Mutually Assured Destruction

Mutually Assured Destruction

There is a precedent for the position that the gun lobby is taking on gun control. The idea is that if everyone fears that everyone else has a gun, then they will think twice about becoming an aggressor. It was called mutually assured destruction, and it worked. Two nations did fear the power of each other, and world war was averted.

The problem is that mutually assured destruction does not scale down. Most gun crimes are crimes of passion. Two drunks in a bar defending their manhood don’t think in the same way as two nations. Fear, anger, and panic dominate people in stressful situations, and the result is a dead salesperson on your porch, or a dead man in your driveway who was just turning around. The gun lobby insists that if everyone were strapped, even these incidents would decline. Statistics tell us they are wrong.

Launch on Warning

There is even a precedent for Stand Your Ground, even though the gun lobby is unwilling to admit it. It is what you do when you panic. Shoot first, and ask questions later. It happens often. People with guns make instantaneous decisions, and in many cases, those are decisions they regret later. Guns cause impulsive actions, and deadly mistakes.

Gun free zones are the problem

No they aren’t. The reason gun-free zones are ineffective is that they are surround by zones in which guns are easily accessible. The gun lobby insists that arming gun-free zones will make mass shootings disappear. This is another way of saying we have to be armed everywhere and at all times. That does not work. Gun violence occurs without warning. Even the best-trained police and military are caught off-guard.

The Eternal Vigilance Argument

A lot of gun supporters have the mistaken notion that having a gun will protect their family in and of itself. That is an

Mutually Assured Destruction

Handguns are big sellers, and the most dangerous. – news.stanford.edu

illusion. A platoon bivouac is the classic example of how to protect a fixed location, and you cannot do what they do in suburbia. You cannot post sentries, establish a field of fire, cordon off an area, or maintain 24/7 guards. If you do, your neighbors are going to get very antsy.  If you don’t, having a gun in your home is a liability.  In the movies, the hero wakes up to find someone in their home and defends his family. In real life, someone gets shot, and in many cases, it is the wrong person.

Who wants to live the gun lobby way?

It might work, if you committed to living in a commune setting, and followed military protocols. But who wants to? Wear a gun the rest of your life, and probably a flack jacket. Let your kids off at an armed school. We have 300 million guns in America right now, and we are still as unsafe as ever. The gun lobby will tell you that crime has declined with the explosion of gun ownership. The two statistics are disconnected. Thirty people a day die as a result of guns. We are no safer. We are under fire.

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