It’s Time to Apply Objective, Common Sense to the Subject of Gun Violence.
In the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Orlando, my Facebook feed has been full of people’s opinions about guns and gun control.
Unfortunately many of the posts or shares are ignorant and in no way reflect an accurate understanding of firearms. I do not purport to be an expert in that arena, so I generally refrain from posting things that would suggest that I am. But I generally aspire to be ‘somewhat’ of an expert in common sense or better yet a “master of the obvious.”
The calls for gun control range from seemingly sensible to laughably stupid. Should someone on the no-fly list be able to purchase a gun? Aside from the ACLU, not many people think so. But, what about due process and constitutional rights? It’s a complicated question. Instead, let’s ask a few simple questions.
Are there too many gun deaths in the U.S.? Yes.
If in some liberal utopia, all guns were banned, would there still be too many gun deaths? Yes. OK, how would one arrive at this conclusion?
Drugs are illegal, yet between 2000 and 2014, nearly half a million Americans died of both illegal and illicit drug use. So following a logical parallel, how does banning “something” make it unattainable to people willing to break the law? (This number doesn’t even come close to representing illegal drug possession and use.)
Mass shootings often take place in gun free zones. Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, Charlie Hebdo, Charlston church massacre, Bataclan nightclub, San Berdadino, Orlando—occurred in places where the victims did not have the opportunity to meet the deadly force with equal force.
In Paris it is illegal to own a gun, yet this didn’t stop terrorists from using guns to kill innocents in numerous, recent attacks (assassinating staff at Charlie Hebdo, taking hostages at a kosher supermarket, and the November attack which included shootings at four separate locations). People intent upon murder are not deterred by gun laws. Chicago is another example closer to home. A city with the most restrictive gun laws in the nation has more shootings than any other American city. Why? Because bad individuals, not guns, facilitate violence.
But what topic receives literally no attention in the media are instances where guns prevent innocents from becoming victims. What could those numbers reveal?
I believe guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens deter more crime than any Washington bureaucrat could imagine. There are no metrics to track this data—particularly when the firearm is not discharged. But I have personal experience in this realm and am thankful that our 2nd Amendment rights remain intact.
Eight years ago, I was driving back to Houston from a corporate event in Clear Lake. It was an overnight conference, and I was returning mid-day. There was substantial traffic and notice of a wreck up ahead. I decided to exit the freeway with downtown in view and to find an alternate route home. In frustration, a driver honked his/her horn—setting off the man in the vehicle immediately in front of me. He was not the cause of traffic (in fact we were all sitting still as we waited our turn to exit), however I can only assume he believed I was honking at him.
As we finally were able to move again, the man in front of me began trying to run me off the road swerving dangerously and repeatedly into my lane. At this point we were on side streets in under-developed neighborhoods approaching the downtown area. I tried turning unexpectedly to avoid him, but he continued to break traffic laws in his pursuit of me – aggressively using his vehicle as a weapon. Compounding my fear was the fact that I was seven months pregnant and desperate to avoid a collision. My adrenaline raced my heart pounded.
At a red light I pulled out my phone and instead of calling 911, I called my husband. He happened to be leaving a meeting downtown, and he said he would wait for me on Allen Parkway. He would assess the situation, and we would proceed home together. He was then treated to the site of an enraged man in hot pursuit of his pregnant wife—even cutting my husband off in order to take the exit I had unexpectedly chosen (he was typically driving in the lane to the left of my car to swerve at me, so an unexpected right turn or exit caused him to repeatedly endanger other drivers as he swerved across lanes in pursuit).
At the time, we lived in the Park at Memorial Heights – which is a gated community. I was going to drive in, but not proceed until the gate closed behind me trapping my pursuer outside. And yet he seemed intent upon following me in somehow. So my husband jumped the median with his Tahoe to block the enraged driver, opened his door, honked to get the man’s attention away from me, and pointed his pistol at him from just 10-15 feet away. The man immediately swerved and drove away.
I shutter to think about the many other outcomes that could have occurred in this instance. Thankfully, I didn’t have to find out because the mere presence of a firearm put an immediate end to a situation that was already well out of hand and potentially deadly.
What I find most unusual about the encounter (aside from how enraged a person can become from some perceived infraction) is upon sharing my story, how many other people have encountered individuals on the roads who also used their vehicles as a weapon—sometimes to dangerous ends. Finding yourself in such a situation is frightening and there seems little you can do to de-escalate it. A firearm presents you with a viable option.
Just keep in mind that the very politicians seeking to limit gun rights are the same ones who refuse to protect our border, who have weak immigration screening practices, yet they and their families are guarded by armed agents of the government. You have a right to self-protection. Don’t let some faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC dictate and limit your choices.