Green Room

Guns Or Butter

posted at 1:30 am on November 13, 2009 by

Some 15,000 Americans died last year because they didn’t have it. As many as five million more experienced a significant reduction in their quality of life, including mental and emotional trauma as well as diminished health, without it. Although large majorities of those Americans fortunate enough to have it are satisfied with what they have, many of the poor who need it most desperately simply cannot afford it. The government already exercises a great deal of control over it. Lives could be saved if we made its purchase mandatory, and subsidized those of limited means, to make ownership universal.

No, not health care. Guns.

Legal gun ownership by law-abiding citizens brings a dramatic reduction in violent crime. The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, took the novel step of passing an ordinance requiring heads of household to keep at least one firearm in their homes, as reported in this article by Chuck Baldwin of Campaign for Liberty. The law went into effect in 1982, and produced 74% and 45% reductions in violent crime over the next two years, respectively. Despite its population roughly tripling over the course of fifteen years, Kennesaw only had three murders during that time, and two of them were committed with knives.

Of course, extrapolating from little Kennesaw to the entire country is impossible, but studies have repeatedly shown that shall-issue and concealed-carry laws bring reductions in violent crime, while draconian gun control laws cause such crimes to skyrocket. For example, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley recently blamed the Fort Hood shootings on “America’s love affair with guns.” As Madison Conservative pointed out in a Twitter exchange, Chicago experienced 32 shootings in a single weekend, back in April, although it has draconian handgun laws. Similar examples are plentiful. Just about every high-crime area has tough gun control laws.

Approached with simple common sense, the effect of carefully trained, law-abiding gun owners on violent crime is not complicated. Decent people with proper firearms training are not magically transformed into wild-eyed homicidal maniacs by the ownership of a gun. They gain the ability to defend themselves against violent assault, and criminals logically respond by launching such attacks less frequently, since they can no longer be assured of finding easy prey.

The contrary liberal position, that absolute gun confiscation would reduce violent crime, is reasonable on its surface… but it disintegrates completely when confronted with the simple fact that disarming criminals is virtually impossible. Even if it could be done, the will to violence gives criminals a pronounced advantage over lawful citizens, when only primitive weapons are involved.

The atrocity at Fort Hood demonstrates, with horrible clarity, what happens when evil men with guns can act with confidence that no one will be shooting back at them. Arming and training the law-abiding citizens of high-crime areas would make them into hard targets, and improve their quality of life at least as much as socialized medicine. It would also be much cheaper – guns and ammunition cost far less than medical equipment and life-saving drugs, and firearms training requires far less education than a medical degree. Unlike socialized medicine, gun ownership is actually authorized – in fact, guaranteed – by the Constitution. Also, unlike medicine, guns are something the government has expertise with. The federal and state governments employ a great many people who know what they’re talking about, when it comes to firearms.

Of course, universal gun ownership and training wouldn’t bring a whole lot of power to the socialists. In fact, it’s just about their worst nightmare. Nothing makes them more nervous than the thought of a few million liberty-loving souls with pistols in one hand, and tea bags in the other. The government would get to spend some money distributing subsidized guns to the poor, but unlike health care, there would be no long-term dependency and control – none of that exhilarating sense that the State owns its citizens, body and soul.

Since guns are probably a non-starter with the Left, how about butter?

All this shrieking about an ever-changing number of uninsured Americans, creeping nervously through their miserable lives in the shadow of the Grim Reaper, is ridiculous when compared to the more serious threat of starvation. Healthy people usually go for years without needing health care, especially when they’re young… but even the most vivacious teenager will die in a matter of days without food.

Food production and distribution are governed by huge agriculture and grocery companies, including the hellish Wal-Mart, the corporate Mordor of the frenzied Left. Americans spend about $500 billion a year on food, including products like milk and soda that cost almost as much per gallon as gasoline does. We’re notoriously sloppy about the kind of food we consume, resulting in obesity, hypertension, and other health issues that place an enormous strain on our health care system. Surely it’s time to confiscate the obscene profits of Big Food, and strictly regulate the diets of Americans, to “promote the general welfare.” The same people liberals count to produce the scary numbers of uninsured Americans they need to sell socialized medicine – the young, the poor, illegal aliens – need “access” to healthy food!

