Today I wrote an article for PolicyMic on the topic of shooting rampages in schools verses stabbing rampages. It was met with highly divisive opinions from both sides, hailed as an attempt at satire or something blatantly obvious. Yes, my matter-of-fact outline of why knives do not stack up against a gun in terms of an effective weapon is pseudo-Colbert, but my intent with writing the article was well intended. This is not an apology, nor is it back pedaling. It is just an explanation of my perspective as I see the world. Please read the article on PolicyMic and check out some of the comments, so that the context of my response below can be properly framed.
Well obviously knives are not as deadly as guns. This is not supposed to be some major revelation. A gun is not just like any other weapon - firearms are something extraordinary. The Founding Fathers recognized this, hell, they gave firearms its own amendment - right after speech, religion, and press.
So when the media makes comparisons in terms of mass rampages, sure common features can be analyzed. But to jump and say rampages with knives are just as bad as rampages with a firearm; and therefore common sense measures in regards to gun control, like keeping guns away from the mentally unstable and to require universal background checks, are useless because knife attacks would still happen in lieu of mass shootings, well that is just BS. And this is a common claim from firearms advocates and detractors of gun control.
I have made numerous posts regarding gun control - on Facebook and here on my blog. I have done my research. But I've never really given insight as to my true feelings in regards to the issue of gun control. There's ignorance on both the right and the left, liberals and conservatives alike. I don't think that average Joe Public with no prior experience with firearms should be able to buy a Mk 48 LMG with no questions asked, just by virtue of being American. On the same note, a high capacity magazine is not a one time use item, nor is an "under-barrel rocket launcher" a real thing. I've consistently applied disclaimers to my gun control related posts, but they go ignored - perhaps in favor of vitriolic rhetoric, or a simple reaction from the headline.
It is safe to say that so far my ventures into the gun control debate are experimental and sociological in scope. I have approached it from a precarious perspective, but not from the position of policy prescription. Ultimately would I like the world and America to be a place where no one has the need to use a firearm against a fellow human being? Yes. Is that anywhere near the reality that we live in? No. Do statistics show that the proliferation of gun ownership contribute to a drop in violent crime? Yes. But do I think that the NRA pressures and holds hostage those in public office who want to try and implement positive reforms? Absolutely.
Simply claiming to enforce the laws on the books rings a bit hollow, because the apparatuses to enforce such laws are either ineffective or simply lack a confirmed director. (Yes, I am looking at you ATF). Access to mental health resources needs to be expanded. The underpinning issues of why people feel compelled to commit armed robbery or harm another human being have to be addressed as a matter of public health. Yes, this does mean the war on drugs does need to be reexamined with intense scrutiny. But to then say these types of reforms and new approaches should not also be applied or investigated when it comes to the issue of gun control is disingenuous. It is true that monocausal answers always fall because they fail to incorporate numerous important factors and variables. Likewise, excluding a major part of the issue also dooms progress when it comes to reducing gun violence and the proliferation of firearms into the arms of criminals. What we are doing now is not working. Something has to be done.