The View from Abroad

Hard hitting commentary from an American living overseas

Kenn Jacobine

Kenn Jacobine
June 03
Kenn Jacobine is an international educator currently teaching History and Economics for the American School of Doha, Qatar. He has also taught at international schools in Ecuador, Mali, and Zambia. His political transformation took place over the course of many years. Starting out naively as a big state liberal, he became a Reagan Republican in 1982. Disillusionment set in with the realization that small government rhetoric rarely translated into limited government actions. On Christmas day 1992, he became a libertarian. In 1994, Kenn ran for the State Senate in Pennsylvania on the Libertarian Party ticket garnering 5 percent of the vote. He has been active in freedom causes ever since.

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JANUARY 15, 2013 12:02PM

A Different Perspective on Guns

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As someone who has lived in four different countries and traveled to several others over the last eleven years, I can tell you that no people who I have encountered continually demand that their government institutions solve every problem imaginable like Americans do.  From the dangers of electric garage doors to the eradication of bed bugs, there seems to be nothing that Washington isn’t charged with fixing.

Then, there are those horrific incidents of violence perpetrated by a mentally unstable person that sends many Americans into a tizzy and raises their collective voices for Washington to do something urgently.  Cries of, “this can never happen again”, call out for new laws and measures to prevent future tragedies.

And so, we have the latest episode of hysterics over the tragedy that was the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings.

To be sure, whenever any young children lose their lives it is a tragedy.  Whether they are in the classrooms of America’s schools, in cars on America’s streets, or collateral damage from an American drone strike over Pakistan, the loss of the young and innocent hits each of us where we live.

But, in the case of the reaction to the latest tragedy, the last thing Washington should do is pass any new gun control legislation including legislation banning so-called “assault rifles”

A little perspective is needed to understand why.  Less than 400 people a year are killed with rifles of all kinds.  According to
FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, hammers and clubs killed more people than rifles in America.  Logically then, shouldn’t hammers and clubs be banned before rifles?  At the very least, shouldn’t a license be required to own one?  Furthermore, why would anyone but construction contractors need to own sledge hammers? Are they not the hammer equivalent to an assault rifle?  Could you imagine going to Lowes to purchase a hammer and having to undergo a background check and a seven day waiting period?  Yet, this is the conversation our leaders are having about rifles, which again, kill fewer people than hammers and clubs each year.

But there is more.  America has not experienced a direct danger from a foreign adversary since the War of 1812 (One could argue that Pearl Harbor was about the Japanese only wanting to cripple our Pacific fleet to allow Her free rein over the islands of the Pacific Ocean).  Yet we have sent millions of young people into harm’s way to “defend” our freedom and have lost hundreds of thousands doing so.  Were the lives of those young people less worthy than the youth lost at Sandy Hook? - Of course not.  But, our leaders tell us that freedom has costs and the hundreds of thousands of young men and women that gave their lives “defending” our freedom is a large part of that cost.

So, I submit to you that those twenty children who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary are also a part of the cost of defending freedom.  At the end of the day, individuals have a natural right to self-defense.  They have a right to defend themselves against criminals, foreign invaders, and their own government if it becomes tyrannical enough.  Why should law-abiding citizens be asked to unilaterally disarm because a deranged individual used a gun to murder children? It is nonsensical.

Besides, we have tried prohibition before, first with booze in the 1920s and currently with drugs.  It did not prevent people from getting a drink or a joint.  Why would we think it would be different with guns?

Lastly, children die in car accidents, drown in bathtubs, and are poisoned by ingesting prescription drugs all the time.  Does this warrant the banning of these items?  Of course not, because they are vitally important to modern life just like the means to protect oneself is.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

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sandy hook, gun control

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Kenn, I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to say. Drone strikes are awful, and should be stopped. But the whole hammer meme is ridiculous. You can find multiple articles that discount this entire theory.

To say the children lost at Sandy Hook are a part of defending freedom doesn't make sense to me.

A mentally ill person murdered a bunch of innocent children.
As usual, some solid wisdom here, apparently missed by at least one.

Unfortunately, your understanding of what this constant call for more government obtains far surpasses what our hysterical President, Vice President, or Senators, such as Diane Feinstein, can comprehend. It would be much better that you were in D.C. and they were relegated as private citizens back to Illinois, Maryland, and California, respectively.

In the end, the most effective defense against mass shootings does not lie with government at any level. Of course, this implies that a level of personal (not governmental) responsibility must be assumed by those who suspect others of such actions. All government legislation in this area, at this point, is probably best summarized by the answer to the question, “How much money do we want to spend, or how much regulation do we want to impose, to make no discernable difference in the number killed by firearms?”

Gary, What difference does it make if rifles can kill more people at once? Overall, hammers still kill larger numbers of people. The MSM just doesn't sensationalize those killings.
Winston Churchill said it best when he stated that the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history. Recall that Hitler took all the guns away as did Stalin. But if this is said in the wrong crowd, everyone throws their arms up and shreaks, "That was different!" Uh huh.
Great piece Kenn. Too bad the point may be lost on those who refuse to learn from history.