The bodies weren’t cold before the slaughter perpetrated by a single homicidal maniac became the basis for calls to slaughter the rights of millions of non-maniacs.
That’s us, in case you missed it.
That 27 are dead is horrific, a nightmare. That the deaths of these innocents will be used to demagog gun ownership generally is arguably more so. For our rights – our liberties – are everything. Without them, our lives are nothing more than biological datum. We exist – but we do not live. Because it is not living when your life is controlled by others (those “others” being the people who control the machinery and enforcement apparatus of government) … when your freedom of action is denied, limited, constrained…. not because of any harm you’ve caused.
But because someone else caused harm. And worse, because someone else might cause harm.
It is the logic – no, poor word choice there. It is the justification used for every abridgement of liberty we’ve suffered in recent memory. Someone might drive drunk. Therefore, anyone who happens to be out driving must submit to being treated as presumptively drunk driving – until they’ve demonstrated otherwise, to the satisfaction of armed and costumed goons. There might be a terrorist at the airport. So millions of innocent people trying to get someplace must submit to being handled – literally – as presumptive terrorists by armed, costumed goons. Purchase “too much” Sudafed – and you are presumed to be a confector of arbitrarily illegal “drugs.” And treated accordingly by armed, costumed goons – despite your having done nothing.
That someone else might have done something is sufficient warrant to assume you did – or are about to.
And to treat you as if you already had.
There’s no end to it – because it’s open-ended. If “someone” might do something then certainly any of us could be that someone.
A free society cannot withstand this.
Which is exactly why this country is no longer free.
Yet few people see the connection. If Smith can be restrained – punished – because of the actions of Jones… because of the potential actions of Jones – then Smith is not free. Moral hazard – the notion that each of us ought to bear the consequences of our actions (not the actions of others) is the ethical basis of a free society. Punishment before you, as an individual, have done anything to anyone – in other words, the application of random, arbitrary aggressive violence against a peaceful person – is the sine qua non of unfree societies.
Just because. Because they can. Because they have power. And because you are powerless.
Ironically, neither Smith nor Jones is “safer” as a result – the supposed benefit to be had by the evisceration of Smith’s freedom because of the actions (or potential actions) of Jones – because both are now subject to unrestricted, arbitrary violence against their persons – for any reason or no reason. When a person – any of us – is no longer secure in “their persons and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures” – and all the rest of it – then we are by definition insecure.
And insecure is another way of saying, unsafe. Because we are at the mercy of others – within government and without. They can do things to do us – and we have no defense. Not legally, not physically. Just … Submit. Obey.
America used to be place where you knew that if you hadn’t done anything – or given good reason to suspect you were about to – you had a shield of immunity against arbitrary force being applied against you. Cops could not just stop you – without cause, for no reason having to do with anything you’d done. Your home was your castle. They had to have specific reason – evidence of crime having been committed – to violate your space. We could come – and go – without obtaining permission slips. You could buy a car, or cold medicine, a gun or even dynamite – and not be regarded as (and treated as) a presumptive criminal. You felt secure… safe.
People actually used to say things like, “It’s a free country.” It’s not anymore. Obviously. Depressingly so. And less so, seemingly with the passing of every day. Especially days such as yesterday – and what they imply about tomorrow.
Which is why that saying is rarely said anymore.
A child could – should be able to – see through the infantile idiocy of banning handguns. (How’s that ban on arbitrarily illegal drugs – or murder, for that matter – working for you, Herr Schumer, Moore, et al?) People who feed on such pap are already over the event horizon and cannot be salvaged. It is the adults in the room – the people who can grasp the principle at stake – that must be the focus of our attentions. Who may still be reached before they, too, slip across the threshold and into the abyss. Taking the rest of us along with them, alas – if we fail to reach them before it’s too late.
Throw it in the Woods?