The news this week of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 12 people left me with a few different emotions and thoughts. On one hand I felt a sense of loss for the families and victims who appear to have been murdered over what was essentially a joke. On the other, I was silently thankful this attack was far away from anyone I know or care about personally and that absent my shared grief for other innocent humans, I had not been affected in any real sense.

The current working rationale given for this tragedy appears to be terrorism, but in my mind it wouldn’t matter if this was a bizarre love triangle that went south or a mentally defective Kim Kardashian fan who was upset over a social media post denigrating the object of his obsession. The facts are that someone took lives and to get caught up on the reasoning is a waste of time. There is evil in this world and evil will do evil things when it can.

Whatever the reason; anytime there is a shooting of innocent people, as long as that shooting is not gang or crime related, (or in Chicago apparently) it makes news. Because this is an apparent terrorist attack, it deserves a different kind of attention but at the same time will undoubtedly be used by some as another opportunity to say that guns are bad and should be taken away from law-abiding citizens. Mass shooting events, more so than any other statistics seems to drive this conversation and I suppose the total loss of life at one time is viewed as more tragic and who could really argue with that?

The arguments for and against guns are legion especially in our country and I don’t see them ending anytime soon, but for me at least; getting caught up in statistics is a foolish way to settle this debate. I am not anti-science or anything, but statistics can be and are frequently total crap. It is how one person is viewing, interpreting and massaging the numbers. Mark Twain said it best, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” You can take statistics that are pro-gun that show that violent crime rates have been dropping and some attribute this to more personal ownership of firearms.

You can’t make laws that criminals will obey.

According to the FBI:

In 2013, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,196. This was a 4.4 percent decrease from the 2012 estimate, a 7.8 percent decrease from the 2009 figure, and a 12.1 percent drop from the number in 2004

On the flip side you can get statistics from anti-gun people that say violent crime is increasing now for the first time since 2006. Which statistic is right? The one you want to believe is always going to be the right statistic. But to use these particular statistics you have to willfully ignore other statistics like:

Leading Causes of Non-Violent Death

  • Heart disease: 596,577
  • Cancer: 576,691
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974
  • Diabetes: 73,831
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

But even looking back at non-health related deaths:

  • Unintentional Poisoning: 36,332
  • Motor Vehicle: 34,935
  • Unintentional Falls: 28,753

Looking at these statistics makes me think that we should really be focusing on so many other things if you are really concerned with saving lives. In my opinion, quoting statistics misses the entire point of the larger gun argument though and for me it doesn’t come down primarily to the Second Amendment although I fully support and believe in that right. No, for me it is a matter of what I believe to be simple common sense. If a bad guy has a gun and is trying to shoot me, I want to have the opportunity to defend myself with the same ability. I don’t care if crime is going down or going up. I still reserve the right to defend my life and yes by the way, the Constitution was written to affirm that right.

Guns only belong in the hands of trained soldiers or law enforcement

But you can’t argue with the idea that guns only belong in the hands of highly qualified and trained individuals like police and soldiers can you? A normal civilian has no need to own firearms and keep them in their home. Why, they could go crazy and kill someone!

People do go crazy all the time and others don’t go crazy at all but commit atrocities just the same. Why are police and soldiers perceived as more entitled to defending their own lives or the lives of others? What about ex-police or veterans? Are they OK to carry firearms since they have had the training? What about civilians that have had extensive firearms training?

Just because you have a job that requires you to carry a firearm that does not make you any more special or more qualified than anyone else. Police officers have committed crimes and yes, even shot people illegally. Veterans and even active duty soldiers have done the same in some instances, but so have Judges, Doctors, and Professors. Your job doesn’t guarantee you are a better or more stable person.

If we take guns away from everyone, the world will be a safer place

The thing about this argument that kills me is that criminals have always gotten their hands on guns but we assume that simply having a gun legally will make you engage in criminal behavior. Why do people believe that if we make everyone simply turn their guns in that the criminals will listen and obey? We already have laws on the books that criminals break every single day and yet you expect that because we make another law, they will finally listen?

The only people who would turn their guns in are the people who actually obey the law. These are the very people who need protection from the ones who do not obey the law.

I hope you shoot yourself with your gun!

I actually had someone say this to me in the comments and for the life of me I can’t understand it. If you don’t believe in gun violence, why are you wishing for my death? I have never heard a pro-gun person say to anyone that wants to take guns away, “I hope you die”! Of course that is possible I guess, but completely irrational.

I don’t want anyone to die. I only want the same ability to defend my life as anyone else has. I don’t want any more limits or rules on what I can do unless I break the law. If I break the law, then I should be tried and if found guilty, face the consequences. It’s called Due Process. If I haven’t broken any laws, why are you restricting my rights but more importantly, why are you hoping a perfectly law abiding citizen dies?

You can’t make evil people stop being evil

Finally, I guess my overarching point is that there will always be evil in the world. There will be people who believe they are righteously killing in the name of their religion. There will be people who are crazy, there will be gangs, there will be drug addicts, and there will be rapists and pedophiles, serial killers and burglars. Let’s deal with all of them first and maybe we can talk about guns then. If you can’t get rid of evil, I don’t want you getting rid of my right to defend myself from it.