Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fox News has a fairly straightforward (and sobering) list of school shootings in the past ten years. Reviewing the list, I count six incidents in Pennsylvania; three each in Texas and Washington State; two each in Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, and California; and one each in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, D.C., Nevada, New York, Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia, Oregon, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi (and now, of course, Virginia).

If gun advocates were absolutely correct, it seems to me that these incidents would be clustered in states and localities where guns are restricted -- New York, Massachusetts, and so on (and they'd also be taking place every few weeks or months in the gun-control nations of the world). On the other hand, the incidents aren't limited to gun-happy states, which is what you might expect if gun control were the panacea.

The thing is, I don't know of very many Americans who actually think gun control is the panacea. (In this incident, people who approve of gun control are mostly wondering what the authorities were doing for two hours after the first shooting.) But while gun-control advocates don't claim that new restrictions would bring about anything close to a 100% improvement, gun fans are absolutist on the other side: They believe gun laws have a 0% deterrent effect, or, in fact, a negative effect.

This is a free country, so they have the right to be wrong -- but their wrong argument shouldn't be what decides gun policy in most states or at the federal level, and, unfortunately, it is.

No comments: