Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gun control in Hobbes’s America

I predict not a single wannabe mass murderer will go through the trouble of getting a concealed-carry license. If you’re prepared to commit a capital crime, punishable by death, then a fine or lesser jail time for carrying without a license is not going to stop you.

The Daily Caller reports from the People’s Republic of Austin:

A professor emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin (UT) has announced that he is resigning his post in protest against a recent law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus, saying the law drastically increases his chances of being murdered.

“As much as I have loved the experience of teaching and introducing these students to economics at the university, I have decided not to continue,” economics professor Daniel Hamermesh said in a letter to university administrators this week. “With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.”

What’s enhanced are his chances of survival if a nut job tries to shoot up his classroom. The lecture hall is less likely to become a shooting gallery if at least one of the maniac’s targets fires back.

Australia has stricter gun laws than America and a low murder rate, the result of a decline that began in the ’80s, before Australia’s mandatory gun buyback program took effect. Too bad mass shootings still do happen in Australia (see 2014 Sydney cafe siege). And robbery is up, to boot, what with criminals not fearing armed homeowners as much as in the past.

If you look at the possibilities, Hamermesh could be murdered anywhere, anytime: in class, in the park, or in his driveway; with a rifle, a billy club, or a Samurai sword. Nothing but personal vigilance or an oppressive surveillance state can deter the motivated criminal. But in all likelihood Hamermesh won’t be shot to death because he has less than a .2 percent chance of being shot to death.

Overall, the largest deterrent to violent crime is a civil society that encourages social cohesion and trust. Hamermesh, for reasons unknown, has no faith in the social order without appealing to the law. He claims he’s only still alive because someone—anyone—would have killed him by now if only they had a gun. This Hobbesian distortion of reality posits there are no good guys with guns and no bad guys with guns. There are only guys with guns governed by animal passions. They consciencelessly do what pleases them, including steal, rape, and murder. That’s too far from reality to give any credence or credibility.

Related: “Not everyone’s a homicidal maniac.”

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