OPINION: A view on gun control

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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Twenty-three days have passed since the Parkland shooting, 171 since Las Vegas and 1,921 since Sandy Hook. We still grieve for these evil acts and seek how best to prevent another from occurring. Our friends, the editors of The Oakland Post, wrote a thoughtful open letter on this subject two weeks ago to the students of Oakland University. Though I’m glad they graciously acknowledged the significance of the Second Amendment, I believe they have an incomplete view of the gun violence facing us.

Increasing regulations on guns is inappropriate and ineffective because guns aren’t the true problem. Every day, according to the National Fire Protection Association, nine people die in house fires. The majority of these people die from smoke inhalation rather than the actual fire. Smoke is the secondary issue, the main problem is the fire. Guns are the smoke, but the root cause is human nature.

Using another illustration, expecting stricter laws on guns to reduce violence is similar to hoping that reducing the number of tines on your fork will help you lose weight. Utensils don’t cause us to be obese, we have ourselves to blame for that. Guns aren’t the root problem. Flawed human nature is.

Many in media acknowledge this flawed human condition, but only in part. Mental illness is often a ready scapegoat for atrocities such as the one in Parkland. Although mental health is an important issue, the majority of gun violence in the United States is perpetrated by “normal” people according to experts from the American Psychiatric Association.

Our main problem is with “normal” people’s inherently flawed nature.

This basic fact of human nature, rather than deterring us from weapons, ought to solidify their importance in our minds. Regardless of the number of laws one enacts, there will always be certain human beings who break those laws to harm others. Logic dictates that we take prudent measures to protect ourselves from lawbreakers — that’s why we put locks on our houses and passwords on our phones. Likewise, the purpose of the Second Amendment as outlined by Justice Scalia in District of Columbia vs. Heller is to ensure we may protect ourselves from those who would do us ill. History is replete with accounts testifying for the need and effectiveness of such protection.

Every spring, Jewish people everywhere celebrate Purim, remembering a great victory won in self-defense. About three years after the famed 300’s stand at Thermopylae, the Persian Emperor Xerxes I enacted a law legalizing the slaughter of all the nation’s Jewish people on the 13th day of the month of Adar. After a change of heart from the influence of his queen Hadassah (better known as Esther), Xerxes signed an edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies. When the day came, they overpowered their enemies because the government protected their rights to defend themselves.

I’m an advocate for gun rights not because I’m a serial-killer sycophant but because I because I want to protect myself and those around me. If humans were perfect, the approach of my friends at The Post would be correct – gun regulations would be a panacea – but then, we wouldn’t have laws in a perfect world. In this imperfect world of ours, I think we’d do well to heed the wisdom of our 26th President: Speak softly and carry a big stick.