Speaking at a National Council for Behavioral Health conference in Maryland Tuesday, Hillary Clinton decided to blame "gun violence" in the United States not on violent, morally bankrupt predators, but on the nation's gun culture, which she argues is "way out of balance." This is more than a little puzzling to those of us who take pride in being part of America's gun culture, and who have never committed"gun violence," and never will, except in necessary self-defense or defense of others.
More than puzzling, it is also unforgivably offensive. Clinton would never dare blame the September 11, 2001 attacks on "Muslim culture," or Jerry Sandusky's serial child molestation on "gay culture," but peaceable gun owners are to be subject to one of the last permissible bigotries. From the Associated Press:
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday the nation's gun culture has gotten "way out of balance" and the U.S. needs to rein in the notion that "anybody can have a gun, anywhere, anytime."
And what's this about the U.S. government "rein[ing] in" a "notion"? Are we to be given orders on what to think now? And do the "impermissible" thoughts include recognition that shall not be infringed leaves no room for restricting who can have a gun, where he or she can have it, and when?
Interestingly, one of the shootings Clinton cited was the one committed in a Florida movie theater, allegedly by an "Only One" annoyed that someone dared send text messages during the movie previews. Actually, he was not just an "Only One," but a captain of "Only Ones," and a "well-regarded" one, at that. If we are to use this killing to attack a culture, mightn't a more plausible target be the self-entitlement of law enforcement culture, as the instruments of the "government monopoly on force" so beloved of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence?
There is good news for Clinton, though--at least one of her concerns need not trouble her:
Clinton told attendees at the mental health conference that "at the rate we're going, we're going to have so many people with guns everywhere, fully licensed, fully validated" in settings like movie theaters where shootings have arisen over seemingly mundane things like loud gum chewing or cellphone use.
As Mike Vanderboegh points out, "fully licensed, fully validated" guns are not what we have in mind, because licensing and "validation" are also incompatible with shall not be infringed.
And then there was this curious remark:
"That's what happens in the countries I've visited where there is no rule of law and no self-control and that is something that we cannot just let go without paying attention," she said.
She claims to be worried about "no self-control," but her hyper-regulatory approach to gun policy would stand in direct opposition to self-control. It's not "self-control" when the controls are imposed and enforced by a powerful government. She appears to be making the same mistake that CSGV president Mike Beard did years ago--thinking of freedom and responsibility as competing interests, with one advancing only at the expense of the other, when the reality is just the opposite:
The problem with his thesis, of course, is that freedom and personal responsibility go hand in hand, as do tyranny and lack of personal responsibility. Making good (responsible) choices is a learned skill--a person denied the right to make choices, to reap the rewards of making good ones, and to suffer the consequences of the bad ones, will never learn that skill.
By conceding to the government the power to regulate their actions, the citizenry abdicates responsibility for those actions. Thus freedom and responsibility are both lost.
Come to think of it, if we are to blame "gun violence" on a culture, perhaps the most logical target would be the culture of overarching nanny-state government futilely attempting to impose responsibility, instead of staying out of the way of the people's exercise of it.