Mark Steyn: Let’s Be Realistic About Reality

I seem to have a thing for Mark Steyn lately (can you blame me?). His most recent article, Let’s be realistic about reality had some more good stuff to say. (See my previous post Mark Steyn: A Culture of Passivity for some other good stuff.)

I think we have a problem in our culture not with “realistic weapons” but with being realistic about reality. After all, we already “fear guns,” at least in the hands of NRA members. Otherwise, why would we ban them from so many areas of life? Virginia Tech, remember, was a “gun-free zone,” formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a “gun-free zone” except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School [Ed. Note: I added the link]: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.

I have actually flip-flopped on my stance on gun control over the last few years. I used to think that there is no reason at all for anyone to have a gun, at all (not very republican of me, eh?). But my stance has come to change. Canada has lots of people with guns. Japan has fairly strict gun control yet a mayor was shot to death on the streets. Gun control isn’t the issue, people are. The bad guys will always find a way to get a gun, regardless of legislation. While I still think it shouldn’t be easy to get a gun (and I do still think automatic weapons [which were NOT used at VaTech] should have many restraints), I also think people, who have gone through the proper channels, should be free to carry.

UPDATE I: Instapundit has pointed to a great article about the Appalachian Law School murders that Steyn mentions. Pretty interesting, eh?

UPDATE II: And via Matt MacAdam an article by Fred Thompson: Signs of Intelligence? that I found to be a good read as well.

The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. More to the point, incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.

When people capable of performing acts of heroism are discouraged or denied the opportunity, our society is all the poorer. And from the selfless examples of the passengers on Flight 93 on 9/11 to Virginia Tech professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who sacrificed himself to save his students earlier this week, we know what extraordinary acts of heroism ordinary citizens are capable of.

Categories: Social Commentary
  1. salmypal
    April 23rd, 2007 at 15:25 | #1

    Yippee-ki-yay Cowboy! Yee-haw. I always worry when I hear people wanting to take guns away from a populace…it just makes it that much easier for disreputable government to take over. Ugh.

  2. April 23rd, 2007 at 15:49 | #2

    Consider Switzerland, where every family has an automatic weapon in the closet. Such a hotbed of gun violence!

    It turns out that the VT guy should have been prevented from buying firearms ( So if it’s not possible to enforce the gun laws that already exist, how will more laws help?

  3. April 23rd, 2007 at 15:59 | #3

    Yeah the problem is enforcing laws that already exist. If gun laws got any stricter, it would only take them out of the hands of law abiding citizens, while criminals would always find a way to get them.

  4. April 23rd, 2007 at 17:45 | #4

    “it just makes it that much easier for disreputable government to take over” Or idiots with guns that didn’t obtain them legally anyway!

    Oh sure Gordon, try and change my mind about automatic weapons too! ;)

    Both Gordon and Tony hit it on the head I think. “So if it’s not possible to enforce the gun laws that already exist, how will more laws help?” Exactly!

    This is a systemic issue about the capacity for evil in humans, not about preventing people (most of whom are actually fully capable) from having guns (like those that stopped the Appalachian Law School murderer).

  5. salmypal
    April 24th, 2007 at 13:59 | #5

    The reason I’m more worried about a rogue government than idiot criminals is that over the course of history governments have killed millions more people than criminals have. When the cops are no longer the good guys I want a “well-regulated militia” close at hand.

  6. April 24th, 2007 at 17:16 | #6

    But in this day and age, do you think an American rogue government is possible? Don’t get me wrong, I think have a “well-regulated militia” is a good thing, I just don’t see that there could be a rogue government any more… unless the democrats with in ’08! haha, just kidding of course! ;)

  7. salmypal
    April 25th, 2007 at 07:50 | #7

    Well, unless Sharia becomes law around here, maybe not. And how do you have a well-regulated state militia…it would almost seem illegal. Are there any even? I wonder what the guidelines for that are.

  8. April 25th, 2007 at 11:38 | #8

    I suppose Canada might have to deal with that before we do…

    For some reason in my head “well regulated” and “militia” don’t seem to go together. But then I keep thinking of Mel’s The Patriot, and come on, that militia kicked butt!

  9. April 25th, 2007 at 13:54 | #9

    Sometimes I think people overemphasise their rights to have this or not to have that. Perhaps it is about time to teach ‘responsibilities’ to avoid becoming too ‘rights-oriented’. Fighting for rights without the corresponding need to be responsible is like having a nuclear reactor without the necessary protection.


  10. April 25th, 2007 at 14:29 | #10

    I think that is a great point Conrade that I should have initially talked about probably.

    While I think that the rights that are given to US citizens in the Constitution should be fought for, I don’t believe that they are any sort of inherent right that we have. That being said, I am also a big believer of the notion that just because we have the rights, doesn’t mean we should use and/or take advantage of them. Rights are given with the assumption that we will live up to their expectations. For that to happen, there are certain things that must be done. In this case, you are absolutely right that the responsibilities of gun ownership and handling need to be a huge focus on things. For someone to get a gun they should be able to proficiently, maturely, and humbly use them.

    Responsibilities should go hand in hand with the “rights” we are given and, as you have suggested, sentiment has become to “rights” oriented without the focus on responsibility that should be right along side.

  1. April 23rd, 2007 at 18:36 | #1

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