I will not for one instant say that what happened in Aurora, CO was anything less than a complete tragedy. It was a massacre undertaken by a lunatic who probably underwent some kind of psychotic break with reality. How else could someone wake up one morning a productive member of society, a college graduate student working on a medical degree and the next day walk into a movie theater and start killing people like it was some kind of video game? It is not all that common and at the same time it is frighteningly common. Because when it happens for the four or five times in a decade people, struck with momentary fear, wonder if this is going to become the norm. There are those who are quick to render judgement on how it happened. He snapped because of video game or movie violence, easy access to guns, he was a loner was ostracized from normal society. Really, the list goes on and on. However, the same knee jerk reaction is espoused no matter when it happens. The media and other proponents of gun control immediately make the call for more gun control, stricter laws, or outright banishment of the second amendment.
But I have something to tell you. More or stricter gun control won’t stop criminals from getting guns, nor will it stop someone who is really set on committing some headline splashing monstrosity from finding another way to carry it out. Gun control would not have stopped someone, who by all other checks, appears absolutely normal. There is just no way around it. Taking access to guns away won’t solve the problem either. Do you know why? Do you have access to explosives? No. Okay, does that stop people from making bombs and killing people with them. Did Ted Kaczynski stop killing people because explosives were illegal? I don’t think so. Removing access from guns will only take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
But people like Bloomberg in New York and Piers Morgan on whatever news channel he is on call for stricter gun laws, Bloomberg even called for the Presidential candidates to be held accountable for their views on gun control. Bloomberg also went on to say, “I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have,” Bloomberg said. “There’s no other place that allows — we have more guns than people in this country. Every place else, if there are murders, they’re generally not done with guns.”
I’ve got news for you mayor, you are wrong, not only are you wrong, but you are deceptively wrong. The vast majority of gun crimes happen in countries where the gun control laws are so strict it is nearly impossible to get a gun legally. When you look at worldwide gun murders the United States we come in fourth. In fact, the number three country has more than double our rate, and the number one country, South Africa, has over 3.5 times the murder rate despite having some of the toughest gun control laws in the world.
The process of obtaining a firearm licence in South Africa involves, amongst other things, passing a competency test on the practical use of a firearm and on firearm law; using that competency certificate to obtain a police competency certificate; a physical inspection of your firearm safe; interviewing of your character references and of your spouse; finding out why you should own a firearm in general, and why you should own that particular one for which you are applying; and proving that you have not been convicted of or are even being investigated for fraud, drug offences, public violence or domestic violence. The entire process from your first application to actually being issued a firearm licence usually takes 12 months and can take up to 2 years. Yet, they have had almost 32,000 gun murders this year. That is one murder by gun for every 1600 people. In the U.S. our rate is one murder for every 32,600 people. Murder by gun is twenty times more likely in South Africa then it is in the United States even though they have extremely tough gun laws. No, gun control won’t stop crazies from killing people randomly. That list above shows that crazy people are universal, it is not just limited to the United States of America.
I can’t tell you how we get past this or how we stop it from happening in the future, but I can tell you how it will not get fixed.