December 15, 2015
How Fear Clouds Debate on the Right to Bear Arms
In a way, you’ve got to hand it to them: what progressives lack in principles, they certainly make up for in creativity.
On Saturday, December 12, pro-gun activists in Austin, Texas, collided with a group of “mass farting” counter protesters.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, gun enthusiasts organized a mock mass shooting at the University of Texas in order to highlight the need for an armed student body that is capable of responding to and defending themselves against these sorts of situations.
When anti-gun activists caught wind, they responded … by breaking wind. The counter protesters “overwhelmed” the pro-gun demonstrators, meeting them on the street with dildos and fart machines in hand.
“This is about a choice between fear and a little bit of good humor,” Andrew Dobbs, a UT alumnus who organized the counter protest told the San Antonio Express-News. “We are in a scary time right now and lots of scary things are happening, and some people want us to be more afraid.”
“I choose to believe that fear is not the solution to the threat of our time. That laughing in the face of fear is a courageous act and toting a gun around everywhere you go, maybe not so much.”
On the other hand, pro-gun organizer Murdoch Pizgatti said the counter protesters arrived on the scene as their mock shooting was already wrapping up, illustrating their point that these situations can happen very quickly, with very little time to respond.
“You don’t get a time and place; you don’t get a flier or an invitation for a true mass shooting. They happen unannounced,” Pizgatti said. “And the response time for the police to get over here was well after the event took place. That also illustrates the point of these gun-free zones. You must protect yourself. You must be armed.”
Strangely enough, I find myself agreeing with both groups of activists in this case, but also neither of them, at the same time.
I can certainly relate to the sentiment that we should not be guided by fear, and that, more importantly, our policies and laws should not be rooted in irrational emotions.
On the other hand, while I personally do not feel the need to carry a gun everywhere I go, I enjoy having the right to do so, if I wish, and more to the point, would never lobby against your right to do so, if you wish.
There is perhaps no better issue than gun control, other than drug prohibition, that better illustrates the divide between progressive and conservative ideology, and why libertarians offer the best possible solution.
At the risk of overgeneralizing, progressives seem to think that guns are inherently bad and want nothing to do with them, and consequently, want the state to make sure that you have nothing to do with them. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe guns are great and want everyone strapped with a holster and six-shooter from birth, because violence may befall you at any moment and you must be ready.
Libertarians, however, whether pacifists or not, simply understand the fact that there exists an undeniable individual and human right to self defense.
Never mind the fact that the founders designed the Second Amendment — the right to keep and bear arms — as a protection from the state, just like each of the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, without exception.
Now, as far as the counter protesters in Austin, Dobbs said that his group’s demonstration wasn’t “about guns necessarily,” and so I will take him at his word. But the many peaceniks out there who do want to see guns banned outright in the country need a reality check.
Beyond a violation of individual rights, which should be enough on its own, prohibiting gun ownership is a tool that every dictator in history has employed. I don’t need to explain why. Most people are capable of working out the mental math as to why an armed populace would not be desirable for a tyrant.
Then again, most progressives love the government — their protector — and therein lies part of the problem.
On the other hand, the notion that a mass shooting could happen “at any moment” and that you “must be armed” or face certain death is unquestionably a fear-mongering appeal to emotion. Ironically, it is exactly this same kind of fear mongering that progressives usually resort to in their appeals for more gun control.
However, despite the wall-to-wall CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News coverage of these tragic events, the reality is that this sort of violence is extremely rare. Despite all the horrible stories you read and hear about in the media, the truth is we live in the safest time in all of human history.
Despite the hysteria over ISIS, or Al-Qaeda, or whatever other bogeymen the Pentagon has dreamed up this week, you are still more likely to die from a peanut allergy or a lightening strike than a terrorist attack. Where’s our War on Peanuts?
So, for those peace-loving beatniks “farting in the face of fear” last weekend in Austin, I’m almost with you on this one, guys: peace, love, but above all, liberty.
This article was first published on the PanAm Post.