On Gun Rights

Intrigued by what he has learned, young Kwai Chang is eager to explore this new understanding of ‘rights’. So once again, Master Po and young Kwai Chang begin to talk, as they continue the journey they started in our last episode….

KC: Master Po, I think we should ban guns.

PO: [stifling the urge to turn and raise his staff] Hmm… Tell me more, please.

KC: Well, I just feel like there is so much evil that comes from having guns, and if we get rid of them there will be less violence in the world.

PO: And how will that happen?

KC: Why, people won’t have guns to use to hurt other people with, of course!

PO: Ah, I see. And do you think that violence among people only started when guns were developed? Do you think that murders didn’t happen before guns were invented?

KC: Well, no… [thinking furiously, he scowls as he walks on]… but… but… guns make it easier to commit violence!

PO: Do they not also make it easier to defend against violence? Otherwise why would police be armed with guns?

KC: Well, because the people they arrest often have them, and a nightstick against a gun is hardly a good idea.

PO: Exactly. And how would you propose to convince the criminals that they should not have guns?

KC: [speaking excitedly after a brief pause] We could make it illegal to have guns!!!!

PO: But Grasshopper, is it not already illegal to commit crimes, with or without guns? Criminals are criminals because they have no respect for law. Will they not ignore your ban on guns, the way they ignore your laws against criminal behavior?

KC: Well, I suppose so.

PO: And when a man —

KC: [interrupting quickly, absurdly proud of his politically correct interjection] OR a woman!

PO: [sighing patiently] — or a woman — has no gun but still has evil intent, will that individual refrain from picking up a knife or a club simply because no gun is available at the moment? Should we then ban knives and clubs?

KC: Oh, I remember reading in the news that England did exactly that — they banned knives because when guns were made illegal, criminals began to use knives to assault citizens.

PO: And what was the result of that, Grasshopper?

KC: Oh…. uh… yeah, I remember that too! London became the murder capitol of the world with more knife-related deaths per capita than New York City had gun-related deaths. Hmmm….

PO: Precisely. Do the mothers of sons killed by knives grieve less painfully than those killed by bullets?

KC: No, Master Po. I think they do not. But… but… surely we should make it so that only the police are armed with guns.

PO: Grasshopper, I’m surprised at you! Did we not already cover that issue? You try my patience! And what of the young lady who is about to be raped by a street thug in the middle of the night? Can she not defend herself better if she has a gun and knows how to use it?

KC: But she should call the police and then …

[Master Po, his patience exhausted, swings his staff around and clips young Kwai Chang behind the ear. The lad ends up in a heap of ox dung beside the path, unconscious. Master Po sits down to meditate, and several minutes pass.]

KC: [groaning and rubbing dung from his clothes] Oh… my head… I did it again, didn’t I Master Po?

PO: Yes, Grasshopper, you forgot that when seconds count, the police are minutes away. In any crime of violence, it is the victim who is the first responder. The police act primarily after a crime has already been committed. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of rapes that the police have stopped, but you cannot count on a thousand hands the number of rapes that a gun or other weapon has stopped.

KC: But … what about the children? Children get killed accidentally by guns every day!

PO: And what about swimming pools! Children drown in swimming pools every day, and in much greater numbers! Should we make swimming pools illegal?

KC: I see. Yet … swimming pools also serve useful purposes, don’t they?

PO: Have you ever asked the parents of a child who drowned in a neighbor’s pool if it was worth it?

KC: [keeping his head down, walks in silence, then says…] OK, I guess saying “what about the children” was kind of silly, after all.

PO: And what conclusions have you come to, Grasshopper?

KC: Well, I suppose we live in a dangerous world and must accept that fact. And we all have both the right and the duty to be the first line of defense when it comes to crime. The police can arrest criminals afterwards, and their presence may reduce crime, but they cannot prevent all crime. And, of course, if guns are criminalized, only criminals will have guns, thus making us defenseless!

PO: Well done, young man. Making it a crime to possess the means to defend oneself from crime would be a crime in and of itself, would it not?

KC: Brilliant! Yes, Master Po! I agree! Thank you for helping me see this great truth!

PO: We will talk more of this later, when we discuss the Second Amendment and its true meaning and importance.

[The two walk along in silence as the sun sets in the distance. To be continued…]

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