Michael Battalio

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My politics (part 9): guns – part 2

This series deals with some of my stances on political affairs and topics of the day.  I am quite liberal on some issues, but more conservative with others.  I self identify as an independent, but I definitely lean left.  I hesitate to do this, but I need to write a few posts about gun control.  I continue by addressing the common argument of many in the gun lobby.

Another trope used by the gun lobby is that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun (The NRA even sells a t-shirt [in black and navy] with those words.).

Ignoring the obvious reasons (that you need to have some training to not freeze up and be accurate)  Here are two reasons that argument is a fallacy.

1.)  It isn’t always clear who the bad guy is.
2.)  you have to be lucky or as well armed as the bad guy.

Even the police sometimes have a difficult time defining who the bad guy is (see e.g. Tamir Rice).  I do not trust a random civilian to make the determination in an active shooting situation that I’m an innocent and the guy next to me is bad (or not).  Humans are twitchy and have unreliable senses and interpretation.  This is especially true under duress.

For the sake of argument, let us now say the good guy has beyond a doubt selected the bad guy.  With adrenaline pumping through his veins, how well or quickly will he hit the selected bad guy?  The article I linked to in guns part 1 about the “need” for AR 15’s submits that the way to hit someone is to shoot as many projectiles as possible in the direction of the shooter.  For that to happen with a chance of the bad guy getting hit before the good guy, the good guy either needs a lot of luck or a weapon of a similar or higher bullet spraying ability as the bad guy.  If concealed handguns become ubiquitous (as many in the gun lobby want), then shooters wanting to maximize their impact will move to semi-automatic or automatic weapons (recent events would suggest that trend has already started).  Then, the good guy will need to increase his arsenal to compensate.  This creates an arms race between the bad guys and the “good” guys who want to be able to protect themselves if a situation ever arises where a gun might be useful.  (Anecdotally, here’s a devastated father who now wants to carry a gun because he’s afraid of others who do.)

Let me be clear, I am not an advocate of a ban on handguns or rifles.  I want to ban the escalation of weaponry that is becoming ever more efficient at killing people.  There are instances where people protected themselves by having a gun on their person (again anecdotally, I have a close family member that did so.).  But, the continued escalation of violence will only be curtailed if we draw the line somewhere.  We can discuss where that line is, but there needs to be a line where some guns are legal and some are not.
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)