“We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?” – Joseph Stalin
Cause and effect is not merely a physical concept, but one that manifests in psychological, and sociological situations. In other words, what we do, and say, the way in which we behave, etc, all causes ripples to occur in the environment around us. We are all dominoes, poised to fall over should the right circumstances arise. Proponents of gun control often fail to understand cause, and effect beyond the notion that the effect of pulling a trigger can cause a death. They don’t explore, or examine the idea that a gun is simply a tool, which is used by someone who has often been molded in a specific psychological, and sociological way.
Speaking to that, gun control enthusiast, and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, recently spoke at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, where he argued that we should remove guns from the hands of certain demographics.
According to The Aspen Times:
“Bloomberg claimed that 95 percent of murders fall into a specific category: male, minority and between the ages of 15 and 25. Cities need to get guns out of this group’s hands and keep them alive, he said.”
The Aspen Times then directly quoted Bloomberg:
“These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed…They just don’t have any long-term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun. It’s a joke to pull a trigger.”
Michael Bloomberg, for all his asinine ideas, and general idiocy, touched upon something very important in his argument, yet ultimately failed to reach the finish line. If I’m understanding Bloomberg’s argument correctly, he is making the case that guns should be removed from the hands of those who fit the specific criteria he mentioned. But then what?
Proponents of gun control—in the vein of Bloomberg—often talk about guns as if they are the singular evil, as if the guns themselves are the problem, when the fact is that guns are merely tools. Guns are the end of a long through-line, which goes back to those using the gun, and their psychological state. Death by bullet is the period at the end of a long sentence. And it is this notion that Bloomberg seems to understand, if only for a moment.
As Bloomberg stated, a large number of murders using firearms are committed by minorities, in a particular age-range. He even mentions that they “have no long term focus or anything.” From there, however, he doesn’t go any further—which is a shame, because that is where the answer lies.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, though Blacks represent only 12.6% of the U.S. population, they committed 52.5% of all homicides from 1980 – 2008.
According to FactCheck.org, backed up by U.S. census research “In 1960…22 percent of black children lived with single parents. In 1968, the number rose to 31.4 percent. By 2006, the 1960 percentage had more than doubled to 56 percent…In 2006, 91.4 percent of single parents of black children were mothers.”
President Obama himself said during a 2008 speech that “children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.”
According to Nationalgangcenter.gov, Hispanics represent 46% of gang members, and Blacks represent 35%. Together, that’s 81%. Eight out of ten gang members are either Black or Hispanic.
What picture do these statistics paint? A growing number of minority children—specifically Black—are growing up without fathers. Some of these children are then joining gangs, and committing crime with illegal firearms.
The root of the problem is a lack of fatherhood, which stems from a general social degradation over the last several decades.
In her Doctoral thesis submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice, Jennifer Schwartz sums up the problem rather brilliantly, writing:
“At the individual level, children from father-absent homes manifest more behavioral problems including fighting and physical aggression (McLanahan 1997)…fathers collectively perform important socialization functions within communities, acting as role models and applying social stigma to enforce community norms…father absence as a predicator of violence is extremely robust for both male and female violence.”
I’m not a sociologist, but I would argue that father absence contributes to youth violence in two main ways. First, fathers tend to be the visible leaders of households, acting as behavioral enforcers for their children. Mothers tend to be more of the nurturer, while fathers tend toward structure, and discipline. While this is not true across all areas, I believe it’s a general fact of life. Given that, absence of fathers would leave many young men without behavioral boundaries, leading to undisciplined, and ultimately violent behavior. Second, without fathers, many young minority men—as seen in the statistics—turn to other organizations for mentorship, such as gangs.
This is to say that yes, most gun-related crime is committed by certain demographics, but it is not the guns that are the problem, but the people using them. To take the guns away would not solve the problem, but shift it. We cannot address a symptom while ignoring the underlying disease. Violence is not new, but absentee fatherhood among young minorities is; it has been a developing trend since the 1960’s.
Proponents of gun control don’t seem to think beyond “grab the gun!” This is dangerous, because once you advocate taking guns from certain people because of behavior that goes much deeper than firearms; you can leverage away guns from anyone. Additionally, removing guns won’t end a violence that is rooted in a broad cultural decline. Violence, and murder will continue to exist regardless of the presence of firearms.
We have a Second Amendment protected right to bear arms for self-defense, and in the case of government tyranny. We should not have those rights taken away because of behavior that is caused by other factors. Moreover, our focus should not be on guns in particular, but social degradation. Why are families falling apart? Identifying, and rehabilitating that facet of our society will lead to fewer gun-related deaths, and overall crime.
Guns are not the issue, cultural morality is.