Tuesday, July 28, 2015

In the land of the blind, as the saying goes, the one-eyed man is king, and in the land of the disarmed the man with a gun is king. America is once more observing what passes for national mourning over the grim work of a nut acting out some sort of bizarre theory about the collapse of society by randomly shooting people.

The wiseheads of the media that much of the public reads and watches conclude as usual that there are “too many” guns in America. This leads the usual suspects to demand once more a ban on guns, to disarm the responsible and the law-abiding. It’s the Fearless Fosdick school of law enforcement. Fearless was the comic-strip detective once assigned to find a can of poisoned pork and beans that an evil schemer put loose somewhere in the city, and Fearless set out to save the innocent by shooting them before they could come upon the can of poisoned beans. Who could argue with such genius? Dozens died, but none of bean-poisoning.

The trouble with gun-free zones is that evil, usually crazy, shooters pick places to spread mayhem in “zones” where they can be pretty sure no one else will be carrying a gun.

The law-abiding citizens will and do observe the rules; nuts and crazies determined to kill as many people as they can are not likely to follow the sane and the well-meaning example. What began as a well-intended but misguided effort, as so many do-good schemes are, has enabled those places where guns are forbidden to become just the kind of place a nut is determined to turn into a shooting gallery.

People who live in sketchy neighborhoods, where the crime rate is high, must take unusual precautions to keep their families, their homes and their businesses safe. A club or a bag of rocks may be all that is legal in such gun-free zones. What the innocents never do is post a sign in the window that “We are good citizens and these premises are unprotected and are not alarmed.” Robbers, rapists and killers will usually leave places alone if they suspect the premises are guarded by Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

“Gun-free zones” are figments of the liberal imagination, meant to reassure the weak and fearful, like “calorie-free zones” might reassure dieters or “taste-free zones” reassure vegetarians. Evil-doers are not deterred, good intentions or not. Gun-free zones do not make guns disappear from the hands of the lawless.

It’s not the province of governments to dictate gun-free zones, in any case. If a homeowner wants to post such signs to keep guns out of his house that is his right; owners of privately owned places of business should have that right, too. Guns are available in the hands of the responsible to protect the innocent. It’s an imperfect world, and the wise and the wary know that theirs is the fundamental responsibility to protect themselves and their families. A gun is better than the bag of rocks.

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