In light of the Batman movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado, Ron Paul’s timely response highlights the role of the individual, community and civil society:
“Government cannot mandate morality or instill hope in troubled individuals...Internal self-governance, by contrast, is a much more powerful regulator of human behavior than any law. This self-governance must be developed from birth, first by parents but later also through the positive influence of relatives and adult role models. Beyond childhood, character development can occur through religious, civic, and social institutions.”
It would be wise to take a moment to acknowledge that horrors like this can be prevented, but only through individual responsibility and personal morality, and not stricter prohibitions like many argue. While giving his response, Ron Paul was also able to tie in his larger campaign theme of individual responsibility.
Many others joined the conversation including rapper Ice-T, who spoke about the massacre the day it happened: “If somebody wants to kill people, they don’t need a gun to do it...you can strap explosives on your body. They do that all the time.”
Both of these celebrities show the underlying fundamentalism of the U.S. As a nation we were built on guns as Ice-T points out, but that right is, “Not to hunt. It’s to protect yourself from the police.” So that doesn’t mean we have guns blazing 24/7 or act recklessly or irresponsibly. What it does mean is that you can’t legislate morality. It doesn’t matter what you prohibit because people are going to do it anyway, most of the time no matter what the consequence is.
Whether you hunt, whether it’s for self-defense, or whether it’s for fun, guns are important for a variety of reasons, and it’s a right that is not only morally protected but constitutionally protected as well.
Despite all of these reasons many still tout gun control as a means to a peaceful society, which is ironic considering the history of gun control. Videos like “No guns for Negroes” highlight the racist founding of gun control, “The roots of gun control in California are tied to white anxiety over Mexican-Americans and Chinese-Americans at the beginning of the 20th century. Gun control gained renewed vigor in California after the Black Panthers armed themselves against white police officers intent on keeping their boots on the neck of the black community. Gun control in the South was explicitly designed to keep guns out of the hands of black communities who used firearms to defend themselves against the Ku Klux Klan.” The roots of gun control might show why individualists and proponents of racial equality like Ice-T and Ron Paul repeatedly slam it.
But some still might argue, so what? Just because the founding of the laws is racist doesn’t mean they still are, right? Wrong, not only are the very structure of those laws racist, but most of the time so is the enforcement, “Perhaps we may want us to look like the most gun-restricted cities in the country, such as Washington D.C. and Chicago, but we should recognize that strict gun laws in those cities have done little to make the good citizens of those cities, who are largely minorities, feel any safer from gun violence or from their overzealous police forces who trample on their rights with impunity.”
While the violent and coercive state of governments always lean towards more encroachment and more violence, it is necessary for a free people to be strongly armed and prepared in order to protect their community, friends, family and all those who are in need of protection and defense.