Sunday, February 24, 2013

Personalized Costs

So I remember some discussion a while back where someone was accusing someone else of wanting to privatize gains while socializing risks. I’m pretty sure it was about banks, but it holds for what I was thinking about recently.

A lot of the discussion lately has been of gun violence, and how to stop it. Chicago is often held up as a good example of how very restrictive gun laws don’t have their intended effect. Of course progressive control minded types like to say that the guns are coming in from out of state, which I suppose they must be, but I have to wonder: since it’s so much easier to buy guns in other states, why isn’t the murder rate high there? Why isn’t the gun homicide rate universally high? Why is it only in the large metro areas? Gangs? Drugs? Gangsta Rap? Welfare mentality? Single moms? Absent dads? Chem trails? Who knows, but here we are. We don’t know why it happens, but the statistical proof is almost beyond denying that the more you restrict lawful gun ownership (which is the only gun ownership that you CAN restrict) the more helpless common citizens are. Criminals may be dumb, but on the whole, they know how and when to exploit an advantage.

The framers of the Constitution, which is the blueprint for our government, the authors of our very way of life, were distrustful governmental power, some of them so much so that that they insisted on the inclusion of the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights) so as to make it very clear what the rights of citizens were and what the government could not take away unless the citizenry got together and OFFICIALLY took a right away from themselves. The 18th amendment is a perfect example of this procedure. 1) Stern, bossy woman gets people all riled up. 2) Convinces them that they themselves are not to be trusted. 3) Convinces them to amend the Constitution and deny themselves the right to self determination. 4) People sober up and realize they made a terrible mistake. 5) They again amend the Constitution reinstating the very right that they had taken from themselves previously. It’s not hard to do. But it’s like the Hokey Pokey….. there are rules. There’s a procedure. You just can’t start shaking your right hand all about. There’s an order of operations that has to be followed.

So what do we do about gun violence? There ARE laws but certain types of people (criminals mainly) don’t seem to be obeying them. So let’s use speeding in an automobile as an example. What works there? Let’s say there’s a stretch of road and the speed limit on that road is…… oh, say 70 mph. But a certain percentage of the people don’t want to drive 70, they want to drive 80. Does it make sense to change the speed limit to 60 mph? The same bunch of people are still going to want to drive 80, so the only people really effected are the law abiders. Okay change the speed limit to 50 miles per hour. But the 80 club is still going to be prone to drive 80 and the rest of the people have now become law breakers because they don’t want to and won’t drive 50.

So the question is: why don’t we simply enforce the laws we already have on the books? Or apply harsher penalties? Increase the fines for speeding to the point where the 80s club just can’t justify the risk or the cost of the fines any longer?

It’s the same with guns. By not adequately enforcing, or punishing violation of current gun laws, the government, through the courts is subsidizing gun violence, and in so doing is socializing the costs of that criminal behavior when what it should be doing is PERSONALIZING the costs. Instead of illegally restricting rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment it should be strengthening and enforcing gun laws to the point where criminals would know, and FEEL the true cost of their criminality. “Use a gun to commit a crime, go to jail for a long time”. “Do it again and you’ll live to wish you hadn’t”. And of course then you have to make prison a place to be avoided with some earnestness. Difficult, but doable.

And of course you can’t stop crazy. About the first time someone drives through a fence wreaks havoc on a crowded playground there’ll be an attempt to outlaw four wheel drive trucks because no responsible driver really needs one.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

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