A Clueless President, Gun Hysteria, and Ulterior Motives

At an event honoring those who died at the hands of a deranged gunman (Salvador Ramos) who entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Joe Biden said, “They said a .22-caliber bullet will lodge in the lung, and we can probably get it out—may be able to get it and save the life. A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body.” Who said? Doctors? Did they dig the .22 caliber bullet out of a living perpetrator who went on to do more harm? Or were they looking at the lung of a predator in the morgue who was stopped by a 9mm projectile before he could do any (more) harm?

At any rate, the man’s ignorance is astounding. Embarrassing. This is the President of the United States, the Command-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces. He appears to know nothing at all about firearms—while he gives away billions of dollars worth of them to countries he courts for the new world order he and comrades are building for the future state sought by their corporate masters. Yet he has no hesitation in talking about the subject—and always in the same uninformed way.

“So, the idea of these high-caliber weapons is, uh, there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting.” He said this. For self-defense, stopping an attacker is paramount. The 9mm has stopping power at close range. If you know how to place shots, then its stopping power extends quite a bit farther. There is, therefore, a rational basis for possessing such a weapon; the 9mm it is ideal for self-protection. To be sure, it’s not particularly good for hunting, because of loss of energy at distance. But if you were face-to-face with a big animal, you could definitely bring it down with a 9mm. With what weapon would you rather face a bear? A .22 caliber or a 9mm handgun?

Silliness from The New York Times in 2013

“Remember, the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute,” the President said. Somebody should tell this authoritarian hack that rights pretty much are absolute. It’s sort of the point of them. Rights are something you possess by virtue of your existence. Just a few days ago, Biden said that our rights come from God. He says he is a believer. That sounds pretty absolute. Now he presumes to speak for God. Limitations on rights depend only on the rights of others and then only in their real effects and depending on actual circumstance. Self-defense is a fundamental human right—however you think it comes to you.

Let me be clear: the right to self-defense depends on just exercise. This is no so much a limitation as it is an ethic. The efficacy of the means to accomplishing that end is a question for the person who seeks to exercise the right under just circumstances. Leaving a man with only a knife to defend his life and family undermines his right to effective self-defense. Drastically rising crime under Biden’s presidency indicates a need to protect the right and the means to effective self-defense. We have to survive in the world the progressives have made for us.

However, this seems to be the purpose of compromising that right: to leave men effectively defenseless. Ask yourself: why does Biden wish to disarm the populace? He’s not the only (mis)leader seeking this end. The tyrant to our north—the smarmy Justin Trudeau of Canada—just announced an effective ban on all handguns. A “freeze,” he calls it. There are many other similarities between the moves Canada, the United States, and other western countries are making these days. The same people who seek one world government also seek to curtail to ability of their populations to possess firearms—except, of course, if those populations can be weaponized to threaten Russia.

“You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed,” Biden said. Yes, you could. The Second Amendment allows for a cannon. Why wouldn’t it? There is nothing in the Second Amendment that says the people have the right to keep and bear arms except for cannons. Go read the amendment. But I can tell you now that it says nothing about prohibiting cannons. Indeed, the author of the amendment, James Madison, confirmed this when, as President, in numerous letters of Marque and Reprisal during the War of 1812 (more than 500), he clarified that the Second Amendment protects the right of private shipowners to acquire and arm their vessels with cannons—cannons purchased as private individuals from private manufacturers.

The 9mm round is the most popular handgun caliber in the United States. Depending on the year, nearly or over half of all handguns produced in the United States over the last several years have been 9mm. Biden wants to ban the most popular type of firearm. Why? Because of the vanishingly small risk of a mass casualty event at a public school? How, in light of the fact that civilian-use AR-15s use .223 Remington, not 9mm? More than this, rifles, the category that includes what activists and politicians refer to “assault weapons” were involved in just three percent of murders effected by firearm in 2020. (I no longer agree with the opinion expressed in this May 2018 blog, The Truth About the AR-15, but the facts are sounds and useful. Moreover, the contrast demonstrates how a rational person changes his mind in the face of facts. On the other hand, even as late as August 2019, I was still stubbornly resisting the opinion I now hold—and in dramatic moralistic tones. See A Truly Awful Commentary on Gun Control and the Value of Life.)

So Biden is stupid. We get that. (We cannot say his gun talk is the result of diminished capacity because he has always talked about guns in this way.) But his handlers allow him to be stupid because they believe Americans are too dumb to know that Biden is clueless on this subject. That’s not the entire reason; there’s also this: his handlers want the leader of the Democratic Party to repeat clichés and slogans because they know they’re effective among the cultural managers who manufacture attitudes useful to corporate power. But people who understand firearms know bullshit when they hear it. So the effect of his speech is further delegitimization of government in eyes of tens of millions of Americans. Arguably, that’s a good thing. But it is certainly no way to build consensus around gun regulation to talk in a way that tells millions of Americans that you don’t have the first clue about what you’re talking about.

