I don't know why the BBC is reporting this today, since this has been news for a couple months now. But a D.C. security guard has challenged the District's ban on handguns, hoping to get it overturned. "An event happened in 1997," says the security guard, "when a young man defended his life with a handgun against a criminal who had gotten into his house, and the city prosecuted him...This could happen to anyone and that's not what we have a government for - to hurt the people. But that's the effect of the gun ban. It makes people victims who have a right to defend their lives - and that's a constitutional right." Constitutional Law with Richard Heller, J.D. Or not.
I'm not gonna go into a whole thing about gun control or the Second Amendment. Instead I'm just gonna give a bunch of West Wing quotes, because apparently this was an issue Aaron Sorkin cared deeply about. But I will say in way of an original thought that I've always found it sort of amusing that gun advocates think if everyone has a gun we'll all be safer. How's that argument playing in the nuclear arena?
Anyway, West Wing says:
CJ: Obviously, there's one story that's going to dominate news around the world for the next few days, and it would be easy to think that President Bartlet, Joshua Lyman, and Stephanie Abbott were the only victims of a gun crime last night. They weren't. Mark Davis and Sheila Evans of Philadelphia were killed by a gun last night. He was a biology teacher and she was a nursing student. Tina Bishop and Linda Larkin were killed with a gun last night. They were 12. There were 36 homicides last night, 480 sexual assaults, 3,411 robberies, 3,685 aggravated assaults - all at gunpoint. And if anyone thinks those crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying guns, I'd only remind you that the President of the United States himself was shot last night while surrounded by the best trained armed guards in the history of the world.
West Wing also says:
SAM: I am so off-the-charts tired of the gun lobby tossing around words like "personal freedom" and no one calling 'em on it. It's not about personal freedom, and it certainly has nothing to do with public safety. It's just that some people like guns.
This is actually a good point, and one I personally agree with. Given the reality of gun deaths in this country, I don't think the pro-gun argument has any statistical connection with public safety. At best, guns make some people feel safer, irrespective of whether they actually are safer. Because statistics indicate they're aren't.
One last thing. The BBC article ends with a quote from this guy, who says, "Guns may not be necessary for everyone but I don't think that the government should tell me I can't do something." The dude goes on to reassure us that he's "actually intelligent," which doesn't really seem to be the case, since he doesn't seem to understand what laws and the governments that write them are supposed to do. They're SUPPOSED to tell you you can't do something. You can't drive over a certain speed. You can't sleep with a prostitute, or a 13-year-old girl. Yu can't beat your children. You can't use drugs. You can't smoke where someone else will have to breathe it. You can't dump toxic waste into a river, or take a dump in an alley. Governments SHOULD tell you you can't do something. That's what they're designed for.
This is the part where I put on my conservative hat for a moment, because as pro-choice as I am I've always gotten a little peeved with the feminist chant, "Keep your laws off our bodies." Um, hello? Laws are supposed to regulate things. Including your bodies. That's what they do.
Dude ends with: "What you're assuming, by restricting guns, is that a person isn't capable of handling one or that they are going to break the law, and I think that's a little bit ridiculous." Roughly thirty-thousand gun deaths a year mean roughly thirty-thousand times a year someone breaks the law with a gun. But don't worry. The guy's "actually intelligent." It's the D.C. police department that's being ridiculous.