Perspectives: Why gun control advocates, lynch mobs lack moral authority

OPINION – An unthinkable crime has been committed. Emotions are running high and outrage is overtaking sorrow. Something must be done. No more excuses. No more platitudes. No more talk of “rights” and “due process” when innocent blood cries out from the ground for justice. The time has come for decisive action. We will not be denied.

Sounds a lot like what gun control advocates are saying following the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, doesn’t it? But what I’m actually describing is the mentality of a lynch mob.

The similarities are striking. The emotion-fueled lynch mob actually perverts justice in its quest to take action at any cost — just like gun controllers are doing. The lynch mob seeks to kill for a presumed offense; gun controllers seek to unjustly take freedoms. Both lack moral authority for what they seek to do. Both are perfectly willing to punish the wrong people to achieve their goals.

The desire to impose controls on firearms is simply an outlet for the irrational fear and distrust of others. Charley Reese described this antipathy toward mankind as follows: “What the gun-control crowd is saying to you is that even though we’ve never met, I don’t trust you to own a firearm. I’d like to prevent it, but if I can’t do that, I want to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible.”

What if we applied that same groundless approach to other natural rights?

Would we consider outlawing cameras or computers or strictly licensing them in defiance of free speech just because some people might use them to produce child pornography? Or do we hold individuals accountable for their actions and deprive them of life, liberty and property only after due process has been observed?

The way we answer these questions is a good indicator of whether we support the rule of law or mob rule.

But high profile tragedies are simply too opportune for most gun control advocates not to exploit them for political gain.

Political vultures swoop down while the victims’ bodies are still warm to promote their pet policies while the public’s judgment is still clouded by emotion. Politicians know they have a limited window of opportunity before emotions subside and rational thinking returns, so they manipulate our sorrows to their advantage.

This is precisely how the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, and two wars of conquest against nations that had never materially harmed the U.S. were sold to the American people. And today they stand on the graves of slain schoolchildren and pimp an agenda that they could not sell to the public under less emotional conditions.

The telltale sign that this round of calls for gun control is petty tyranny masquerading as good intentions is found in its blanket approach to restricting gun ownership rather than affording due process to each individual. Prior restraint laws claim to prevent people from doing harm by treating us all as potential criminals.

Thomas Jefferson had the answer to this fallacious reasoning, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

There have always been human beings capable of monstrous acts of violence against the innocent. How they do this may vary, but the one question that remains is: Who will protect the innocent? The state obviously cannot, as witnessed by the fact that in every single homicide in this country it failed to protect the victims. This means that the primary responsibility for protecting innocent life belongs to all of us.

In our time, the best tool for this job is the personal firearm. It is the equalizer that can create the parity of force that enables anyone, from a martial artist to an elderly woman to stop the attack of assailants.

What could have stopped the killing in Connecticut was a firearm in the hands of a citizen who understood that the responsibility for protecting innocent life rests upon each of us. Gun control laws founded in irrational fear and distrust of the people created a legally enforced gun-free killing zone at the grade school.

The gunman, like all other criminals, did not obey the law. Only the law-abiding did. And they paid the ultimate price for their obedience.

We should carefully consider where gun control leads before joining this particular lynch mob.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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29 Comments

  • Karen December 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Mr. Hyde should read the comments made today by Sen. Joe Manchin (who has a rating of A by the NRA). Sen. Manchin said that ” it’s time for all sides in the gun policy debate to move beyond the political rhetoric and begin an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.”

    He went on to say “I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle, I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.”

    • FBM December 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      you’re only allowed to go hunting with 4 or 5 rounds in your MAGAZINE. if you get caught with more rounds in the magazine, they can confiscate your firearm because it’s against the law. that’s why you don’t see hunters with 30 round mags because they don’t want to lose their firearm. only a moron would go hunting with an assault weapon. they’re heavy and bulky. that’s why we use rifles. plus you only need one shot to kill a deer or elk.

  • George Stoddard December 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    “The desire to impose controls on firearms is simply an outlet for the irrational fear and distrust of others.”

    This could more accurately be rephrased: The desire to own an arsenal of instruments of human destruction is “simply an outlet for the irrational fear and distrust of others.”

    Help me understand why anyone needs to own a semi-automatic rifle with a large magazine and hundreds of bullets designed primarily to destroy human flesh? Just a question.

    • Mee December 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      George,
      I would say its a very rational fear and distrust of others to own instruments of mass protection.

