by Jason Stotts
Doesn’t it seem like the Republicans and Democrats have been awkwardly pro-rape lately?
A couple of days ago a bunch of satirical posters appeared on Facebook purporting to be from the “Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence,” a principally democratic group that seeks to outlaw guns and remove them completely from American life. However, it seems to me that they’re taking a page from the Rape Caucus (you know, the Christian-Theocratic Party, or do they still call themselves Republicans?), and are now going after women. I think this poster sums up the problem most clearly:
While obviously the Brady Campaign would never come out so clearly against women, this is what their position amounts to: the use of deadly force is always immoral and a woman should prefer to be raped than to kill her attacker with a gun. This is monstrous and pure evil. To shoot someone in self-defense is so completely morally different than to rob or rape someone at gunpoint (initiate force) that the two cannot be said to even be in the same category. Only an idiot would lump these two things together because “they both involve guns.” This is true, but misleadingly true, obscuringly true, and even trivially true. To package-deal these two things is to destroy any meaning to morality and to give equal moral claim to the woman who doesn’t want to be raped and the man who wants to rape her. It is so vicious that it is hard to remain calm when I write this.
If we outlaw guns and prevent their concealed carry, then violent rapes will go up. Criminals are, by definition, people who violate the laws. Why does anyone think they’ll comply with laws against owning guns and carrying them? If legislating against a thing would really reduce it, then we should make rape illegal, we should make robbery illegal, etc. The euphemistic way that people talk about passing laws that “address gun violence” by banning guns is disingenuous, since “gun violence” is already illegal.
I personally think that the best way to reduce rape is for all women to learn how to use firearms and to carry them at all times. Imagine the difference in the likelihood of rape if a large percentage of women carried guns. I bet it would go down, one way or another (violent rape is often perpetrated by repeat offenders and if they’re getting shot…).
Even if the intention of people who are against guns is to prevent people getting killed by guns, it is simply a fact of reality that removing guns from the hands of good people is only an advantage to criminals and women are going to be disproportionately victimized. Thus, making it harder for women to get guns and to carry them will increase rape. Contra Kant, in reality good intentions don’t amount to much.
I am also against the government trying to restrict access to “assault rifles,” which is a misnomer to begin with. If an “assault rifle” is a military weapon that allows for fully automatic fire, then these rifles are already illegal to own without all sorts of governmental permits. The rifles that are sold to civilians, like the AR-15 rifles, are only superficially similar to the military M-16 and are actually no different from hunting rifles. The thing is that these rifles may be necessary for a person defend themselves against larger groups. For example, in the LA riots homeowners and store owners were forced to defend their lives and properties from roving bands of violent criminals and a rifle is much better suited to this than is a handgun.
None of this is to say that I think people should have unrestricted access to any kind of weapon they might want, like hybrid viruses designed to be weapons, nuclear bombs, or aircraft carriers. I think that there is a real question about the limit of what kinds of weapons a person should be permitted to own in society, but legislating against safe and conscientious gun owners based on the isolated actions of a small number of people who are psychopathic is a moronic way to legislate. In fact, the US has one of the lowest violent crime rates and fares much better against countries that have banned guns like England and Australia. Moreover, when we increase access to guns and make it easier for people to carry concealed, we see crime go down. This is a point of fact and has been shown to be true in lots of cases. Additionally, cities with highly restrictive gun laws have higher violent crime rates compared to cities without (for example: Chicago to Houston) and this is a matter of fact.
If we really want to reduce the incidence of guns used in the commission of violent crimes, then I think we need to make it easier for good people to own and carry guns. I think we need to be harsher on criminals who violate the rights of others (I don’t think drugs should be illegal in the first place and the idea of a “victimless crime” is nonsense). I think we should provide a way to get counseling for people who are showing psychopathic tendencies early in life and make access to information about these tendencies easier for parents to find and utilize. I also think we need to abolish the idea of “gun-free zones” (except in perhaps very limited circumstances), since criminals love places full of disarmed victims.
More broadly, I am against the growing movement of people who would trade freedom for “security.” I think that we need to stand for individual rights on principle and without exception, for example: the right to speech unrestricted by the government, the right to travel unrestricted by the government, the right to control our bodies (abortion, contraception, drugs, etc.) unrestricted by the government, and so many other individual rights. If we start trying to carve out exceptions, like it is okay to tax some to give it to others, we establish the principle that no one actually has rights. Once we’ve given ourselves up as children to the State, it is right that the government then seeks to control our actions as a parent should to its children. If we want to live free, then we must live as adults and be responsible for our actions. We also must carefully guard our rights as the necessary conditions to our happiness.