My position on gun control.

It has occurred to me that I have never really stated my position on gun control. Recently, I got thinking about this issue and the various factors around it.

The one thing I’ve mentioned before is that “gun control,” whenever it is considered, is never, ever applied to the one category of people who own, use and abuse guns the most: law enforcement. This is bizarre, to say the least, that the kind of people who abuse guns the most, who use guns in a criminal manner the most, are also the ones who are never put into question by gun control rhetoric. Liberals wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole. And yet it is a necessary part of abolishing gun crime.

I don’t reject gun control out of hand. I would heartily agree to gun control if, and only if, there was a proportional commitment from law enforcement not to use guns as well: a mutual disarmament policy, just as was implemented for nuclear weapons. The less guns are allowed in the general population, the less they should be allowed to policemen as well.

One good example of this system would be the Greek system, where policemen are only allowed to wield guns when authorized by a warrant, although of course illegal gun use is reported. Theoretically, mutual disarmament would give incentive to law enforcement to find more effective way to reduce gun abuse, because their lives would be on the line. That’s really the only way you can get law enforcement to effectively prevent anything: otherwise they just take the route of least effort.

The underlying problem is the fact that policemen are a higher class of citizens with special rights, able to get away with criminal behaviour under the cloak of a uniform because no one can really stand up to them effectively. That is by far the biggest obstacle to the reduction of gun abuse. Nothing will ever really get done unless law enforcement is reintegrated as an integral part of society, instead of a class above it.

The mainstream discussions center around scares of weapons falling into the hands of maniacs who then proceed to shoot schools up. Some of these scares refer to reality, and I don’t deny that. But this is not the reality for most of the population. People are much, much more likely to be exposed to policemen abusing weapons than they are to be exposed to a private criminal abusing weapons.

Unfortunately, it is not only a problem of dueling narratives, because the media outright refuses to report on the crimes of law enforcement as crimes. They push the “bad apples” line over and over and over again instead of confronting the reality. So we have an extremely distorted view, and I don’t think anyone who has such a distorted view (including myself and anyone else who currently comments on gun abuse) can really have a rational opinion on the subject. All debate is absolutely, completely hopeless unless this distortion ends.

Gun control is only one parcel of a much greater issue, which is that of violence. But gun control receives a great deal more attention than that of violence as a whole. It is not really an issue of complexity: the issue of gun control is just as complicated as that of violence itself.

I think the reason for concentrating on gun control is obvious once we look at who puts opinions forward, for or against. By and large those people are capitalists, whether liberals or conservatives. They all believe in absolute property rights, with only mild disagreements as to how conflicts between two people’s property rights, including ownership of their own bodies, must be resolved. So they both agree that we have a right to own guns as a piece of property, merely on the extent to which that right should be respected or regulated.

As capitalists, therefore, they have all the interest to reduce the issue to gun control and other property issues, as it plays to their common assumptions about ownership. And when we let them do that, we’re implicitly conceding the validity of property-based discourse.

If we expand beyond gun control and look at it as an issue of violence, then it’s a lot more complicated than a property issue. Why do countries with almost as much gun ownership than the United States fare a lot better in homicide rates? (see table below) There is in fact no correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates, or between gun ownership and firearm homicide rates. So the assumption that gun ownership makes us more secure on the whole seems unjustified.

Countries that top the gun ownership list:
United States- 88.8 firearms/100, 5.0 homicides per 100,000
Serbia- 58.2 firearms/100, 1.73 homicides per 100,000
Yemen- 54.8 firearms/100, 4.0 homicides per 100,000
Switzerland- 45.7 firearms/100, 0.71 homicides per 100,000
Cyprus- 36.4 firearms/100, 2.4 homicides per 100,000
Saudi Arabia- 35.0 firearms/100, 1.04 homicides per 100,000
(these numbers, of course, do not include law enforcement/judicial/military homicides, which are not recognized as such)

What does seem to be the case is that, in countries where gun ownership is banned, homicides tend to be almost entirely non-firearm related, but in countries where gun ownership is permitted to various degrees, the proportion of firearm homicides rises. Firearms explain the nature of homicides, but not the rates of homicide in general.

So the question we have to ask is, why is the United States peculiarly violent, with homicide rates on par with countries torn with civil unrest like North Ireland or high risk countries like Argentina? Could it be that property-centered discourse and policies, with all the inequality and hatred that they generate, are one of the very root causes of violence, and is that why the capitalists desperately try to divert the issue?

I mean think about it… divide and conquer is how they operate. What better way to divert attention from their idiotic dogma than to divide people over a relatively irrelevant issue over which they will argue over and over because no one will ever convince the other side? The very same propertarian orientation which centers discourse around gun control also underlies market dogma, the capitalist planned economy with the property owner at the center, “sink or swim” rhetoric, and so on.

