By Katie Kieffer
Guns, guns, guns. Love, love, love. America needs guns and love.
As humans, we have an inherent right to life. Our right to life (or self-defense) is a natural right and does not come from any document, even the Constitution. The Bill of Rights or the first ten amendments to the Constitution simply acknowledge our natural rights. Specifically, the Second Amendment recognizes our natural right to bear arms for self-defense.
Guns are the reactive, defensive answer to evil in the world. Love is the proactive answer to evil. We need both—guns and love.
Good men express themselves through love; love for God; love for themselves; love for others and love for life in general. Life without love is effectively death. Indeed, hateful or mentally ill people commit mass murder because they are bereft of love.
Evil is less powerful than love. Love is real; evil is nothing. Love spreads and consumes like a wildfire. Sometimes it appears that evil is “spreading,” such as when we hear stories like the Newtown tragedy. However, what is actually happening is that people are choosing not to love because they are mentally ill, arrogant or afraid.
As a society, we are all responsible for mass violence. Because in some way or other we all fail to show kindness to one another:
We have sex without love and we pay doctors to kill the children that result. We become parents without love and babysit our children with graphic, violent video games. We get married without committing each day to love one another forever—and our children experience confusion, broken promises and instability. We walk around like zombies in our neighborhood, workplace and grocery store—without showing love in the form of a smile or wave.
Because we are unwilling to face our puerile behavior, we blame all evil in the world on guns. Guns are not the cause of evil or violence; guns are part of the solution. But first, we must love each other.
Because we are imperfect creatures, bad things will happen. And we need tools to protect our lives from evil men. In the past, those tools were clubs, bows and arrows and swords. Today, guns are simply the most efficient tools of self-defense.
Those who wish to control, register and ban guns (think Gabrielle Giffords, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama) make the false assumption that we live in a utopia where new laws will turn criminals into angels; a utopia where signs stating: “No guns on these premises” will scare madmen away from schools. But we simply cannot prevent all evil with laws and signs.
Almost anything could be used to commit murder. We do not need a law against owning guns any more than we need a law against owning cars.
The philosopher Thomas Aquinas argues that great care should be taken before creating new laws: “Wherefore … in establishing new laws, there should be evidence of the benefit to be derived, before departing from a law which has long been considered just.”
In the United States, there is zero evidence indicating that gun control laws benefit society or prevent mass murder. No law—save concealed carry laws, which actually permit people to bear arms—reduces murder rates.
Profs. John Lott Jr. and William Landes conducted a landmark study analyzing all multiple-victim public shootings in the U.S. between 1977 and 1999 showing that: “While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce ‘normal’ murder rates, our results find that the only policy factor to influence multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws.”
Evidence does show that mentally ill people commit violence. But mentally ill people do not always use guns.
They use their own hands (think Erika Menendez who said she pushed a man in front of New York City subway train because “I thought it would be cool”). They use razor blades (think the female blackjack dealers who broke into a stabbing fight at the Bellagio last month). And they use hammers: FBI reports show that more criminals used hammers (496) than rifles (323) to commit murder.
Sometimes the “madmen” are politicians who become dictators. We need guns to protect ourselves from our own government should it become a dictatorship that rejects natural human rights. As Ayn Rand illustrates in her novel, Atlas Shrugged, a dictator only finds safety in “the sphere of violence.
The best thing we can do to prevent mentally ill people from resorting to violence is to love them. By smiling and sharing kind words with sad, lonely, depressed or impoverished people, we could prevent them from becoming violent.
From now on, we can proactively prevent violence by keeping our promises, spending time with our children and showing kindness to everyone, including strangers. And since we cannot prevent all evil in the world, we need guns to defend our natural right to life.
Key works referenced: Power Divided is Power Checked by Jason Lewis, pp. 103-105, Treatise on Law by Thomas Aquinas, pp. 108-109 and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, p. 1055.