Question : If you were an American libertarian blogger who had spent almost every waking moment over the last decade advancing the fantastical notion that a gun free-for-all has made your country safer, how do you think you would react to this latest horrific gun massacre in Connecticut? Would you a) take a step back and quietly reflect on whether you might, after all, have been missing something, or b) boast about how right you've been all along, and then make a blood-curdling threat about what you and like-minded folk will do if anyone tries to take your guns away?
Long-term readers of this blog who can remember Mr Kevin Baker will probably be able to guess the answer. Here are his latest constructive musings on his favourite topic -
"Newtown, Connecticut is not Dunblane, Scotland"
This is true. There are two key differences between Newtown and Dunblane -
1) Only 18 people died in Dunblane. 27 died in Newtown.
2) Lessons were actually learned after Dunblane. When even President Obama is so cowed by the gun lobby that he authorises his press secretary to make the extraordinary observation that "today is not the day to have a debate about gun control" (when is, for pity's sake?) it seems highly probable that the equivalent lessons will not be learned as a result of Newtown, and consequently these entirely avoidable tragedies will continue to happen - perhaps with increasing frequency, as gun control laws are perversely loosened in some parts of the US.
"Yes, 27 people and one creature are dead, eighteen of those dead people are small children - first-graders. Yes, it's horrible, senseless, inexplicable.
And no, the guns were not at fault."
No, the guns were not at fault. They were all too effective. Just how 'inexplicable' is it that a man with a gun was able to kill far more people in a short space of time than he ever would have managed with his bare hands, or with the proverbial cricket bat?
"Let me just say again for the record:
I won't license.
I won't register.
I won't turn them in.
If you want to make me and several million other law-abiding, tax-paying citizens into felons, beware what you wish for. You may get it."
That does sound disturbingly like code for: "If we don't get our own way, we'll create a bloodbath, and then blame it on everybody but ourselves". True enough, the guns won't be entirely to blame for that either - the other key factors will be the sense of victimhood on the part of the perpetrators, and their failure to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Those are the typical hallmarks of most 'senseless, inexplicable' massacres.
It should be remembered that the process of turning a "law-abiding citizen" into a felon is a remarkably simple one - it consists of that citizen making a conscious decision to no longer obey the law.