Originally posted by KellyJay
It isn't the lawful use of guns that kill people. You can look at Chicago and see a city with
some of the harshest guns laws on the books and people are getting killed all the time
there, lawless don't care about laws. Disarming the lawful isn't going to end this type of
behavior, the end of most gun violence is typically a good guy with a gun ending the bad
America's gun fetish is lawful and enshrined in its constitution, allegedly. It is lawful to harbour violent thoughts and fantasies. It is lawful to promote violent ideas and fantasies. It is lawful to purchase guns. It is lawful for a total nutcase to possess and carry around an arsenal of weapons having no relation whatever to his personal safety; it is lawful right up to the point where he opens fire (even that might arguably be lawful) and commences a massacre, which is finally unlawful.
Only in retrospect does the chain of causation emerge. In retrospect, one might argue that some steps in that chain required intervention and some might have entered the territory of unlawful conspiracy. In that case, an act which is lawful for most people might arguably have become unlawful in retrospect for some, such as for this mass murderer, but it can only become unlawful in retrospect - as though there is a chain of causation working backwards in time, from the massacre to the firing of the gun (now unlawful, not of itself, but because people were killed as a result) to the possession of the weapons arsenal (arguably this ought to be unlawful) to the purchase of guns (arguably this ought to be unlawful or, if not, regulated effectively), to the dissemination of violent ideas and fantasies (pretty certainly not unlawful and yet clearly part of the chain of causation and open to discussion about the acceptability of verbal violence and promoting violent attitudes) to America's gun culture (which needs removing from the constitution to permit better safeguards).
What comes from this? It is empty to say that the lawful use of guns is not the problem, because there is no difference between a lawful act leading to neutral outcomes and a lawful act leading to a massacre. In other words, lawfulness is not a useful criterion, because if it can only be determined in retrospect, then it serves no useful function whatever. The problem is not the lawfulness of guns - the problem is their prevalence - their existence in the population is the problem.
Here is a thought experiment. At the gates of a large school, place a glass cabinet with a set of fully loaded, ready to use guns. Put a sign over the cabinet - in case of need, break the glass: only for use in self defence, not to be used unlawfully. Possibly, as an afterthought, add a note: if you massacre people then you may be shot and will otherwise probably be executed by the state in an incompetent and ethically troubling manner. Leave the cabinet unsupervised, secure in the knowledge that the use of such weapons would usually be unlawful, except for self defence. If used lawfully, the guns might help prevent or bring to an end an illegal massacre in this school.
Why is that idea not ok? Would you send your kids to this school? Would you teach there?