Indeed, it is the very connection between economic power and gun ownership which permits corporations like Standard Oil and Chiquita to raise their own private armies to kill protestors in Third World countries and increase the inequality within our own countries even more. It is bullshit to visualize the gun control debate as being about a guy shooting his wife, when the reality of it is primarily about cops shooting innocent people, private armies shooting protestors, and American guns being exported to war-torn countries.

In the end, the gun control debate is engineered to take your attention away from economic and political power, and to get you to accept that power as necessary to “maintain the peace.” And that’s exactly what people do! Christians say the best trick Satan pulled is to make people believe he doesn’t exist; the power elite one-upped that and makes us believe that we need them. And the gullible sheep fall for this trap every fucking time.

25 thoughts on “My position on gun control.

  1. sbt42 July 12, 2012 at 06:47

    Kind of a long story here…apologies in advance.

    I volunteer at a local community center kind of place (it’s an old church building we sub-let from the dwindled congregation), and I host social justice/radical political events there from time to time. For my day job, I work closely with the re-entry propulation: former prisoners and those on probation/parole. One of my colleagues works for the city Violence Prevention Unit, and for the past two years she and I have hosted Re-Entry Resource Fairs at the space for folks with backgrounds who need housing, jobs, counseling, etc.

    Although the place would be filled with P&P agents, they are unarmed. I stressed to my colleague that no armed officers were permitted in the church building for these events (or at any time). The first year was fine, no cops on site. The second year, she had work-release inmates in attendance to help set up chairs and tables and such, and they had an armed escort. After they were done, the cop was still hanging around. I wasn’t happy with the presence in the building, and the other organizers I volunteer with at the church agreed to let me have the event only as long as there were no firearms in the building.

    Fortunately my colleague was understanding about my concerns. She explained the situation with the cop, so he and the work-release inmates left after they had a chance to receive info from the different organizations present. At the end of the event, they came back and the officer was only present for a short time.

    I was pleased with the notion that I was able to “kick out” a cop from our function, if only for a little bit of time. I echo your sentiment about cops regularly abusing their authority and a populace cowed into submission due to restrictive firearm laws that target the non-political class.

    …More to the point of your post: Just yesterday I read a year-old Larken Rose piece entitled “When Should You Shoot a Cop,” which touches on some of the concepts you illustrate here:

  2. Ms Vanilla Rose December 18, 2012 at 12:13

    You make many valid points.

  3. Cam December 20, 2012 at 12:19

    I agree with most things you have to say. Police do abuse there power far too often. However if I had a close friend or a family member in law enforcement there is no way I would be okay with them enforcing the law on streets in which there is more than a gun per adult. Police would be like sitting ducks. I’m sure in the long term disarming the majority of police officers would make some progress. But to put any officer in a situation they may get shot at with no effective way to defend themselves is absurd.

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 14:07

      Well, the point is to disarm everyone equally as much, not to just disarm cops.

  4. Cam December 20, 2012 at 12:27

    As for the list of countries that have the most guns per 100 people. Every country you say has similar levels of homicide by firearms are third (or second) world countries that are not nearly as civilized as the United States. The only other first world country was Switzerland and the levels between the Switzerland and the United States are almost incomparable… There are approximately half as many firearms per 100 people in Switzerland. Yet seven times less homicide via gunfire…

    United States- 88.8 firearms/100, 5.0 homicides per 100,000
    Switzerland- 45.7 firearms/100, 0.71 homicides per 100,000

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 14:18

      Calling the US a first world country is debatable. But you chose just one particularly famous example to illustrate your point. Once you include enough data points, correlations disappear.

  5. Cam December 20, 2012 at 15:05

    I understand the point is to disarm everyone equally – which absolutely would make great progress in terms of less gun related deaths. I am unable to find a statistic for how many illegal guns were taken off the streets in the U.S. last year. However in New Orleans alone they take over 3000 Illegal guns a year off the street. How do you expect the police to engage these criminals and do their jobs effectively and safely when the criminals know if they pull out the gun the police will run for cover… instead of instantly returning fire. Quite frankly with how harsh the gun laws are in the U.S. and the “three strike” rule, why would i ever (if in possession of an illegal gun or a legal gun whilst still breaking the law) put it down and give myself in… Instead of the fear that if i don’t comply I will be shot and killed, I could just pull it out scare them off and be on my way. Yes they may pursue… but is having criminals on the run with firearms who have threatened officers safer than either arresting or shooting them (if the suspect does not comply) at the scene?

    As for the United States not being a first world country… How are they not? Certainly the U.S. is not a prime example of a country managing their people and government and finances appropriately. But the lifestyle Americans have come accustomed to is certainly on par with first world countries around the world. The GDP per capita is higher than the majority of countries. Certainly higher than those countries which you compared gun related homicides.

    Would you consider the average person’s lifestyle from Yemen or Serbia to be on par with the average Americans? Furthermore would you consider them to have the same amount of opportunity in life? Why is the average life expectancy substantially lower in these countries than the United States?

