Henry Porter, a columnist for The Observer, doesn’t think much of America’s Second Amendment. Nor does he care much for America itself, judging by his condescending commentary. His Lordship is very, very concerned about gun violence in America. In fact, he is so concerned that he believes it may be time for the world to “intervene” and save us from ourselves…or something.
There is an excellent British descriptive that applies perfectly to Mr. Porter.
He’s a twit.
The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.
To absorb the scale of the mayhem, it’s worth trying to guess the death toll of all the wars in American history since the War of Independence began in 1775, and follow that by estimating the number killed by firearms in the US since the day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot in 1968 by a .22 Iver-Johnson handgun, wielded by Sirhan Sirhan. The figures from Congressional Research Service, plus recent statistics from icasualties.org, tell us that from the first casualties in the battle of Lexington to recent operations in Afghanistan, the toll is 1,171,177. By contrast, the number killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1968, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, is 1,384,171.
Actually, the general trend on deaths as a result of firearms is going down the last decade and has been declining since their peak in the 1990’s. This, despite about 100 million more firearms in the hands of Americans. Also, that 32,000 number is deceiving. Two-thirds of gun deaths every year are the result of suicides. As is typical of anti-gun twits, Porter twists the facts and even tells outright lies to make his points.
So, besides allowing the world to come over and give us a good talking to, and maybe try and take our guns away, what solution does Porter suggest?
But no nation sees itself as outsiders do. Half the country is sane and rational while the other half simply doesn’t grasp the inconsistencies and historic lunacy of its position, which springs from the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and is derived from English common law and our 1689 Bill of Rights. We dispensed with these rights long ago, but American gun owners cleave to them with the tenacity that previous generations fought to continue slavery. Astonishingly, when owning a gun is not about ludicrous macho fantasy, it is mostly seen as a matter of personal safety, like the airbag in the new Ford pick-up or avoiding secondary smoke, despite conclusive evidence that people become less safe as gun ownership rises.
Last week, I happened to be in New York for the 9/11 anniversary: it occurs to me now that the city that suffered most dreadfully in the attacks and has the greatest reason for jumpiness is also among the places where you find most sense on the gun issue in America. New Yorkers understand that fear breeds peril and, regardless of tragedies such as Sandy Hook and the DC naval yard, the NRA, the gun manufacturers, conservative-inclined politicians and parts of the media will continue to advocate a right, which, at base, is as archaic as a witch trial.
As mentioned earlier, the dramatic increase over the last 20 years in the number of privately owned guns has not led to increased homicides. There were 23,760 murders in 1992 compared to the 2011 figure of 14,612. Someone teach this twit to read an FBI statistical graph.
Obviously, it is the nauseatingly objectionable notion that we should “dispense” with the Second Amendment because it is as “archaic as a witch trial.”
Mmmmmm. Dispensing with your rights — voluntarily giving up something that ages of Englishmen fought and died to maintain — disrespects your country, your history, and yourself. It begs the question: What other rights are you willing to dispense with? Why not all of them? What rights are worth fighting for?
No doubt Porter will come back with the argument that giving up one’s right to bear arms to make the community safer (in his opinion) is a civilized trade off. But if there was ever a slippery slope to point out, this is it. Once you start trading off your rights, there is no end to it. The state is a merciless negotiator, not interested in your personal freedom, only the exercise of power. It is assisted suicide to allow the state to bargain with the citizen over what rights are worth keeping and which should be dispensed with.
Porter ridicules the idea of guns ensuring the safety of citizens without even mentioning how many lives are saved every year by armed citizens fighting off attackers. Apparently, it would have spoiled his ridiculous rant against gun owners to bring a dose of reality into his narrative.
Yes, a twit to be sure.