Liberal Concern about Mass Shootings Is Not about Gun Control – It’s About Government Control of Us

As free American citizens we should all have an ‘unalienable’ right to defend ourselves to the best of our ability. If someone attacks you who is bigger, stronger, or better trained than you are trying to defend yourself will end badly for you. If your attacker is armed with a knife or a club or some other weapon, or if there are multiple attackers the ultimate result will be even worse for you. All the advocates of gun control, too many of whom want gun confiscation, ignore this basic truth. Guns are an equalizer. Guns can give a 105 pound woman a chance to stop a 250 pound would be rapist. It can give an 80 year old senior citizen a chance to prevent a mugging by a teenage gang member. Guns give all those who are physically weaker or smaller than their attacker at least a chance of successful self-defense.

Gun advocates who claim that guns are ‘only’ tools are right, but they are also being somewhat disingenuous. Let’s be honest. Guns are a ‘tool’ that is designed to kill. Of course guns can be used for recreational target shooting, or for hunting, but their primary use, what they are intended to do, is to kill. While the gun control crowd loves to point out all the times guns are used kill innocents, they ignore all the times guns are used to defend intended victims from attack. A 2012 Cato Institute White Paper, “Tough Targets,” concluded that, “The vast majority of gun owners are ethical and competent. That means tens of thousands of crimes are prevented each year by ordinary citizens with guns.” How many crimes are prevented is difficult to estimate. There just aren’t accurate statistics available. The estimates range from tens of thousands to a couple of million a year.

The exact number though shouldn’t matter. Everyone should have the absolute right to self-defense. This capability has already been reduced, sometimes to a near non-existence level, by social progressives in some states and cities where they have control.  Why? Progressives will tell you that it is to protect you from nut cases with guns. The evidence doesn’t support this. For starters, nut cases can kill you all sorts of other ways from pressure cookers IEDs to autos driven into crowds. Limiting or taking away citizen’s ability to defend themselves doesn’t change this. It is just an excuse to advance social progressive ideology.

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An excellent example of this progressive tactic was the progressive campaign against smoking. Non-smokers resented smelling cigarette or cigar smoke when eating in a restaurant, not to mention being disgusted with cigarette butts littering parks and beaches. In spite of that most people believed that smokers had a right to poison themselves if that is what they wanted to do. Not progressives. They are almost as fanatical in their beliefs as any Crusader or Jihadist. So in California they brought up the danger of secondhand smoke as a reason to ban smoking in enclosed spaces. Never mind that evidence was sketchy they convinced people that smoking should be banned because of the danger of secondhand smoke. Now smoking is not only banned in open air parks where any secondhand smoke is dissipated, but both smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes are banned even when there is NO possible way this could endanger other people. Progressive ideology is neither honest nor logical.

They are attempting to do the same kind of thing with guns. Like second hand smoke there is a danger from mass shootings, but like secondhand smoke the danger is over exaggerated. Limiting honest citizens’ ability to defend themselves won’t make us safer from mass shootings any more than banning smokeless tobacco or e-cigs make us safer from secondhand smoke and it makes about as much sense. In progressive ideology guns are bad and anything that reduces our right to have a gun is acceptable. There is still gun violence in cities like Chicago or Washington D.C. in spite of anti-gun laws that basically negate the Second Amendment. The ultimate progressive goal seems to be to ban all civilian ownership of guns. Period.

That is the most worrisome aspect of the progressive anti-gun campaign. Aside from taking away the ability of citizens to defend themselves against crime, if only the government has guns the potential for tyranny is much greater. When the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment they didn’t write it because they were concerned about citizens protecting themselves from highway men, dangerous animals, or roving Indians. That ability would have been a given for them. Of course we should have that right. What the Second Amendment was intended to do was to protect citizens from a tyrannical government, because an unarmed citizenry is a helpless citizenry. The second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Note the deliberate inclusion of the words “free State.” People should remember that dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all made gun control state policy.

Progressives of course promise us that our government would never abuse power. Really? With power comes temptation. How quickly or conveniently progressives forget Ruby Ridge and the massacre at Waco. How much more badly would the government have behaved at the Bundy Ranch just a little over a year ago if armed citizens had not protested? Gun ownership gives us the chance of self-defense against those who would harm us and reminds the government that we are a free people.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Nicholas Wishek

Nicholas Wishek. Retired teacher. 40 years classroom experience. Served in California National Guard 6 years. BA in history, MA in education. Married 35 years. Two sons. Many columns published in OC Register 2009-2014.

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