Time for another Ban

Based on an uncontrolled and selective sampling of the news, I cannot help but be alarmed at the sky-rocketing rate of gun violence in the united States.  These massacres make the "Wild West" look civilised, based on the documentary depictions of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  Considering how these acts of violence were perpetrated, I cannot help but come to the logical conclusion in spite of my previous beliefs and upbringing.

The time has finally come for a comprehensive, nationwide piece of legislation banning schools.

When was the last news report on a mass shooting at a home school?

"It's deplorable," you say, "to make light of this tragedy and use it to further your own political ends."  I would have to agree; please do not interpret my words as making light or cashing in on the sad, sad tragedy that has befallen these people.  But go on Twitter, go on Facebook and see hoards of well-meaning busy-bodies clamoring to "attenuate" my right to self protection in the name of the fallen children who they have never met.  I have not doubt that most of this outpouring comes from a place of empathy and a desire to do good, but that doesn't make it any less wrong.

The statement that inspired this belated post was one on Twitter proclaiming something to the effect, "The right to own guns does not outweigh the right of a child to live."  On the surface and in a vacuum, this statement is thought provoking and not all that disagreeable.  Let's unpack it.

First, let's agree that the child's right to live is paramount - nothing trumps it.  But to whom do we refer when we say "the right to own guns"?  It is my position that rights only apply to individuals, so I will use myself as the example.  Does my right to own a gun outweigh the right of any child to live?  Does any right of one person outweigh any right of another?  Does my right to eat an ice cream sandwich outweigh the right of a child to drink chocolate milk?  Do rights of certain individuals have objective relative merits and values?  No, all such values are subjective and therefore incomparable.  We could all spend the rest of our natural lives debating the relative value of right A vs. right B and end up with no conclusion whatsoever.  So the more elegant, more reasonable approach to rights, is to simply state what, in civilized society, you do not have the right to do: initiate the use of force.  This has been dubbed the Non Aggression Principle. 

Now we're getting somewhere.  Do I agress against the child by owning a gun?  Guns can be dangerous with particular intent or ignorant usage, but so can many things.  My ice cream sandwich could be used as a murder weapon if so intended.  Granted, they are different beasts, but the argument as to whether a particular person is more or less safe by my gun ownership, without sufficient context, is a debate that will rage until the end of time without conclusion.  Let's not go down that path.  Instead, consider if you have the right to take my gun.  I would argue that if you were to see me about to commit an act of violence, you have the right to take my weapons and my life if the process required it.  Otherwise, I would say you do not.  What would you, as an individual, be prepared to do to deprive me of my gun?  If you could take it without brandishing one yourself, I would be surprised.  I hope you see the hypocrisy in this.  If you got together with the neighborhood and decided to raid my home in order to rid the community of this danger, would you feel within your rights to do so?  I would hope not.  I would also hope that you see the fallacy of hiring a gang proxies to do the same. Is this not what you advocate when you clamour for gun control? 

If the child's right to live is so universally accepted, why is it so rarely questioned that the state has the authority to administer compulsory education? Let's bus them across the county, lock them in a box and make them all try to learn the same subjects at the same pace in spite of drastic differences in interests and skills.  If they don't pay attention, if they day-dream and want to do things they are more interested in, we have pills for that.  Then let's throw up our hands in desperation when a select few of them go bat-shit insane.
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