L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 47, May 30, 1999
The Zero-Risk Society
by Fran Van Cleave
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
Living on the Navajo Reservation, I get so desperate for talk radio,
I do things I wouldn't normally do -- like turn on the TV at
lunchtime. Now, finding something substantive on TV news is
astonishing, but it does happen, probably for the same reason that a
stopped clock is right twice a day.
Two weeks ago, I happened to find an interview with Professor John Lott.
Lott, the author of
More Guns, Less Crime,
gave statistics on crime
rates in states with and without concealed carry, and on the
subsequent decline of rapes and murders in non-concealed carry states
which switched over to concealed carry. Then he discussed the
percentage of guns used in crimes, which seemed to be the real focus
of the interview, obviously precipitated by the Columbine High
shootings. The figure he gave was 0.09%.
Now, there was an uproar from the lefties when Lott's book came out,
and they all disputed his research, because that is item #2 in the
leftist canon, right after the personal attack: dispute all research
that disagrees with your emotion-based conclusions. But none of them
were able to prove that there was anything defective in his research
or his statistical methodology.
At this point in Lott's interview, the camera switched over to some
Democratic Congresswoman, whose name I forget -- they all whine like
Identikit replicas of one another. Interestingly, she didn't dispute
Lott's figures at all -- but she demanded to know how he was going to
"address [her] issues" about "ensuring" that none of these weapons
would never be used in the commission of a crime.
This was a revealing statement on several levels.
First, it confirms the innumeracy of Congresswomen on the "useful
idiot" level. Apparently she is oblivious to the lives saved by the
display of a weapon, which greatly outnumbered the lives lost by the
inappropriate use of such weapons among our boyishly misguided
criminals. (I shall not attempt to estimate the number of young
sociopaths who were appropriately disposed of.)
Second, she believes that a 0.09% problem is addressable by law. When
barely half of murders are solved by police detectives. (According to
the latest statistics, one out of every eight people on Death Row is
innocent.) Coincidentally, that is just about the same percentage as
are said to be committed by relatives and friends of the victim.
Those are the people the police go after first, regardless of
circumstance. I leave it to you, dear reader, to speculate about the
abilities of our stalwart boys and girls and blue to head off the
purchase (or manufacture) of weapons of destruction by
innocent-looking sociopaths with gullible psychologists and more
disposable income than any five of us possess.
I guess this implies complete and total gun confiscation, doesn't it?
Gosh, if their shrinks thought they were OK, we can't trust anyone,
Third, because lefties all run in packs, like dogs, it means they've
either stopped disputing his research, or she simply decided to go
for the political jugular.
It's not fear of guns. It's fear of risk.
American society is getting old.
Remember Lazarus Long? May the Universe bless Robert Heinlein for
inventing him. Lazarus, that extraordinarily long-lived patriarch of
the Howard families, had a healthy respect for saving his own skin,
and no romantic notions about being a hero. But he lived life with
gusto, learning new trades, fathering broods of children, eating
heartily, lusting after woman and loving all he could catch. This was
a man who knew how to live. Incidentally, he did end up being a hero,
more than once, when principles became more important to him than his
own tender skin.
Compare Lazarus to the fretful Yuppie leftist personified by
Congresswoman X. She has cloaked herself in the romantic notion of
being a "political hero." Thus she characterizes herself as "bravely
standing up to the NRA" by making speeches on TV, or to her
followers, who applaud her every word. If she helps get confiscation
passed, men she has never met will take their government-issued guns
and go door-to-door, threatening innocent people with death if they
refuse to surrender not only their property, but their inalienable
right and duty to defend themselves and their loved ones, and, I
might add, their duty to charge her and all the other gun-grabbers
with treason for violating their oaths to the Constitution.
For her brave part in this drama, she will be awarded more men with
guns to watch over her, paid for by her victims. Heaven forfend she
be inconvenienced in her important work of building a bump-proof
society. Weren't we all promised that by the Founders or somebody?
And hey, her self-esteem would just be ruined if she couldn't stand
up there and point to this accomplishment. The only trade she's ever
learned is talking nonsense at high speed, accompanied by a Victorian
self-righteousness reminiscent of other wrong-headed manias, such as
the Crusades, tulip-bulb futures, and Prohibition.
She appeals to the fearful, the timid, the ones whose worry about
their own tender skin trump any principle under the sun. The ones who
loathe tales of courage and sacrifice, because they know what cowards
they are. I do not believe that most people are cowards, however, I
do believe that politicians responsible for victim disarmament,
especially the ones who trumpet their "accomplishments" to the New
York Times, are some of the worst.
No human society can ever be zero-risk -- thank God! -- but after
every dangerous event, we have politicians assuring us that we could
be, if we would only do what they say. If a tolerance for obvious
lies isn't evidence that our Boomer cohort is turning into doddering
old farts before our weary eyes, I don't know what is.
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