Recently Actor Jason Alexander, who is most famous as George Costanza on Seinfeld, like so many celebrities have been doing, tweeted about gun control in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado. He wrote,
“I cannot understand support for legality of the kind of weapon in this massacre. It’s a military weapon. Why should it be in non-mil hands?”
Okay, fine. That’s a discussion worth having. There is an answer to his question, and I would be happy to explain it to Mr. Alexander over a cup of coffee, if he would like. Though, I get the feeling his stance is already solidified and his question is more rhetorical than real. But still, my offer stands…
However, according to George… er, I mean, Alexander, he has been getting quite a bit of responses to his comment. They have been, according to Alexander, “challenging at the least, hostile and vitriolic at the worst.”
In a post, clarifying his position, Alexander wrote a lengthy response to those who have responded with hostility. He writes,
“Clearly, the angry, threatened and threatening, hostile comments are coming from gun owners and gun advocates. Despite these massacres recurring and despite the 100,000 Americans that die every year due to domestic gun violence – these people see no value to even considering some kind of control as to what kinds of weapons are put in civilian hands.”
I have no idea where he got 100,000 deaths. That is just plain, unadulterated garbage. The numbers throughout the last ten years have been hovering around 30,000 deaths per year, with roughly 60% being suicides. Discounting suicides, we are looking at around 12,000 deaths per year. That is a huge leap from 100,000, eh Georgie? He further writes,
“Many of [gun-rights activists] cite patriotism as their reason – true patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. Constitution says citizens have the right to bear arms in order to maintain organized militias… So the patriots are correct, gun ownership is in the constitution – if you’re in a well-regulated militia.”
A) The Second Amendment states an individual right that exists in addition to a militia.
B) That individual right has been affirmed and clarified by the Supreme Court with the Heller decision.
And C) A militia does not need exist under the supervision of government to be legitimate. I would submit that the militias that fought for independence were far from “legitimate” in the eyes of the British crown. In fact, the purpose of a militia is to operate as a sleeping entity, only aroused when tyranny is afoot and common citizens are needed to push back against governmental forces. When this happens, to whom should the common citizen turn to obtain useful weapons? And that is why the common citizen needs, and is granted with, the right to bear arms comparable to military-issued weapons.
He further explains,
“There is no excuse for the propagation of these weapons. They are not guaranteed or protected by our constitution… These weapons are military weapons. They belong in accountable hands, controlled hands and trained hands. They should not be in the hands of private citizens to be used against police, neighborhood intruders or people who don’t agree with you. These are the weapons that maniacs acquire to wreak murder and mayhem on innocents. They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders. They are not the same as hunting rifles or sporting rifles. These weapons are designed for harm and death on big scales.”
I will happily encourage all right-wingers with AR-15s to relinquish their oh-so-scary rifles when anybody, celebrity or otherwise, can point out to me where in the Constitution the provision of private ownership of rifles for the expressed purpose of hunting is. In my office, I have a copy of the Constitution hanging on my wall, and I can find no provisions for hunting rifles. What I have found, however, is a handy little phrase that states, “…shall not be infringed.” I take notice at the fact that it does not say, “…shall only be infringed upon a little bit by ‘common sense’ restrictions.”
Gun-control proponents try and restrict the kinds of bullets in guns, the capacity of magazines and the most effective weapons at defending oneself, his family or his country. It’s as if they’re promoting an idea of, “We have no problem with people owning guns, just not the kind of guns that are actually useful.”
Liberals labor under a myth that if it were not for the so-called “assault weapons”, casualties of rampages would be very few. It’s just not true. Seung Hui-Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, used two handguns with standard magazines. He killed 32 people and injured 17. In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed a bell tower at the University of Texas at Austin and killed 16 people and wounded 32 others. He didn’t use an AR-15, high capacity magazines or hollow-point bullets. His main weapon? A Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, a hunting rifle capable of firing one bullet at a time.
Then, Alexander’s rant takes a turn towards the weird side,
“SO WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM? WHY DO YOU NOT, AT LEAST, AGREE TO SIT WITH REASONABLE PEOPLE FROM BOTH SIDES AND ASK HARD QUESTIONS AND LOOK AT HARD STATISTICS AND POSSIBLY MAKE SOME COMPROMISES FOR THE GREATER GOOD? SO THAT MOTHERS AND FATHERS AND CHILDREN ARE NOT SLAUGHTERED QUITE SO EASILY BY THESE MONSTERS? HOW CAN IT HURT TO STOP DEFENDING THESE THINGS AND AT LEAST CONSIDER HOW WE CAN ALL WORK TO TRY TO PREVENT ANOTHER DAY LIKE YESTERDAY? …I’ll say it plainly – if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to “pry it from my cold, dead hand”, then they are probably planning on using them on people.”
Mothers and fathers and children slaughtered? This is not My Lai, the streets are not running red with the blood of mothers and children. Maniacs kill, and statistics show that they are less successful in doing so in a well-armed population.
“if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them”? “… then they are probably planning on using them on people”? What sort of spotty, speculative logic is this? If someone buys a hunting knife, can we conclude that they mean to become a modern day Jack the Ripper? No, of course not. But, I will admit, Alexander is right about one thing- if someone wants these weapons they intend to use them. He’s right, I, myself have murdered hundreds of paper targets and even a few coffee cans. However, not once have I gone on a rampage. “Probably planning on using them on people”? Please…
I spend a large amount of my time calling out ignorance from the left. More than merely “getting my way”, I am far more interested in the process of rational discourse. More than the ends, the means, the process that enables our republic to continue, is the most important function. Alexander’s contentions may come from a well-intentioned place, but they are completely emotion-driven and not bound by any realities of our world. If what he says is true, and people have irrationally hurled obscenities and threats, then I fully condemn them. I applaud Mr. Alexander for attempting to have a conversation regarding the issues, but what appears conspicuously absent from his assertions are the marks of rational thought, a cursory understanding of constitutional construction and permissibility and a certain continuity of thought found in logic-based assessments of issues.