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The Cure for Widespread Murder in American Society

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Not surprisingly, yesterday’s shootings in Virginia have brought out the gun-control crowd. Thus, the publication of FFF’s new ebook Freedom and Security: The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms by Scott McPherson could not be more timely.

The implicit assumption of the gun-grabbing segment of American society is that widespread gun ownership equals widespread murders with guns. By making guns illegal, the argument goes, people will comply with the law and so nobody will be murdered anymore with guns.

But the argument is fallacious.

Most people will comply with the law because they won’t want to take the risk of a felony conviction and a long term in jail. They are the regular, peaceful, law-abiding people who view guns as a way to defend themselves from murderers, rapists, robbers, and the like.

But the assumption is invalid when it comes to murderers, rapists, and robbers. Since they don’t give a hoot about murder, rape, and robbery laws, they also don’t give a hoot about some gun-control law.

So, gun control disarms the good person and makes it easier for the bad person. In fact, this might come as a surprise but bad people would prefer to target disarmed good people rather than armed good people. That’s why bad guys target people in gun-free zones, such as public schools and churches, and why they don’t target people at gun shows. It’s not a coincidence that Washington, D.C., which has long had strict gun control, is the murder capital of the world.

Others in the gun-control crowd honestly think that they can enact a strict gun-control law that will eradicate guns from American society. You know, just like the war on drugs has eliminated drugs from American society. If you love the violence that the drug war has brought the world, you’ll absolutely love a war on guns. The fact is that given the millions of guns in American society, making gun possession illegal will immediately give rise to a black market in guns, along with illegal gun dealers, gun gangs, and gun cartels. Once again, the bad people will be able to get their hands on illegal guns. The good people won’t take the risk of a felony conviction.

If widespread gun ownership is the cause of widespread murder and violence, then why isn’t there widespread murder and violence in Switzerland? It is Number 3 in terms of private ownership of guns.

I’m going to give you my theory as to why there are so many murders and mass murders in the United States. Mind you, it’s only a theory. I can’t prove it. But I am convinced that it’s the explanation for the massive violence in American society in our time.

My belief is that it’s the national-security state apparatus that has been attached to our federal governmental system that is the root cause of the widespread violence in America. After all, killing, bombing, shooting, assassination, torture, invasions, wars of aggression, and support of brutal foreign dictatorships have become a permanent and systematized part of America’s governmental system. State-sponsored death and destruction have become part and parcel of America’s culture and tradition, thanks primarily to the Pentagon and the CIA.

For decades, the national-security state has been invading and occupying countries or intervening in foreign conflicts, killing and maiming countless people in the process. How many people has America’s death star killed in Afghanistan? Nobody really knows because no one kept count. It didn’t matter. Even after the Taliban government was ousted from power and replaced with a U.S-installed regime, the killing continued on a regular basis.

The same with Iraq, a country that never attacked the United States or threatened to do so. Even when those bogus WMDs weren’t found in Iraq, the killing continued for about a decade. It was all justified in the name of protecting our “lives and freedoms,” a ludicrous notion if there ever was one.

The national-security state’s death and destruction didn’t start with 9/11. They were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children before that with their brutal sanctions that were intended to bring about regime change in Iraq. Before that, there was the Vietnam War and the massive bombing campaigns on North Vietnam and Operation Phoenix. There was the Korean War and the massive carpet bombing of North Korea.

There was the U.S. intervention in Chile that brought military strongman Augusto Pinochet to power. He’s the man who unleashed a reign of terror that involved state-sponsored murder, rape, and torture of tens of thousands of innocent people, with the full support of the U.S. national-security establishment.

The coup in Guatemala, along with the CIA’s list of assassination targets. The coup in Iran and the installation of the brutal dictator, the Shah of Iran, into power, along with the training of his tyrannical and terrifying Savak internal police force.

And much more, including the repeated assassination attempts on the president of Cuba, a country that never attacked the United States or threatened to do so.

Today, the death and destruction continues with a formalized program of assassination. People are being assassinated on a regular basis and it’s all just ho-hum. Who are the victims? Who knows and who cares? That’s not our responsibility. That’s the responsibility of our national-security state officials.

The idea has always been that Americans would be immune from the effects of all this death and destruction because it was happening over there rather than over here. The mainstream press has played its role by declining to publish photographs of the dead, including all the women, children, and old people who were killed in the bombings of several wedding parties in Afghanistan. The churches, while inveighing against abortion, beseech their congregations to continue praying for the troops who are over there killing people to protect our “rights and freedoms” here at home.

But Americans have not been immune from all this death and mayhem. The mindset of indifference to the sanctity of human life over there has seeped into the minds of the American people, including the whackos that are found in every society.

When I was a kid, I remember a whacko in my hometown. He’d walk around downtown and everyone knew he was a whacko by his behavior. But he was never incarcerated because he never did anyone any harm.

But as we all know, the whackos have come out in full force in the last several decades, wreaking death, destruction, and suffering on large numbers of innocent people. Their mindset of indifference to the sanctity of American life is no different than the mindset of indifference that the national-security state has toward the lives of people in the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere.

Of course, U.S. officials would argue that the lives of Americans are much more valuable than the lives of the foreigners they’re bombing, shooting, torturing, or assassinating over there. Foreigners are simply not exceptional, like Americans are, they would say. But hey, we’re dealing with whackos here. Their mindsets are not able to make those types of fine distinctions on which lives are more sacred than others.

Notice something important about Switzerland to buttress my theory: In Switzerland there is widespread gun ownership, no widespread murders, and no national-security establishment that is invading and occupying other countries and wreaking death, mayhem, and destruction across the globe.

Gun control is not the solution to this societal illness. That will only exacerbate the violence. To rid American society of widespread violence, Americans need to eradicate, not reform, the Cold War-era totalitarian apparatus known as the national-security state that has attached itself to our governmental structure like a cancerous tumor.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.