You might object that no one seems to be starving in America. Well, no one is dying for want of medical care, either – hospitals are required to treat the indigent. That doesn’t stop the Left from dancing around the smoking embers of the Constitution and demanding the power to control the health insurance industry. If the government can force you to buy health insurance, why can’t it force you to eat salad instead of bacon burgers? Forcing Americans to eat properly and exercise, under threat of fines and imprisonment, would reduce our national health care expenditures considerably. Reduced demand means reduced prices. It makes a lot more fiscal sense than pouring two or three trillion dollars we don’t have into a bloated national health care system.

The reason there is no significant starvation in America is because the production and delivery of food is highly efficient and innovative. The shelves of grocery stores are bursting with constantly new-and-improved products. Competition is fierce, bringing reduced prices and increased quality. In our grandparents’ day, food was much more expensive – the average family in 1901 spent half its income on food, compared to just over 13% today… and 42% of our food expenses are incurred while eating out. Food is even more important to life than medicine, it is consumed in far greater volume, and its production and distribution are quite complex… but it’s cheap and plentiful, precisely because it is not produced and distributed by Big Government.

Everything we currently do wrong with health care, and will do even worse if the Democrats have their way, is done right with food. It is vastly better to feed the desperately poor by giving them food stamps to spend in a capitalist grocery store, than to shuffle them off to some kind of State-controlled supply dump. It’s not as if no one ever tried to control food production with collectivist politics. The primary result was mass starvation, every single place on Earth it has been tried. Why is anyone foolish enough to think those collectivist policies will work better when applied to health care?

We should embrace our heritage of limited government, show our fellow citizens the respect due to all free men and women, and reserve those fines and jail terms for politicians who betray their oaths of office by proposing ridiculously unconstitutional socialist power grabs. The choice between guns and butter should be yours.

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Excellent.

Free Constitution on November 13, 2009 at 4:50 AM

Unlike socialized medicine, gun ownership is actually authorized – in fact, guaranteed – by the Constitution.

There you go again. Excellent +1.

publiuspen on November 13, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Wow, Dr. Zero, you impress me time and time again.

Great, GREAT article!!!!!! Well done.

deidre on November 13, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Paragraphs 1-7, agreed. Beyond your example of Kennesaw, there are many local and regional statistics that support your statements. Some may be found here:

http://pagenine.typepad.com/page_nine/

Anecdotal stories abound, even have one of my own, confirming that being armed saves lives.

Five hundred billion/year spent by Americans on food; let’s see, for NancyCare’s price, everyone in America could have their food tab cleared for over two years. Interesting thought. Dumb, but interesting. During WWII most Americans had a Victory Garden. Many Americans continue this pastime/necessity/preference today. And this isn’t counted in many statistics. Certainly it would be difficult to plant a row of corn in Manhattan, but shy of the skyscraper environment, even a couple of tomato plants are pretty simple. That many people also like to hunt and fish as both pleasure and dietary preference makes the case that there is a chasm of thinking between urban dwellers and everyone else. So it only makes sense that there would also be a similar chasm regarding firearms. People unfamiliar with each others’ thought patterns of self sufficiency regarding food are probably inclined to have a similar disparity of thought regarding self preservation via protection.

to “promote the general welfare.”

This is oft misunderstood. Rather than “promote the general welfare” being thought of as a requirement for active involvement in every aspect of citizen’s lives, it should be thought of antithetically, i.e., “do nothing to interfere with the general welfare” of America’s citizens. Make no laws, regulations, restrictive rules, to interfere with the freedom of people to live, grow, nurture themselves, their families, their businesses, and charitable nature. Promote = encourage, not discourage; to raise up, not hold down. So many of the efforts of government seem to have a stifling effect rather than one of promoting self sufficiency and therefore freedom.

