Wednesday, June 11, 2008

After Gun Control, What's Next?

Today's issue of RedEye (published by the Chicago Tribune) features a brief article about how someone stuffed a pipe bomb into a raw roasting chicken and placed it on the side of the road in Connecticut. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed, but that could have been the outcome.

The June 9 issue of that paper featured an article about how a 25-year-old Japanese man named Tomohiro Kato stabbed 17 people (killing at least 7 of them) after running them down with his truck in Tokyo.

In neither case was there any indication in the news accounts that guns had been involved.

In the wake of tragic school shootings and other similar crimes in recent years, many people have looked for easy solutions. Every time such an event occurs, it's pretty predictable that there will be a substantial number of people blaming the easy availability of guns for the problem, and calling for tighter gun control laws. Never mind that that "solution" has been tried already, and it hasn't worked.

I understand why people would want to do something to end the problem of gun violence, but blaming the tools with which people commit crimes for those crimes is just plain stupid. The fact is that people have been murdering one another for millenia. Murder was not a phenomenon which suddenly sprang into existence when guns were invented. If people are deprived of one tool with which to fulfill their murderous impulses, they will simply find other tools with which to do the job. Knives, rocks, trucks, agricultural fertilizer, baseball bats, bricks, even roasting chickens. All have legitimate purposes. All are also capable of being used to kill people. Some people are even capable of killing with their bare hands! Unless we're prepared to illegalize every possible lethal weapon, we need to spend less time thinking about eliminating the tools with which people commit murder, and a whole lot more time thinking about ways to eliminate the murderous impulses which cause them to want to kill others in the first place. I say this as someone who has never owned a gun of my own (other than a BB gun I owned as a child), and who probably never will own one. I am no "gun nut". I just get peeved when I hear illogical arguments which actually serve to distract people's attention away from the real solutions to the problems they claim they want to solve.

(UPDATE: Apparently, Asian men who kill other people with knives aren't all that uncommon. Vince Weiguang Li, from China, recently committed murder and then beheaded his victim on a Canadian bus. Then he proceeded to cut off parts of the body and to eat them. Here's a link to the Wikipedia article about that incident. Here's a link to a CBS News article about the incident. And here's a link to first person account of the incident.)

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