On San Bernardino

Perhaps the most useful public policy, in light of the latest “homegrown” Muslim terror hit, in San Bernardino or wherever, would be to offer free police firearms training to a large civilian constabulary. Not to everyone, of course. That would be too expensive, and besides, there should be background checks to make sure members of this constabulary were not insane, delusional, Democrats, or whatever. Too, there should be some minimum age: seven strikes me as about right. (It is roughly the “age of reason” for the reception of Communion in Catholic teaching, as I understand.) Of course, parental guidance should also come into play.

Gun range training helps to mature people, too; though this is just a bonus.

The alternatives are all worse: we must continue expanding “Homeland Security” or its cumbersome likes in other national jurisdictions. This is both expensive and inconvenient. Police, ambulances, the National Guard, are all very well, but it takes some minutes for any to arrive on a scene where seconds are important. Whether or not the killers are Muslim, we need assurance that they will be cut down within a handshake of initiating their rampages. (Dead within two seconds is the Israeli ideal.) The psycho, in turn, needs to be assured that if he has more than, say, one target, there is a strong statistical likelihood that at least one of them is not only armed, but trained to extinguish him without delay. This way the police may concentrate their efforts on profiling the more sophisticated bombers.

Perhaps I should explain, especially to non-American readers, that the idea of an armed citizenry did not originate in 1776. The right to defend oneself is twinned with the right to life itself. The Catholic Christian culture has been aware of this all along, as were the Hebrews before us (to say nothing of the cavemen). “Police” were the bureaucratic invention of the eighteenth century; self-defence begins with the self to be defended. The police, as security guards, firemen, ambulance crews, soldiers and sailors of land, air, and seas, are simply people we hire to serve the same purpose and let us sleep sometimes. But so far as we are adults, we do not need nannies. Nannies are for kids.

Swords were effective in the old days; handguns are more practical today. Cross-bows and sling-shots are awkward for use in tight indoor spaces. My argument for “concealed carry” is to improve the odds against the criminal. Let him not be entirely sure who is carrying, and who is not. Let others, contemplating anti-social behaviour, reflect on the same.

We need also to restore a pro-active approach towards the psychotic and other “mentally ill” — which sympathizes with their afflictions, but keeps them under close surveillance. The alternative — close surveillance of everyone — is not only too costly, but a demonstrable moral evil.

Apart from this, my recommendation would be, “as you were.” We need to restore a society in which we can, indeed, go about our business without spot checks, or other intrusive security arrangements. I may be generally opposed to the use of aeroplanes, as a means of public transport, but airport search queues are a ridiculous way to discourage their use.

We need further to restore a society in which the odd massacre, that happens anyway, is taken in stride. “Bad things happen,” as they say, and it is foolish to get so emotional about them.

“Let me be clear,” as the USA’s delusional president likes to say, as prologue to his many public hallucinations. You can’t ban guns, or even register them, without a means of enforcement; and no such means will be found that is not implicitly totalitarian.

Moreover, his vapouring on the topic is logically incomplete. Shouldn’t he also demand the registration of pipe bombs and IEDs?