In keeping with this afternoon's post, I was thinking about gun control. And now that I'm safely ensconced in the liberal field, I can take up my position and actually support it. Because basically, yes, there is a possibility that had students at Virginia Tech had weapons, the killings wouldn't have been as bad. But, there's a fundamental problem with this approach, and by fundamental I mean a problem with the very basic philosophy behind the "we need guns to protect ourselves" idea. And for me, that fundamental problem is the difference that exists between the liberals and the conservatives, especially with regard to Homeland Security.
Namely - the fundamental belief of the military approach is to find the enemy and hit him with overwhelming force. And preferably, through proper intelligence and planning, before the enemy even has a chance to respond or even begin putting into motion his own plans. Its called an OODA loop (although it was originally an ODA loop, but some brain child in the Pentagon decided that it needed an extra letter. I'll go into my thoughts on this in a different post).
Now - the fundamental belief of law enforcement (as I see it, I don't have the experience with police officers as I do with soldiers) is to meet an "enemy" with the minumum necessary force to subdue him, and (some would say unfortunately) to wait until the criminal has actually committed a crime before arresting him. Yes, we want to prevent him from performing more crimes, but you have to actually do something wrong to get arrested.
Well, or so we thought before the Patriot Act. And this is one of my issues with the government at the moment - they have shifted the basis of law enforcement from reactive to proactive. Some would say that this is the only way to prevent the next terrorist attack. Maybe it is, but at what cost?
Again, though, not the point of this post. As my students know, I tend to ramble. My point was gun control. So, in the context of my conversation with Jeff, we were talking about Columbine, and I started looking that up, plus the Whitman murders in Texas. Now, during the Whitman event they say that all the armed folks in the streets shooting back at Whitman probably saved lives by keeping his sight lines restricted. Sure, I'll buy it. And I'll buy that if someone in the school at Columbine had had a gun, maybe he could have done something about Klebold and Harris. But this is a military response, not a law enforcement one. The police also could have swept the school, cleared rooms, and "taken out" the two boys, but only so long as they were in military mode and not law enforcement mode - where the objective is to kill. But that's not the point of the police! They are not judge, jury, and executioner.
Now - to the gun control opinion. People who want guns have the military mentality and not the law enforcement one. Talk to any of them, and you will get the answer of "I want a gun to protect myself. If someone comes at me with a gun, I'll shoot him." Or something equivalent. They are not concerned with appropriate response, they are concerned with overwhelming force. Now, I know the Second Amendment is thoroughly unclear on the whole "militia" idea, but if the postulate is "guns make us safe" doesn't safe imply civil order, which implies police?