Thursday, September 16, 2004

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Recently, the President allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse. Now rednecks all over the country can buy an AK-47. yay.

Gun control is an issue where I diverge from my liberal brethren. Banning guns does nothing to prevent the real cause of gun violence in this country. But . . . but . . . but crime rates went down while the ban was in place. I don't think the ban had as much to do with a decrease in crime as many gun control advocates like to believe. It looks to me like two unrelated events that happened to occur at the same time.

No, you don't need an assault rifle to hunt deer. But the truth is that 99.999% of all of the automatic assault rifles that are going to be purchased in the next few months will only be pointed at empty beer bottles on tree stumps in the back woods of some ignorant liberterians farm while his sister-wife gets him another 12 pack. The kind of people who buy assault rifles are the exact kind of people who need to bolster their self-worth (to put it politely). They'll never have the balls to point that gun at another human, much less lead the "revolt" that they all seem to fantasize about. I say as long as they are playing with their fake cocks out where most people won't get hurt, more power to them. At least they won't be causing real trouble.

As far as crime, nobody buys a gun LEGALLY with the intention to commit a crime with it. That's just plain fucking stupid. I'd be willing to bet that every last gun that has been used in a violent crime (not counting domestic violence) was obtained illegally. And there is no reason for that to change. You'd have to be a pretty stupid son of a bitch to buy a gun at a gun shop to hold up the local grocery store. An assault weapons ban does nothing to stop the trafficking of guns for crime. It just doesn't, live with it.

What really causes crime to go down is a growing economy (not the fake growing economy that Bush is pushing.), a healthy job market and an effective social safety net. Sure you're always going to have the hardcore criminals who were just born naughty, but no amount of legislation or finger-wagging is going to stop them. The best we can hope for is to get them off the street as quickly as possible. But most criminal behavior is a result of hopelessness and the perception that it's the only option. When an economy is rolling along, people can get work and those who can't at least get nominal shelter and food, then they have no reason to hold up a liquor store for diaper money.

This is the point where many republicans and liberterians get confused. They get all pissed off because they think their tax money is going to support shiftless welfare queens. They refuse to see that every dollar we use to pay for social services (which in the final analysis amounts to less than a penny on the dollar. Talk about some greedy motherfuckers) is about three dollars that we won't have to spend dealing with the results of not having those services at all. Just like Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Refusing to pay for a problem doesn't make the problem go away. If anything, it only makes it worse.

So let's stop fixating on the symptoms of violence and work on the actual causes.

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