The news reports this morning are filled with the story of a gunman who walked into a Southern California nightclub and started killing people. Eleven are dead including the gunman who as of this writing remains unidentified. The sad event took place in Thousand Oaks, considered one of the safest communities in the country.
I predict that the reactions will be predictable with people merrily riding their hobbies. Some will claim that tougher gun controls would prevent recurrences of such events. Second Amendment advocates will chime in with claims that if the people in the club had been armed only the gunman would have been killed.
According to the reports the gunman was armed with a single handgun. Even if we were to repeal the Second Amendment and confiscate the hundreds of millions of handguns and long guns presently in Americans’ possession, it would not eliminate the possibility of one crazy person obtaining a firearms and killing people.
One of those killed was a sheriff’s deputy. Was he armed? I suspect he was. Were others in the club armed as well? If every single person in the club had been armed, I suspect that the death toll would have been higher as frightened people, not sure where the shots were coming from, killed each other in the crossfire.
There is a connecting thread between this, other similar events, and many, many other developments in modern life. Personal empowerment is dangerous. It’s dangerous when a single motivate individual, crazy or just angry, can kill a dozen people. It’s dangerous when people can move about, freely and unhindered, without being searched or even remarked on. It’s dangerous when people can publish whatever they care to, unrestrained and unmonitored by media or government watchdogs.
It will take a lot more to end events like this than disarming the law-abiding citizenry or arming everybody. It would take orders of magnitude more police officers, curfews, and surveillance checkpoints. We’d need a police state.
In a country of 330 million people there are bound to be many, many crazy, angry, or otherwise motivated people. We need to recognize that and decide how much liberty we’re willing to relinquish for imagined safety.