We Have to Live With the Fact That We Can't Stop Every Shooting in a Free Society

Demonstrators hold signs during a protest in favor of gun control reform in front of the White House, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I’m going to proceed through this article with the assumption that mass shooters don’t fully telegraph their moves before decide to pull the trigger.

Let’s assume, just for the moment, that no one saw the recent Annapolis shooting that claimed the lives of five people coming. Let’s pretend that the shooter — whose name and face will not be posted into the realm of forever by my hand — didn’t exhibit odd and threatening behaviors before he used a shotgun and explosives to kill innocent people.

With all that gone, we’re left with the underlying reality that we live in a country that has an abundance of guns within the citizenry that outclass most militaries around the world, with the conservative estimate being that one in three citizens own a firearm.

After each shooting, a portion of the American population knee-jerks to calling for laws being passed that make it harder to obtain or own guns, if not for all-out bans.

But as I have explained before in this video below, that’s just not happening.

The fact of the matter is that we in America live in a gun culture. Ownership of firearms is written into our very foundations, and the right to them is enshrined in our system of laws a right to us given by God himself.

This may seem like a dismaying thing to say in the face of the death of innocents, but anything would seem horrid when looked consistently holding said subject up in a negative light. The truth is, guns are used far more for good than they are for bad. The news is peppered almost weekly with stories about this woman, or that man, or sometimes that kid using a firearm for defensive reasons and saving lives. The website “Bearing Arms” has an entire section of its site dedicated stories revolving around that very thing.

This would be a well-known fact if we engaged in education about firearms over blind fear of them, but sadly, we don’t live in a society where the mainstream has embraced what America is and not what it thinks it should be. We’ll continue to see deadly ignorance until that day, but I digress.

The point is that we live in a society where we have freedoms. Freedoms are a blessing, and allow us to live our lives as we see fit. However, every freedom comes with an element of danger. Freedom and chaos are cousins, and there is always danger in chaos. There are some who will seek to use their freedoms to hurt or even kill others. This is a horrible thing, of course, and we’d rather people not utilize God-given rights abusively.

Furthermore, it’s not outside the realm of understanding that people want to reduce the chaos around them. Uncertainty is scary, and our immediate reaction to a tragedy or atrocity is to find ways to bring more order into the mix so that it doesn’t happen again. This is, if we’re being honest with ourselves, a perfectly reasonable reaction. We do it in our personal lives to a degree every day.

The problem comes when we seek to impose that order on others. To punish those who didn’t engage in chaos, and abuse our freedoms.

To demand more order is to ask for less freedom. Maybe you don’t think that by asking for the rights of the general populace to be revoked or marred that you’re putting yourself in any kind of precarious position. Perhaps you don’t utilize that right personally. Rest assured, however, that you’re opening a very dangerous door, or a proverbial Pandora’s box you’d rather leave closed.

Restricting rights isn’t something we should do lightly because it means the normalization of the elimination of freedoms for some, but the increased chance that freedoms for others will be eliminated down the road also. One day, one of those freedoms might be something you do enjoy and engage in regularly.

As in the case of free speech, gun ownership, and other rights we have in our Constitution, the good these freedoms do far outweigh the bad. The bad will happen from time to time, but that’s the price we pay for living in a society of individualism and freedom. The true society of choice.

Besides, the imposition of order has shown us time and again that it can be far more dangerous and harmful than the chaos we productively live in. I need only point to North Korea, communist Russia, or even modern day UK with its anti-free speech rules and healthcare laws to show you how an over-abundance of order can be harmful.

Shootings are tragic, and we should mourn those who lose their lives by those who abuse their rights in order to accomplish that task. However, introducing order will not fix the problem. It will only create new ones.