How are guns like vaccines?
Their social benefits depend on herd immunity.
First, let’s look at a predominantly healthy society with relatively low violent crime rates and a functioning judicial system that will take criminals off the streets. A law-abiding citizen who successfully uses a gun in self-defense (which doesn’t even require bullets to be fired – just having a gun is sometimes enough!) provides the most potent form of 100% immunity – now all violent criminals and the violently inclined in the area know, for sure, that it’s not entirely safe to victimize people in that area. The credible threat of self-defense reinforces the low crime rate. It’s not worth it to the criminal to pick on people here. Some of them are armed and will fight back. The law-abiding citizen goes through a rough experience, but his bravery benefits the community. Even if the law-abiding citizen is not 100% successful, and gets beat up or what-have-you, it’s still gonna get to the news and serve as advertising that “this community is not an easy mark.”
On the other hand, now let’s think about an environment that is NOT healthy. There is a high crime rate. Petty crimes against personal property are common, as are violent crimes as repeat petty criminals escalate their behavior. The judicial system is overwhelmed, and can’t effectively operate, because criminality is enshrined in the culture, and gang violence is common, since at least the gang somewhat protects their own. Individuals expect to be burglarized with some regularity, but don’t expect law enforcement to do anything constructive about it. This situation breeds people who just want all the guns to Go Away, so that the Shootings Will Stop.
I can actually sympathize with that. Oh, I still would like to deport them all to some other nice place to live, because they’re not “American” in the way that matters – culturally. But I can understand that when someone looks around at her crime-ridden, gang-controlled neighborhood, the thought of owning her own personal firearm for self-defense is not going to appeal to her all that much. Even if she’s been mugged at gunpoint before.
Because it wouldn’t be enough.
In a situation like that, there’s no herd immunity. Would polio have been eradicated if only a few people had been vaccinated? No, of course not. Likewise, only a few law-abiding people in a violent ghetto acquiring guns to use for self-defense just wouldn’t work the way it works for more peaceful communities. What would happen? Well, the self-defender might foil one robbery out of three, and for their trouble, get thrown into the very same judicial system that’s been systematically failing their community for years. Meet the meatgrinder. Then there’s all Mo’s buddies who are now reeeeeeeeeeeally angry that you dared to fight back, so now you’re essentially stuck deep in enemy-controlled territory with no backup. (Overwhelmed law enforcement, remember? The “immune system” is fatally compromised.) And anyway, guns are expensive, the licenses to have them are time-consuming and expensive to obtain, ammo is expensive, and if you live in the ghetto it’s probably because you don’t have the money to move somewhere else in the first place. And the gun might just be stolen from you anyway. So why would the individual bother, with so little potential benefit and such HUGE potential drawbacks?
So yes. If you live in a ghetto, going out on your own and getting a gun is not likely to work in your favor. It will only work in your favor if you form your own “gang” – not a vigilante group, mind – of people who are not only willing to stand up for their own self-defense, but also to help protect each other. Because everyone has to sleep sometime. But even for that to work, the “immune system” would need to recover enough to be healthy, and instead of dumping repeat offenders back onto the streets. (Ideally, recreational drug use would earn people a slap on the wrist and a few hours of community service, not jail time. Jails are needed for people who commit wanton property damage without repayment, and personal assaults. But although related, that’s a different matter.)
The problem with the gun-control crowd, is that they see places like Detroit and Chicago and, previously, D.C., and they see that in places where there ARE draconian gun laws, the gun laws are not preventing crime perpetrated by people with guns. Where are the guns coming from? Well, obviously, they’re being manufactured someplace else and brought in. So, continuing with the thought, they think, “If only we could restrict all these OTHER areas just like our city is restricted, surely we could seize all the illegal guns and gun crime would cease. Of course it’s not working when it’s so easy to get guns 20 miles down the road!” (Often overlooked is that the violent crime itself will not go down – just shift to fists and knives and blunt objects. Good luck banning rocks and sticks in a world made of decaying concrete and steel.)
However, the healthy places look at that, and go, “Oh Hell no, we don’t want our peaceful neighborhoods to descend into gang violence like YOUR neighborhood. Our guns keep things peaceful!” And if you look at the empirical evidence, they’re right. Removing guns does not cause violent crime to fall. Encouraging responsible gun ownership DOES cause violent crime to fall.
So what should be done? Well, overhauling the judicial system to include a little more actual JUSTICE would be a good thing. Getting rid of really stupid penalties for nonviolent recreational drug use would be another, so that courts to lock away the people who really do need to be locked away. But what the ghettos really need is their own militia police force. You hear me, Black Panthers? What do you think you’re doing, whining about “the White Man keeping you down” and flaunting mock military gear in front of polling places to intimidate little old grannies when your Black brothers are gunning each other down in the streets every day?! MAYBE THAT IS A PROBLEM YOU COULD FIX. Ditch the gang rules, the tribal affiliations that say “it’s okay for me to do this, but not for you in that other tribe,” and enforce adherence to the Rule of Law. It works. So you feel like the judicial system is biased against you and unfairly persecuting you. Okay. That’s an issue. HOWEVER, there are actual black criminals, victimizing black people, on a regular basis, and that nasty judicial system run by Evil White People isn’t doing a good enough job on that. Let’s see you guys fix things up, okay? It’s not like y’all don’t have the guns already.
The problem with the ghetto is not that there are illegal guns there. The problem is that there aren’t enough people with guns, period. Law enforcement is so overwhelmed and/or corrupted that they can’t help. The law-abiding people don’t have weapons because it’s been illegal, probably for longer than they’ve even been alive. Unless you can “vaccinate” enough of them – so that they both possess firearms and know how to use them responsibly – the “disease” of violent crime is not going to go away.
Let’s face it: the gun regulations do nothing to stop the occasional lunatic white guy who snaps and goes postal, or the Islamic warrior who shoots up someplace for Allah. What they are very good at doing is keeping guns out of the hands of the poor minorities who need self-defense the most. Stop with the Jim Crow gun regulation, and let’s assimilate those poor minorities into the Anglo tradition of defending yourself and your property from bandits, while living in peaceful harmony with neighbors. It’s likely to make it far easier for them to stop being so poor and victimized, after all!