Robert17 on November 13, 2009 at 8:56 AM

including the hellish Wal-Mart, the corporate Mordor of the frenzied Left

Love it!

Excellent post, as always.

beachgirlusa on November 13, 2009 at 9:01 AM

+1000

Dr. Zero, Why are you not featured on here every single day? You make so much sense with everything you you write, you should be required reading for everyone in America.

leemax on November 13, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Sorry, Doc, you make too much sense. Not a chance in Hell that these ideas would see the light of day in Washington. But it’s nice to dream…

Great column!

jwolf on November 13, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Great post Doc. Common sense and facts is an unbeatable combo.

Crimefyter on November 13, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Superb piece, Doctor.

MadisonConservative on November 13, 2009 at 9:45 AM

I was just thinking about writing a post similar to the first part of yours (about having the government pay for private gun ownership). Guess you win again, DZ. :-)

Abby Adams on November 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM

If I thought my liberal friends would read this, I would send it to them. Your arguments are air tight, I would love to see a Statist try to rebut your arguments. It is clear that the Left cares much more about controlling the population than about letting them ‘pursue happiness’.

CityFish on November 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

DZ

You have a new fan. Great stuff!!

frizzbee on November 13, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Dr Zero common sense has been suspended in this country. I look forward to your future post on the Suspension of Common Sense.

milemarker2020 on November 13, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Article 1, Section 8 – Powers of Congress:

The Congress shall have Power…

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia…

Militia Act of 1903:
The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard

Alright you slackers in Congress, where is my gun?

agmartin on November 13, 2009 at 1:23 PM

I wonder if the name changed from tea-partyer’s to Militia if the government & media would pay attention?

SWChance on November 13, 2009 at 2:17 PM

The reason there is no significant starvation in America is because the production and delivery of food is highly efficient and innovative.

According to USDA in 2007 10.6% of adults are food-insecure and 16.9% of children are as well.

How innovative. If only those hungry people had guns….

The Calibur on November 13, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Well, if the government can require us to purchase health insurance as a condition of legal citizenship, I say the next GOP-controlled Congress require us all to own firearms and take courses in how to use them.

Kafir on November 13, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Guns allow butter to be made.

Fletch54 on November 13, 2009 at 4:30 PM

The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, took the novel step of passing an ordinance requiring heads of household to keep at least one firearm in their homes, as reported in this article by Chuck Baldwin of Campaign for Liberty. The law went into effect in 1982, and produced 74% and 45% reductions in violent crime over the next two years, respectively.

Rudy Giuliani would disagree with you Dr Zero:
http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Rudy_Giuliani_Gun_Control.htm

Q: Some gunowners say they never felt safe in your city because of its gun control laws. What do you have to say to them?

A: I would say to them the FBI would disagree with that. New York City was, during the years that I was mayor, the safest large city in the United States. For example, in Boston, there was a 59% greater chance you’d be the victim of a crime than in New York City. In many other cities, there was 100% to 300% greater chance that you’d be a victim of a crime than in New York City. One of the things I accomplished as mayor of New York City was the impossible. I took a city that was the crime capital of America, and I made it not only the safest large city in America, I made it safer than 189 small cities. So, I mean, people have their right to their own feelings. The reality is, you were safer in New York than just about any other city in the United States after I was mayor for about three or four years.
Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Of course, universal gun ownership and training wouldn’t bring a whole lot of power to the socialists. In fact, it’s just about their worst nightmare. Nothing makes them more nervous than the thought of a few million liberty-loving souls with pistols in one hand, and tea bags in the other.

Garbage. Nothing stopping all law abiding-citizens from getting a gun legally in America.

Norman Blizter on November 13, 2009 at 4:35 PM

[lib]Yes but what about Europe[/lib]

Sharke on November 13, 2009 at 4:48 PM

But, but, guns kill people! Of course. That’s why criminals don’t like it when the innocent carry them.

Imagine how the scene at Fort Hood goes if he’s in a room full of armed soldiers.

hawksruleva on November 13, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Garbage. Nothing stopping all law abiding-citizens from getting a gun legally in America.

