By Sam Aydlette
“‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” ~F.A. Hayek
In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, there has been a flurry of calls for gun control. Senator Diane Feinstein has called for national gun control legislation, which is supported by President Obama. Bob Costas and Piers Morgan have made condescending remarks on TV towards those who do not support gun control. Numerous articles with titles like, “Rahm Emanuel presses for gun control moves while public is at tipping point” and, “Sandy Hook exposes the logic gap in opposition to gun control” attempt to paint the picture that after the tragedy, things are different. However, gun control is not and will never be the answer to ending violence. Using the tragedy at sandy hook as a catalyst for more Government control over our lives and actions will only compound violence in our society.
It is important to consider that Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws on the books of any state. There is already an assault weapons ban enacted there, and obviously it did not stop Adam Lanza from obtaining weapons. To illustrate the point, consider that cocaine is 74% cheaper today than it was 30 years ago, despite the $20-25 billion dollars per year the Government has spent trying to stop its entry into the country. Making something illegal does not stop it from getting into the hands of those who desire it.
Beyond the statistics lies a broader truth. Gun control is antithetical to the trust toward our fellow man required of us in a free society. Denying access to weapons is to deny the duality of human nature. The truth is that Adam Lanza was as human as the rest of us. Yet he is not a reflection of humanity itself. Every day, we make choices that expose us to extreme danger. Acts like merging onto the highway, standing next to a forklift operator, even turning on a light switch or stepping onto an elevator require a high level of trust in the benevolence of an unknown stranger; our lives literally depend on them doing the right thing. On the other hand, none of us are completely innocent of being inconsiderate of others while attempting to meet our own needs. Taken to a disturbing extreme, this is exactly what Adam Lanza did.
Instead of looking to end violence by enacting laws which may create the illusion of safety but in reality will merely strip away the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, we should instead look within. Are we being compassionate towards those around us? Are we treating each other with respect and dignity? Are we taking action against injustice in effective ways? Let’s take this tragedy as a reminder to be a force for good. If enough people did, it would prevent violence a thousand times more than any laws ever could.