    I do not have the statistics to back up this claim. but i’m sure more people in Yemen or Serbia face hunger and thirst on a daily basis than in the U.S. In fact i’m sure some people die because they are unable to provide these services for themselves.

    I want to reiterate that I DO agree with you on most points… especially getting guns off the street PERIOD in order to solve this unfathomable rate of homicide via gunfire. But taking the guns off police and expecting them to combat the profuse number Illegal guns or the odd disturbed person with access to a legal firearm is just unfathomable and it is not fair or responsible to put our officers in that dangerous a situation.

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 15:15

      Excuse me if I don’t cry for the terrible plight of people who are in a class above the rest of us so they can ruin people’s lives for the ruling class, and can hurt or kill people basically with impunity… It’s not going to make me cry if a few more of them die.

  6. Cam December 20, 2012 at 16:02

    You are not excused. You just said you do not care if someone else if killed via gunfire. Your entire article is about reducing gun related crimes (in particular homicide). Yet a person in a uniform, who you do not know whatsoever. Who is out there doing their job to keep you safe dies. I am certainly not defending the actions of some officers who indeed do believe they are above the law. But the majority do not do this.

    The fact that you do not care about an unarmed person (police officers if you have your way) being shot and killed in cold blood… without any way to defend themselves is disgusting. Most of these officers have families and young children. You wouldn’t care that children have to grow up without a parent? Solely because SOME police officers abuse their power.

    You are very uneducated and very naive and arrogant. I am disgusted by your warped views of police and complete disregard for human life. I hope one day you need the police to come help you. Because they will show… and they will help you. Even though you couldn’t care less about their lives. It makes me sick.

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 16:06

      Someone call the whambulance… you’re suffering from a case of whahitis. I’m not sorry for having no pity for the people who want to beat up, imprison and kill radicals, and who do so on a regular basis. Get a grip. You are a puppet of the power elite, whether you want to admit it or not. We all are.

  7. Cam December 20, 2012 at 16:15

    What I’m saying is not all police officers do this. The fact that you are referring to every individual officer based off a few officers actions is ridiculous. If someone from a certain race does something to you do you all of a sudden hate everyone of that race? You are making a very arrogant statement generalizing about all police. This has nothing to do with the Elite. This is about saving lives. Which you obviously don’t regard as much of a priority.

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 16:17

      You are profoundly confused if you think the purpose of the police is to save lives. What planet do you live on? Since then do you need a hierarchy of people with special rights to save lives? Again, get a grip.

  8. Cam December 20, 2012 at 16:30

    What I do think is that I don’t want innocent people being shot and killed on the job. You quite frankly don’t care.

    How can you say all police are bad people… I mean use your brain for a second. Over 500, 000 officers show up to work everyday, and according to you each and everyone of them abuses their power and therefore their lives mean nothing. You are a joke.

  9. Cam December 20, 2012 at 16:34

    Another very thoughtful engaging argument by yours truly

  10. Cam December 20, 2012 at 16:37

    For someone who writes their own blog and has so many different opinions you certainly cannot string together any sort of meaningful or convincing argument. Other than not liking police you have said absolutely nothing.

    • Francois Tremblay December 20, 2012 at 16:51

      What “argument” have you presented exactly that I am supposed to answer to? The purpose of the police is to enforce the interests of the propertied class through the laws made by the power elite. That’s what they’ve always been here for. By their very job description they are the enemies of freedom. So what’s your argument?

      If you dislike my blog so much, don’t read it. I won’t miss you. You’re just a fucking whiner. But don’t pretend you made a cogent argument here.

  11. Cam December 20, 2012 at 17:15

    Maybe you are right.

    Maybe EVERY SINGLE police officer out there is a bad person.

    The power elites are ELECTED by the people to pass laws that the people want. Than the police enforce those laws to keep self righteous pricks like you safe.

    I understand this doesn’t work exactly how it is supposed to but the police were not put into place to oppress the people like you seem to think.

    Without the police there would be mayhem. Look what happens every time a disaster strikes. Looting is rampant and violence gets out of control.

    • Francois Tremblay December 21, 2012 at 01:15

      “The power elites are ELECTED by the people to pass laws that the people want.”

      Let me be clear: you are delusional.
      The facts as I stated them are correct. Whether you accept this or not is not my problem.

  12. Cam December 20, 2012 at 17:18

    My argument is how to lower homicide rates via guns in the United States. You seem to think all the police in the country are power trippers and criminals hiding behind a uniform. You want these people to go take guns of the street with no weapon to defend themselves. I would like to see you out there in a uniform without a gun trying to get these illegal guns off the street. Maybe after you shit and piss yourself and cry for your mommy you would show a little respect to those who risk their lives for us every time they go to work.

  13. Cam December 20, 2012 at 17:21

    Hope you don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome writing on your computer. That’s about all the risk you assume. Hiding behind your computer screen sending other people into harms way. What a coward you are.

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