The reality is that most gun death is suicide, with the plurality of those who take their lives being 75 years of age or older (and I think you can figure out why for yourself). Most gun homicides involve handguns, and many are perpetrated during robberies and gang violence, which are largely urban phenomena. Moreover, in these cities, guns are already banned or sharply restricted. We are not dealing with the real crisis at hand. Most homicide victims are black males—and black males are only around six percent of the population. Most perpetrators of homicide are black males. Most perpetrators of robbery are blacks males, as well, and guns are used in a large proportion of these crimes. And most of the the victims are black. (Black Lives Matters were useful for the 2020 color revolution. Not so much for saving black lives in our inner-city poverty areas.)

Progressives spread two false narratives in an attempt to criminalize gun possession (and advance their agenda): (1) mass murder is caused by opponents of open borders and the woke indoctrination of children in public schools, opposition depicted as “white nationalism” (see AOC’s latest rant, which I share here: Bias Coverage of Gun Homicide Distorts Statistical Reality at the Expense of Young Americans); (2) public schools are dangerous places because of the widespread availability of guns. The fact is, as I just explained, most mass murder is perpetrated by street gangs (see How to Misrepresent the Racial Demographics of Mass Murder; The Continuing Media Campaign of Disinformation about Race and Violence; Everything Progressives Say About Mass Shootings is Wrong…and Racist). Mass casualty events at our nations schools are extremely rare. Public schools are among the safest places for children in America. (I have a nuanced position on this. See my blog A Liberal Mugged By Reality. Remember That Old Line?) The unsafe spaces for children in America are largely in our inner cities and progressives are doing nothing to deal with this problem. Indeed, if you talk about it you risk being maligned as “racist.”

There is an odd disconnect. The AR-15 is rarely the instrument of death in gang violence. The Glock 9mm is popular here. The Swedish semi-automatic TEC-9 and its permutations has also been popular historically. It’s also 9mm. The call for comprehensive gun reform leverages the mass shootings perpetrated by most young white males using the AR-15. Yet Biden is talking about the 9mm. Are gun control advocates planning to limit gang violence without talking about gangs violence? One can see the politics necessity a stealth strategy. But is this the way to go about reducing crime in our inner cities? It looks more like a plan to ban everything, from 9mm handguns to AR-15s. If feels like we are being positioned for disarmament, especially with all the talk about “domestic terrorism” and the mobilization of the Department of Homeland Security against American citizens of a particular political persuasion (MDM is the New WMD: DHS Issues a New NTAS Bulletin).

To be sure, there is a violent crime problem in America. As I reported in Bias Coverage of Gun Homicide Distorts Statistical Reality at the Expense of Young Americans, the 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 were by far the most on record, representing an increase of 14 percent over the year before, a twenty-five percent increase from five years prior and a forty-three percent increase from a decade ago. More than half of those were suicides. However, the growth in gun deaths is largely explained by homicide. The nearly 20,000 gun murders in 2020 were the most since at least 1968 (exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 in 1993). When we look at the homicide statistics, the rise in gun deaths is startling. The 2020 total represented a thirty-four percent increase over the previous year, a nearly fifty percent increase over five years and a seventy-five percent increase over 10 years. (See this recent analysis by Pew Research Center.)

While it is true that the gun death rate in the United States is higher than in many other countries, it is still far below the rates in several Latin American countries (according to a 2018 study of 195 countries and territories by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington), countries to which the Biden Administration address his invitation to come to the United States. (See my blogs The Northern Triangle, the Migrant Flow, and the Risk of Criminal Violence and The Interstate System and the Experience of Safe, Orderly Immigration.) But restricting immigration isn’t the only strategy for reducing violent crime in America. We also need more cops on the street. And while we must demand officers obey the Bill of Rights, we need to make sure that public safety is the number one priority in the list of the job duties.

Guns have always been popular in the United States. They are an enduring piece of Americana. I grew up around guns and have no fear of them. Even when I advocated banning certain types of weapons, I did not do so out of fear (but rather out of a misguided understanding of public health). The desire to disarm Americans will likely fail, but not before whipping up more anger and resentment. That in itself can have political benefit by further polarizing—and paralyzing—the proletariat. Guns have become a major ideological element in class warfare, pitting the professional-managerial strata against the working class. But violence is not caused by guns per se. Yes, gun violence does involve the availability of guns; but guns have always been available. The real cause of gun violence is societal disorganization and an uneven commitment to public safety. Fixing those problems requires solidarity, a substance gun hysteria makes elusive. This is not accidental.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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