Consider the alternatives

Gun control seems to be fairly effective in China. One cannot trust communist statistics, but it appears the murder rate can be sustained with fists, feet, clubs, and knives. That would not exhaust the alternatives, for the reader in an encyclopaedic mood, but I would like to focus particularly on long knives, which are the weapon of choice among Muslim “separatists” (i.e. terrorists) in the People’s Republic. This morning I am reminded by the BBC of the small gang in the usual black costumage, who killed and maimed about 160 at a railway station in Kunming. (Who then got no sob demonstration at Toronto City Hall.) It was hardly the first such account I had read, and I have noticed that these attacks are not confined to the Sinkiang region, which has ethnic affiliations with Islamic Central Asia. (Kunming is itself in Yunnan.) This is something to bear in mind when weighing the risks of train against air travel, for tourists in those parts.

Personally, I’d rather be shot by an expert, or even by an amateur with a high-powered gun, but the public are seldom consulted on these matters. I am such a wimp, in my desire to omit the pain component from almost any bad experience; and I suspect many share this aversion, too. On the other hand, it should be acknowledged that the slower the death, the better for a Catholic Christian, who has the more time to repent of what may be a formidable accumulation of sin, since his last participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and has a better opportunity to receive Last Rites. To say nothing of how pain can help inspire a good confession.

Among survivors, now from another point of view, gun wounds are often preferable to the alternatives. The flak from suicide vests and car bombs is especially worth avoiding, from a purely cosmetic angle. (Only the bomber himself is assured of a quick, corpse-deleting death.) In this respect, travel arrangements will often prove irrelevant; for as a friend put it, “You needn’t go to the Middle East because, thanks to open immigration, the Middle East comes to you.”

Hard cases make bad law, but they also contribute to poorly-informed public opinion. Should a poll be conducted, on how people would prefer to be murdered or maimed, the respondents will need time to think it through. They will also need better information than the mass media are likely to supply, given their fanatic obsession with guns. And again, as I often point out, our education system fails us. Children are not taught prudential reasoning, which would assist them in grasping that while one course may be bad, others may be demonstrably worse.

On guns, it is a little known fact that even in the Natted States Merica, where they seem rather more easily available than elsewhere, they do not account for the majority of murders. Convenient as guns may be for this purpose, if you are a Merican (according to the latest FBI statistics) you are six times more likely to be murdered with a knife; and with a rifle, only one chance in fifty. That the murder rate itself is higher than in some other countries, I will happily concede. What can we say? Mericans just like to kill each other. Banning guns won’t help. (It might be good news for the reindeer, however.)

I further note that after the Congressional “assault weapon ban” of 1994 lapsed in 2004, Mericans went out and bought an awful lot of rifles. And under the Obama, it has become an extended shopping spree. Were I a factotum in the NRA, I would recommend a special life achievement award for this President, who is perhaps the greatest promoter of gun sales to private citizens in the history of the world. Every time he fulminates on this issue, people rush out to buy more.

This is good for the economy, of course, but what has it done for the murder rate? This actually went down, after 2004, and the portion attributable to rifles declined within that decline. (Check this out yourself if you do not believe me; you might want to start here.)

A semi-automatic (and what guns aren’t, these days?) may be especially convenient for the solo criminal bent on multiple killings, and that is the sort of thing that often makes the news. But as we discover from a review of mass murders in China, even the single psycho with a long knife can run up an impressive score, if he has any proficiency. And as for suicide vests, bombs and grenadoes, well, have you heard? That they are still unavailable at Walmart?

None of this can make any difference to our contemporary liberals and progressives, because they are eye-patched and ear-plugged against any argument that confutes their simpleton slogans. Sometimes I just want to shoot them; but I don’t, because I would be loath to do anything that might improve their case.