wake of tragedy expect or recommend America to give up a right for perceived, ambiguous and mythical security. If you want to talk about politics then I get to talk about fact.

Gun ownership in America is a right and I will continue to speak the truth about it, even in tragedy. Rights are funny like that, but they are important to future liberty. In the wake of 9-11 America handed over certain rights of privacy to government. That was a mistake. In the wake of a mass shooting, America ought not hand over a right to guns. Rights are important like that and ever more so when they are vulnerable. Contrary to leftist opinion I will offer my thoughts and prayers to the victims families but I will not acquiesce a right to government under they mythical promise it would have prevented this horrible tragedy. We can disagree what is a “right” but once we call it a right we better lock arms and be prepared to defend it through thick and thin. 

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Jeff Edwards

2 Comments

  1. Best one in awhile Jeff. Gave my 12 and 9’year old girls the same talk this morning on the way to school. I reached out to Taco and didn’t hear back yet. He’s a cop there you know.

    • Much thanks Gunny. Sorry I don’t get to all the comments all the time. Sometimes when an article goes big its hard to get all the notifications straight.

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