    • Robb Willie December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      ‘Help me understand why anyone needs to own a semi-automatic rifle with a large magazine and hundreds of bullets designed primarily to destroy human flesh? Just a question.’

      Because, George, if a thug or a loonie busts into my home with murder in his heart, putting my life and the lives of my family in jeopardy; or if he just wants to wantonly harm innocent life…I don’t want to be standing there, ready to greet him with a foot rub and a nice bowl of soup…I want to shoot him. Hell, you answered your own question, George!

  • Conrad December 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    In DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER the Supreme Court held that:

    The Second Amendment protects an INDIVIDUAL right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes…

    That would seem to put that right on a par with those in the First Amendment, which are individual rights. And it should be noted that NO LICENSES are needed for those rights.

    • Robb Willie December 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Conrad: Well said.

      In Alaska, where I now live, having moved from So. Utah, we don’t have a concealed carry law. We just carry. Even most of the chicks. We don’t have to raise our hands to ask Big Momma if we can exercise the 2nd amendment. Just sayin’. hehe.

  • FBM December 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    he tried to buy a gun, but he was denied. so the law kept him from legally buying a gun. so what does he do? he gets them from his own home. his mother knew that he had problems. so was he getting help and taking meds? were her pistols in a safe? if they were in a safe, how did he get the combination? these are the questions that we need to be asking.

    you can ban guns and people are still going to kill people. we’re the only species on this planet who kills for greed, jealousy, or for fun. what’s to keep me from building a homemade bomb and driving my car into a classroom and blowing up the school? i guarantee you that i can kill more people with a bomb than a gun. are we going to start banning cars because they can be used to massacre children?

    instead of banning tools, we need to start investigating why these individuals did what they did. how can we prevent the next person from losing his/her marbles and going on a killing spree?

  • zacii December 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Excellent essay, Bryan.

    I am always surprised at the amount of people who think that the 2nd amendment is about hunting/sporting purposes.

    It isn’t.

    It is, and always has been, a means of the people to arm themselves against tyrannical gov’t and/or invasion. That is why the right of private citizens to keep and bear military arms shall not be infringed.

    How are people supposed to defend themselves against mobs, or shall I say lynch mobs in the spirit of the article, without appropriate weapons? Does anyone not recall the Asian shopkeepers in L.A. that effectively defended themselves during the riots?

    Is there not also a Mormon within earshot that doesn’t remember what happened in Missouri when they gave up there arms in return for a false promise of security?

    Gun confiscation, which is the end goal, leads to genocide. Every time.

  • Lance Helsten December 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    @George: You should really ask why the second amendment says “arms”, which are defined as weapons of offensive and defensive combat, which means a tool to kill be it a tomahawk, sword, flail, or rifle. When you can answer that question then you will have answered the more limited question about a semi-auto rifle with a large magazine. I recommend you start by studying the Federalist Papers.

  • Curtis December 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Where in the Second Amendment, or any of the other Bill of Rights, does it say citizens may only exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights if they can demonstrate they need them ?

  • Fred December 18, 2012 at 5:47 am

    So because of this tragedy they want to shred the constitution. Next if someone curses in public they want to get rid of the 1st amendment. The radical left that has taken over America wants to get rid of the constitution chip by chip.

    • George Stoddard December 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      No one wants to shred the constitution. When the 2nd amendment was adopted weapons were mostly single shot less than accurate long guns. Our Founders had no way of envisioning the firepower in the weapons available today. A conservative original intent constitutionalist has a bit of a conflict arguing that the founders intended that private citizens had an absolute right to own today’s military type weapons.

  • George Stoddard December 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I am stunned by the outrageousness of this essay and characterization of those, including many thoughtful conservatives and gun owners, who are asking themselves serious questions about gun safety and gun violence in this nation as a “lynch mob.” The writer is unaware of his own “knee jerk’ reaction to the emotional response of those who are grieving the loss of 20 innocent children and 6 heroic teachers. Those teachers showed great bravery, courage, and genuine love and concern for their students a bravery and courage that was expressed without weapons of death. They lived in the real world and many saved the lives of other precious children by their heroic response in the midst of terrifying chaos.
    I would respectfully suggest that those who live in such fear of losing what they perceive as inviolable second amendment rights should follow the example of the NRA that has the decency to remain silent in the face of the unimaginable slaughter of innocent children.

    • Lance Helsten December 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      We would be silent, but the call for gun restrictions started as soon as the news broke. So we have no choice but to answer, or is it only one side of a debate that is allowed to speak?