Norman Blizter on November 13, 2009 at 4:35 PM

YET.

And it ain’t for lack of trying.

Thune on November 13, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Norman, hate to break it to you (oh, who am I kidding?) but Rudy was using gun control in hyper-liberal-dominated New York City as a pretext for a crackdown on gangbangers. Only folks walking the streets of NYC at 2 in the AM with guns were cab drivers, bodega owners, or gangbangers—guess which ones they concentrated on?

You see, the problem the NYPD had was that the folks who feted the Black Panthers in Radical Chic were the same guys who would fund hot and cold running lawyers for every gangbanger out there. You pick one up, he went through that revolving door back out on the street. Until Rudy played the Gun Control card. You see, either the rich lefties had to defend the gangbangers’totally un-chic Second Amerndment rights, or get out of the way and let Rudy throw their criminal butts in jail.

Sekhmet on November 13, 2009 at 4:57 PM

According to USDA in 2007 10.6% of adults are food-insecure and 16.9% of children are as well.

How innovative. If only those hungry people had guns….

The Calibur on November 13, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Gosh, we should just stop farming, then. If America isn’t the world’s breadbasket, who is? It’s not the farmer’s fault that there are hungry folks. Why don’t those people move out west and start up their own farm? Oh, that’s right, they’re too lazy. They think the government should buy them 3 square + liquor + cigarettes + cable.

hawksruleva on November 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM

They think the government should buy them 3 square + liquor + cigarettes + cable.

hawksruleva

and condoms and abortions.

beachgirlusa on November 13, 2009 at 5:02 PM

The reason there is no significant starvation in America is because the production and delivery of food is highly efficient and innovative.

According to USDA in 2007 10.6% of adults are food-insecure and 16.9% of children are as well.

How innovative. If only those hungry people had guns….

The Calibur on November 13, 2009 at 3:38 PM

It says something amazing about this country that we can’t even compute a real rate for honest-to-God hunger. Instead, we come up with “food insecurity.”

According to the USDA, this means:

Food insecurity is limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

In other words, if you EVER ask “huh, wonder what I’m having for lunch,” you are food insecure.

Wah.

Abelard on November 13, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Great article, Doc (again).

Abelard on November 13, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Excellent.

rukiddingme on November 13, 2009 at 5:29 PM

I have the answer. Pelosi should require everyone to buy government food just after they buy their health insurance. With their leftover savings they could pick up a pistol every week and arm the whole family. Wait………We could just pass out the guns our soldiers aren’t allowed to carry.

prophetsfather on November 13, 2009 at 5:32 PM

This was an absolutely great article. I’m saving this one.

El_Terrible on November 13, 2009 at 6:33 PM

the hellish Wal-Mart, the corporate Mordor of the frenzied Left.

Beachgirl beat me to it! Another great metaphor and another home run, Doctor Zero. Do you do speaking engagements?

doctormom on November 13, 2009 at 7:01 PM

I’m glad Doctor Zero is writing for us conservatives! I don’t think liberals would “get him” because they reflexively want to deny all his acumen and wisdom.
.
Encouraging liberals to read Doctor Zero may give rise to the modified aphorism “You can lead a leftist to water but you can’t make them think.”

ExpressoBold on November 13, 2009 at 7:17 PM

“If the government can force you to buy health insurance, why can’t it force you to eat salad instead of bacon burgers?”

God, don’t give them any more ideas, Doc. They’re working on it already as it is. Incrementally (trans fat bans, soda taxes, etc), of course, just as always.

Mike H on November 13, 2009 at 7:25 PM

The contrary liberal position, that absolute gun confiscation would reduce violent crime, is reasonable on its surface… but it disintegrates completely when confronted with the simple fact that disarming criminals is virtually impossible. Even if it could be done, the will to violence gives criminals a pronounced advantage over lawful citizens, when only primitive weapons are involved.

OK Libs, how would we have subdued Hasan had he chose to use a mace instead and there were no guns?

ericdijon on November 14, 2009 at 9:39 AM