January 08, 2009

More guns = less crime, but only with good training!

I'm a Christian. I've been a Christian for over three decades. My faith has been attacked as irrational and unscientific more times than I can count. And then the same people who call me unscientific will ignore valid, well-documented research and make faith-based claims like, "the government always has our best interests at heart", or "hunting animals in areas suffering from overpopulation is illogical". Worse yet, they anthromorphize guns and ignore the criminals wielding them.

I've been reading a book, "More Guns, Less Crime", by John R. Lott, Jr. He brings into play over a decade of hard data from national crime registries to clearly demonstrate that every single American State and county that has passed non-restrictive concealed carry laws has experienced a reduction in violent crime. No exceptions. The strongest critic of the research doesn't even bother to offer a counterpoint. Instead, they spend endless hours compiling personal attacks on the researher!

Huh? I thought crazy religious nuts like myself were the only people allowed to have faith-based beliefs! Guess I was wrong.

Early in the pre-dawn hours of January 1, 2009, a white BART cop in Oakland shot and killed a young black man. Videos captured on multiple personal cameras clearly show what can only be considered an assassination. Well, I suppose there is some small possibility that the gun discharged accidentally, but I have two problems with that scenario. First, the officer's training should have reinforced the absolute need to keep the chamber empty when transporting his firearm, making it impossible for the gun to fire without charging the chamber by working the slide. Second, there was no legal or logical reason for the officer to remove his gun from the holster. The situation was under control and there was no threat.

So, either the officer's training was so poor that no one can ever trust BART cops at all, or in the heat of the moment fear and pride drove a white officer to murder an annoying black man.

The black man was unarmed. The white cop was either unqualified to carry a firearm or mentally unstable (which would also make him unqualified). If the common people are not allowed to carry firearms then who will protect them from unbalanced, murderous law enforcement officers, let alone the criminals? Oakland is so violent, and has so much crime, that in my opinion the best course of action would be to provide complete firearms training and one handgun to every single member of every single household. Mr. Lott's research demonstrates that in every place where people are allowed to carry concealed weapons violent crime strongly declines, so let's arm the population of Oakland and let them protect their homes and their families! And, when necessary, even from the unqualified and unbalanced local police force!

The key is not the guns. The real key is the training regimen. Handing out guns will help no one. I know this. What we really need is for everyone who is qualified to undergo extensive and complete training in the use of firearms.

Education is real key to all of the problems we have in today's world. Radical Islamic terrorism, a failing economy, a collapsing global eco-system, all of these are the direct result of complete ignorance. Sometimes that ignorance is willful, and sometimes purely naive. Nonetheless, ignorance about the consequences of our decisions and the better long-term solutions available to us is what leads societies, communities, industries, and individuals into disastrous choices.

I agree with my critics, science backed by hard data is the key to understanding our reality. The problem is, my critics want to ignore the science when their own faith disagrees with the findings.

For example, on one page at the Brady Campaign website they open with this question:
"Do you feel safer sitting next to someone carrying a gun?"

Well, actually, I do! Apparently no one at the Brady Campaign does, however. Funny thing about that page. Although they reference many different reports and studies, they don't offer a single fact. Instead, they list a data set and without quoting a single data point state unequivacolly that the data set supports their belief.

Here's a couple book suggestions for anyone out there looking for real studies based on real data:

Seven Myths of Gun Control, by Richard Poe
Thank God I had a Gun!, by Chris Bird
More Guns, Less Crime, by John R. Lott, Jr.

There is too much fear running through modern America. We hide from reality and try to pretend that all the bad things in the world won't touch us if we keep our cable subscription paid. Maybe they won't, but maybe they will. If they do, then we need to be able to defend ourselves. I don't understand why instead of hiding away behind closed blinds more people don't get out and take a few self-defense courses. Learn some hand-to-hand techniques, learn to shoot a gun, learn how to disarm a mugger or rapist without risking your own well-being. The key, as always, is to learn!

If you sacrifice a couple seasons of "Amazing Race" or "American Idol" and take some self-defense courses you'll feel better, you'll walk taller, and you won't be afraid to walk down the street after the sun sets.

Break the habit of fear. Learn to take care of yourself, your family, and your property.