      • George Stoddard December 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        Labeling those that differ with you as a “lynch mob” i s not conducive to a debate. Charging those that disagree with you as just “knee jerk” reactionaries is not conducive to debate. That kind of rhetoric leads no where. We desperately need a debate in which each side is open to listening and responding to the concerns of the other.

        My fundamental question remains unanswered. Why does anyone need rapid fire semi automatic weapons with high capacity magazines that hold bullets primarily designed to destroy human flesh? In this case the murderer’s mother had an arsenal in her home that did not save her life. She was the first one murdered with her own weapons.

        • Bryan Hyde December 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

          Many police officers die looking down the barrel of their own weapons. Should we disarm them as well?

          • George Stoddard December 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

            I said nothing about disarming police?

    • Damie December 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      I tend to think of Bryan as … If you keep that in mind, he starts making a bit of sense sometimes.

      Ellipsis by editor.
      http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/about-us/terms-of-use-and-participation-agreement/

  • Brad December 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve heard in recent days that the assault rifle is the ‘Ferrari’ of guns, and the rationale to own either is not different. Meddling, though well-intentioned, bureaucracies should mind their own business, and let car and gun enthusiasts be free Americans and have their fun in peace. Setting aside the obvious restrictions placed on the use of fast cars on public roadways, I think the comparison can allow us to understand what is really fueling the gun debate: separating big boys (and girls) from some really fun toys. Since the tragic consequences of these killing machines in the wrong hands could hardly be defended on such flimsy, shallow grounds, the desire for ownership is couched in tired old cliches mentioned in this article and elsewhere, that don’t need to be listed here. However, recent events have more than amply demonstrated that the cost of easy access to assault rifles is too great for society to bear. It’s past time for gun enthusiasts do the decent thing and seek their thrills elsewhere.

    • Alvin December 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      ” It’s past time for gun enthusiasts do the decent thing and seek their thrills elsewhere. ”

      Wow! That statement alone is the most ignorant group or words I have every read anywhere. So all of us gun enthusiasts should turn in our weapons and find something else to turn us on? What mindless drivel. Although I respect your 1st Amendment right to speak your mind, other law abiding people like my self want to be left alone to enjoy our 1st “and” 2nd Amendment rights. (and all the other ones too) Remember, “IF” they take the 2nd Amendment from us, the 1st will be next in line. And don’t think for a second that this wouldn’t happen.

    • Robb Willie December 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Oh, you’re too smart for me, Brad, I give up. Come get my guns.

  • Mee December 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Its not thrills, its protection. Do you think the Jews were armed? Do you think what happened to them may have ended different if they were armed with assault rifles or other effective arms?

    • George Stoddard December 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      The murderer’s mother had more than enough weapons for self protection. She was the first to die at the hands of her son with her own weapons. Perhaps if she didn’t have those weapons in the home she would not have died.

      • FBM December 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

        she died because her son was screwed up in the head!! if her guns had been locked up, then her son wouldn’t have got his hands on her guns and gone on a shooting spree. she might have been the only victim. we’ll never know. if you have a kid who has mental problems, you don’t leave your guns laying around the house or take him to a gun range. you lock up your guns and get your kid the help he/she needs whether he/she wants it or not!! i have nieces and nephews who come over all the time. that’s why i have a safe and i keep my rifles locked up. none of them know the combination because i’m a responsible gun owner. it’s called using common sense.

      • DoubleTap December 19, 2012 at 11:14 am

        George, granted she was killed by her own firearm. Had she taken the initiative and responsibility to properly secure her firearms, she would not have died due to her firearms. Thats not to say she wouldn’t have been killed by other means such a knife or bludgened with a baseball bat. You cannot blame the firearm. The blame falls on both the son and the mother. The mother because she knew of her sons illness and did not properly secure her firearms.

        • Zeke December 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

          Do we know for sure that her firearms were “not” locked up? Maybe that’s why he killed her because he needed to get the key to the safe from her. The only way he could obtain these guns was to eliminate her. Unless you have other info I don’t think we know anything for sure yet.

        • George Stoddard December 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

          You can speculate about any number of scenarios but the reality is that she was murdered by her son with her own gun, You cannot rule out that it was the availability of the gun facilitated the crime.

  • Ron December 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    You hit the nail right on the head, George. The availability of guns facilitates these crimes. Reducing the availability won’t end all gun-related deaths, but it will definitely save some lives. It’s just common sense.

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