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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Horror in Aurora

James Holmes
"Prepare a chain, because the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence." Ezekiel 7:23

Admittedly, tighter gun controls would not in themselves have prevented James Holmes, the alleged killer at Theater 9 in Aurora, Colorado,  from creating havoc there earlier this week. And I agree that the underlying problem is that we are a nation that appears to be becoming increasingly sick in ways both morally and mentally.

But while we are assessing the part a pornographically violent entertainment industry and other societal problems may play in this, some sensible limits on the kinds of guns, particularly semi-automatic assault weapons with huge ammunition clips, are in my mind long, long overdue. Such a prohibition was in place in the US until 1994, and the number of people slaughtered by such weapons has increased dramatically since then.

Here’s a part of what my friend Barkley Rosser, an economics professor at James Madison University, just posted on his blog:

In particular, this tragedy in Aurora makes clear that all the yapping by NRA propagandists that individuals carrying guns can/will stop madmen from killing lots of people (something we heard from these people after Cho shot up VA Tech, only to have the VA legislature fall all over itself genuflecting to the most ridiculous and obscene requests from the NRA), does not cut it.  Holmes could not be stopped by all these junior Zimmermans and fantasists training so hard to protect "us" from whomever they thought were threatening us.  No way.  This guy had body armor, and that is how it will be in the future.  This particular fantasy of the NRA and its bootlickers is dead in the aisles of Theater 9 of Aurora, Colorado.  Sorry guys, grow up.

My final point is to any true believer in the super sanctity of gun rights.  Sorry, but this is not a universally recognized right.  The only other nation that has similar legal views to the US in the entire world is Honduras, whose gun dealers compete with ours for supplying the drug cartels in Mexico. If any of you are proud of this, so be it. I am not. The US was arguably the major inspiration for individual human rights in the world, with the French Declaration on this following after ours, and the 1948 UN Declaration clearly modeled on ours as well.  But none of those, and nobody else's (except world-inspiring Honduras!), has followed us on this particular matter, where our ancestors' "need" to keep injuns, slaves, wetbacks, and other potentially troublesome people from our"frontier," in line.  Again, this last jibe on my part is simply a recognition of the power of path dependence and the historical record of the US that makes it so difficult to do anything about this, even such screamingly obvious things as banning assault weapons that no civilian has any obvious or legitimate use for is at least one obvious move that might improve things.


You can read his entire post here: http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2012/07/more-guns-more-equilibria.htm.
For a tongue-in-cheek perspective on the Second Amendment, here's a link to the post "The Right to Bear Cars."
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