01 March 2014

Maybe the NRA is right after all

Gruesome news from China: in an apparent terrorist attack, blamed by the government on Muslim separatists from the country's southwest, a gang of men attacked a train station and killed 33 people, according to the latest report, while wounding more than 100 more. The remarkable aspect of this particular atrocity is that the killers all used knives. It appears to confirm the argument often made by gun-rights advocates that getting rid of guns won't guarantee anyone's safety, since vicious or crazy people will find other effective means to kill or hurt people. It definitely proves what motivated people can do with sharp objects. It also reconfirms, following waves of knife attacks on kindergartens and other public places in recent years, that some people are really, really pissed off by conditions in China. Since China apparently has effective gun control, the government can skip debating over whether gun ownership makes such incidents more likely. The real question they face is deciding whether to dismiss each case as the act of a hopeless malcontent or to deduce that something is wrong with they way the country is going. They may decide that these killings are an inescapable collateral cost of some necessary socio-economic development, much as many Americans accept gun violence as an unavoidable risk of free society. One thing seems certain: regrettable as the absence from China of a truly free "civil society" may be, it does mean that the country will be spared the propaganda of a Knives Rights Association. Meanwhile, this tragedy may have a silver lining if it convinces reactionary Americans that even should our government take their guns away, they still have a fighting chance to make a difference through empty gestures that only hurt innocent people.


Anonymous said...

Had that gang of men been armed with assault rifles rather than knives, the death toll would have been much, much higher.

Samuel Wilson said...

Still, no knives, no deaths -- unless the terrorists know kung fu. That opens up a whole new field of regulation!

Actually, your point is one I've made often and I'm happy to have you repeat it for me. But to the extent -- doubtful, I think -- that gun-control advocates have said that restricting gun ownership will reduce if not eliminate mass killing, the NRA would seem to have scored a rhetorical point here.

Anonymous said...

If not knives, clubs. Or fire. Wherever someone wants someone else dead badly enough, they will find a way. That's not to say that such things shouldn't be controlled.