Sunday, July 29, 2012
It can be argued that mankind is nature's perfect contradiction. We seldom consider issues for which there are logical conclusions. Yet when confronted with senseless violence we'll make vain attempts to rationalize irrationality. But no matter how hard we work, satisfactory results are unachievable. Explaining the unexplainable is like pushing breakers back into the ocean. So it goes in the aftermath of the Aurora massacre, as pundit after pundit blames firearms and the Second Amendment for the carnage.
While some people might gain momentary peace from blaming guns, or the Constitution, for deranged criminality, it is the ultimate nonsense. Firearms are no more responsible for violent crimes than Food Network is for gluttony. Guns are inanimate. They can't act of their own volition, determine right from wrong, or differentiate between just and unjust persons. Like knives, axes, and other tools, guns perform at their user's discretion.
True, a madman with a firearm can inflict more immediate casualties than one armed with a knife or an axe. But capability doesn't change the basic nature of a tool. Since tools are incapable of distinguishing good and evil, we must examine the operator. This simple truth forces humanity to face an unpleasant reality. Evil exists not in the objects we create -- guns, knives, axes, nuclear missiles, etc. -- but in us. Evil will survive as long as mankind survives.
Even so, there's no shortage of kneejerk responses from shortsighted and self-serving politicians who manipulate tragedy to enhance their power and that of the State. Those calls are thus far falling on deaf ears, which is quite refreshing.
Yes, the Aurora murderer used guns for an evil purpose. But thousands, perhaps millions, of like firearms are used for legitimate reasons, or not used at all, every day of the year. Privately held arms are intrinsic to liberty, their value far outweighing the evil found in the random lunatic. However, the peaceful use or nonuse of arms generates neither media headlines nor political opportunities. Those who offer vain explanations for senseless violence are hoping the country will favor their emotionalism over common logic.
Evil acts begin in an evil heart. Firearms, knives, axes, and clubs are just tools for expressing the evil within. Since one man expressed his evil with a gun, and many people died quickly because of it, it's easy to blame the tool. However, many people have died slowly, over time, at the hands of serial killers who used no gun. Those crimes are just as bewildering, the victims just as dead, and the perpetrators just as evil as if the crimes were committed with a firearm.
There's nothing defeatist in recognizing that evil won't be eradicated or fully understood this side of the Pearly Gates. To accept that fact is to choose reason over emotion and liberty over servitude. In Aurora's wake the fact that reason has thus far trumped emotion is about the best result we can hope for.
Posted by Anthony W. Hager at 7:19 PM