Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Progressive's Use of Hypotheticals Illustrated by LA Times Article

Many of the proposals of those who want a disarmed society are founded in wishful thinking. Hypothetical examples, based on false assumptions about the nature of reality, are put forward as if they are fact. One of the most blatant and one-sided examples of this was recently published in the Los Angeles Times.

The title of the piece is How many mass shootings might have been prevented by stronger gun laws?, by Rahul Mukherjee, on 26 February, 2020.

The article lists five types of restrictive gun laws and considers how they might have stopped 167 mass killings over the last 64 years.

The author appears to violate the rules of his own game.

Here are the five types of restrictions on gun ownership the author considered:

1. A ban on straw purchases. The author lists five cases where people made straw purchases for someone else. The other person then committed a mass murder. But straw purchases were illegal for all of the period where the five examples occurred.

The one example given, that of the Columbine High School killers, resulted in prison sentences for the two people who committed straw purchases for the Columbine killers.

It is hard to imagine the crimes would have been prevented, when the law was already in effect, and the crimes were *not* prevented.

2. Safe Storage Requirement, where guns would be required to be kept locked up when not in use.

The example given was of a 20 year old adult security guard, who was blocked from purchasing a semiautomatic weapon, then committed mass murder with his fathers firearms. It seems unlikely a lock on a box would have been sufficient to keep him from taking his father's firearms. There are several cases where people who committed mass murder stole the firearms they used. The  LA time article refers to the 20 year old adult security guard as an "underage shooter".

3. Assault weapons ban.

The article claims 38 mass murder events could have been prevented, including 6 which occurred during the federal "assault weapons" ban. It uses as the example, the rifle used in the Sandy Hook mass murder. But there already was an existing Connecticut assault weapons ban, passed in 1993, expanded in 2001.  Most of the mass murders in the database, 129 of 167, according to author Mukherjee, would not have been affected. There is little reason to suppose a substitution of weapons would not have occurred in the other 38. In the Sandy Hook case, the murderer, after murdering his mother, had access to numerous other weapons as well as the rifle he used.

4. Mandatory background checks (presumably a ban on private sales).

In yet another case of existing law failure, the author uses as an example the Charleston church murders from 2015. A background check was performed on the murderer, but the information that he was prohibited had not been reported to the FBI.

5. Red flag law

The author claims 141 of the 167 cases could have been prevented if Red Flag laws were in place. Then he gives another example of where existing laws were ignored.  He uses the Stoneman Douglas school mass murder.

There were numerous times where interventions could have occurred to prevent those murders, without "Red Flag Laws".  

The author does not explore how many failures of existing law occurred in the other cases. 

Hypothetical examples, or fantasies, such as pushed in the article are not useful in formulating policy. They are not based on fact, but on wishful thinking.

If we are to deal in hypothetical potentials, we may as well consider what would have happened if the victims in those mass killings had been armed. They events would almost certainly not have been mass killings. Most mass killings occur in places where the victims are not allowed to be armed.  Every one of the five mass killings highlighted as examples in the LA times article occurred where none of the victims were armed.

Armed victims or armed Samaritans have stopped mass murder in numerous cases, at least two dozen. 

The officers who shot back at Columbine were not killed.

In the Stoneman Douglas mass murders, the armed police officer ran outside the building and did not attempt to intervene, leaving the victims defenseless. He survived and is facing charges.

Most people who push for restrictions on firearms have the fantasy of a future without firearms.

Just consider the hypothetical "if there were no guns".

It is a fantasy. Homemade guns are made on every continent except, possibly, Antarctica.  Mass murders were committed long before guns were invented.

Without guns, the weak are subservient to the strong.

The author ignores the Second Amendment and Constitutional problems with their hypothetical fantasies.

A comparable hypothetical would be a law to forbid media from excessive reporting of mass murders, which is widely believed to trigger more mass murders with media contagion.

The United States has become the most powerful and most prosperous nation on earth, in large part because government power is limited.

Destroying the limits on government power will create far more problems than it will solve.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Then problem with a 20 year old underage shooter is the constitution says any one 16 or older is militia meat. the draft age is 18. the military trains killers at 18. So why is 20 an under age shooter? There is no age limit restriction in the second amendment. I started shooting at age 8. I'm glad I could qualify expert in basic training. I TAUGHT MY CHILDREN GUN SAFETY very early and started them shooting at age 8. My youngest daughter now married has a 12ga. semiauto that cost $16,000.00 and she handles it like a point guard.

Anonymous said...

If people with foreign sounding names are able to get us disarmed it would turn us into targets for every crime. they are, at this time, afraid to commit. Terrorists cant carry out terrorism if they keep getting killed a few at a time. The fact that we are an armed society is the very reason we have not seen more terrorist attacks. they are confounded by how many they can get into this country and could not tolerate losing a few at a time. DHS screening is not perfect but it keeps many out. any one with a brain has to admit self defense is a required right. How many, in many other countries, have died because they do not have A second amendment? Frankly this country is unique by having the second amendment. without the second amendment our own government would be very different. The framers of the constitution lived through being without the second amendment and knew full well how important it would be to US to be able to defend against an out of control government. The constitution was written to control the actions of a government No other country has what we have to prevent the government from abusing its power. The framers thought very methodically as they wrote the bill of rights. What was most important is the first Amendment and to protect those most important rights, freedom to speak and freedom of religion and then how to protect those rights effectively and all of our other guaranteed rights they gave us the second amendment to use the great power of deadly force. deadly force against the power of government is a very great detourant. That great detourant is very useful against those citizens that have no right to walk among us. that is why we have laws and prisons to remove those that will not comply with the valid laws the rest of us respect. If it belongs to me , you cant have it so do not try to take it. I can protect my loved ones and those I do not even know from the Citizens that are unfit to be among us. thieves, robbers, murders and even bad government actors. such as corrupt cops. there are so many great people in law enforcement we need to be thankful for. the bad ones give them all a real problem for honor and respect. we determine who represents us we get the government we deserve. voting is the most important thing we do. Yet many are too ignorant to vote intelligently. many of those we elect appear to have never read our constitution. electing them is the greatest danger we face. The preamble to our constitution explains the issue very well. We do ordain and establish this constitution for our selves and our posterity. The constitution was written for all time it is not a living document and government has no authority to change it at will. Only the citizens can change the constitution to form a more perfect union. The oath of office requires those we elect to enforce only what is physically written not what they would like it to read. If the voting citizens want it changed we ratify an amendment. Acts are not ratified amendments. Acts that change what is written are passed by our elected members of congress that violate their oath of office by voting for an act that ignore the limitations worded in the constitution. I have an important point to make here. there is no life time appointments that are constitutional. Even supreme court justices are appointed to serve during good behavior Not for their entire life. Maybe I should apply to be a civics teacher.