The 2nd Amendment, firearms safety, and equality

Source: Stately McDaniel Manor | Culture, Politics, Firearms, Education, Literature, Philosophy, Music, And Other Musings

The Declaration got it mostly right (“all men are created equal…”): to slightly paraphrase a classic aphorism, “God made human beings, Col. Sam Colt made them equal!” One of the few areas in which I do not admire England / Britain is their draconian gun-control policies. Leaving people defenseless against those who wish them harm is morally vicious, and poor public policy.

In related news, Mike McDaniel of the Stately McDaniel Manor blog reports that accidental deaths due to firearms have declined dramatically, despite more firearms than ever being sold:

Despite gun sales reaching record numbers in the last two years, accidental gun shootings are at an all-time low, a surprising finding by the National Safety Council. In its annual “Injury Facts” report, the group put accidental gun deaths in 2015 at 489.

That is the lowest since 1903, when record-keeping began, and a 17 percent one-year drop, and is “about three-tenths of 1 percent of the 146,571 total accidental deaths from all other listed causes,” according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the firearms industry. It is a remarkably low number, and underscores the fact that law-abiding gun owners are among the most careful and responsible folks out there.

It is especially notable in light of the very large number of legally–owned firearms in America. In 2015, an additional 23 million firearms were sold – a then-all-time-high – and last year, 2016, the number surged to 27 million: spurred, as McDaniel notes, by fears of what a possibly Hillary Clinton presidency would mean to firearm ownership. Yet despite the tens, even hundred, of millions of firearms in legal hands, the number of accidental deaths in 2015 was… 489. That speaks highly of gun owners!

It also flies in the face of claims made by anti-gun advocates that “safety” is one of the reasons they are attempting to enact additional measures limiting our Constitutional rights and freedoms where firearms are concerned. Estimates range – sometimes widely – but it is probably fair to say that somewhere between 30% and 40% of American households have at least one firearms, with an estimated total ownership of 256 million firearms.

And the total number of accidental deaths due to firearms use is under 500? I’d say we’re doing pretty good!

Oh, and that equality issue I mentioned? The sexual dimorphism inherent to our species means that women tend, on average, to be about 15% smaller than men, and only around 60% as strong – again, on average. This means that women are at a significant disadvantage when attempting to physically fight off would-be male attackers.

Firearms significantly redress this disadvantage: the original aphorism I with which started this piece stated (variations on) “God created men, Samuel Colt (inventor of the first practical repeating handgun) made them equal.”

This is even more true where women are concerned!

“Do you think the word ‘feminism’ can be rehabilitated?”

I recently came across a post with the above title, on a social media site not typically noted for its preponderance of thoughtful, reflective posts, and it caught my attention. The person posting, who happens to be female, and with a background in law, noted that

Although I applaud women like these [see image, below] for making a valiant effort… I’m afraid that — like the term “conservatism” — the word “feminism” has been abused, misused and propagandized beyond reclamation.

Bruner on feminism

As I responded, this issue is far from a new one! The late great G.K. Chesterton wrote this back in the late 19th or early 20th century:

Chesterton - feminism

His point remains valid today, in my opinion.

If “feminism” means according women their proper due – that is to say, recognizing them as equal in intrinsic value / inherent worth with men, not necessarily identical in role but equal in importance and honour – then I am all for it.

If it means lowering, as the meme she posted points out, the standards for women to the abysmally low standards to which men are often held, or if it means either feminizing men or masculinizing women, as seems too often the case – or if, as one commentator described the “third wave” feminism of today, it is about “fighting for the right of women to engage in self-destructive behavior and get away with it while making sure men do not” – it is in my estimate a detriment rather than a benefit to society.

She further noted in response,

The always perceptive Chesterton was making a similar point to what I was making this morning:

“Why are millions of women taking the day off work today? To draw attention to a world where the shackles of the Patriarchy have been cast off — giving them the opportunity to be wage-slaves too — and as waves of liberation have swept further through the economy and society many women have now realized the dream of having two or even three unfulfilling jobs necessary in order to keep their family afloat.”

It is rarely mentioned that just as liberation was kicking into gear in 1973 (the same year, not so coincidentally, that Nixon closed the gold window) the economy started to warp; and one of those warps was fewer “breadwinner” jobs — jobs that pay a sufficient salary to support a family — and that is a trend which continues to this day.

Socially and culturally this stuff ended up not just dragging women down to the worst flaws of men, but dragging men even lower. Feminism incorporated the Sexual Revolution (which should no longer be called a revolution, because they won and are now the establishment). This aspect of feminism became increasingly central and more disgusting in Third Wave. Former Cosmo editor Sue Ellen Browder wrote a good book on this: Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.

But there has been a backlash among younger women to this trash. Millennials (especially the younger tier) really are the “Pro-life Generation” — polls consistently show them to be pro-life — they are Planned Parenthood’s greatest nightmare. And there is a repulsion to the “hook-up culture” and all that among younger women — which is not surprising, that is just not the metaphysical nature of women.

The pendulum nearly always swings, thankfully, as I commented in my follow-up post. And as I wrote there, I, too, have seen the beginnings of a shift back, in the younger generation, to a more traditional — and, in my view, healthier and saner — approach to sexuality and procreation. Encouraging! But it is unquestionable that the connection between morality and economics is a closer (and, likely, less coincidental) one than most people realize.

It is ironically interesting, although sad, to track the way in which the breakdown of what are often considered “traditional family values” has marched practically in lock-step with the breakdown in the traditional family itself — in part, at least, due to the fact that, as my interlocutor commented, it is now much more rare for a single “breadwinner” to be able, economically, to support a family, meaning that both partners need to work.

This in turn tends to fragment family ties and devolve “child care” (which used to be called parenting) onto paid professionals, who may or may not share the parents’ values, background, and intentions for their children. It is difficult indeed to maintain a close, cohesive family structure, and engage in focused, intentional child-rearing, when both parents work outside the home!

A vicious downward spiral, which will likely take much more time and effort to arrest and reverse than it did to initiate. That, sadly, is the recurring pattern! Good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created… or re-created, once lost.