Insights: Common Sense

The perils of law taking over for moral imperatives.
Insights: Common Sense

It seems that whenever government attempts to save citizens from themselves, more problems are created than are solved.

Societies work smoothly and efficiently when mores guide most behavior and when laws merely fill in the cracks where mores may have left a degree of ambiguity. But when laws replace mores, there need to be draconian rules to take care of the same business that a handful of mores took care of before. This is because behaviors tend to keep themselves in check when there are moral imperatives, but they fight over minutia when the laws take over.

What this nation needs these days is a healthy dose of common sense to repair tears and holes in the social fabric that have resulted from moral decay and neglect. Specifically, I want to discuss police actions and reactions on the street, with keen focus on airguns and real guns and how increasing laws involving these products affect everyone — not just the enforcers, but everyone from the makers through the sellers to the end users.

We seem to have difficulty differentiating between perception and reality in our society. This problem is manifest on all sides of social issues, with no clear-cut ownership of either concept by any particular political leaning.

Paramount in the confusion is the inability to distinguish fact from truth. An easy way to tell the difference is that a fact is reality and a truth is an interpretation of fact. Which means that there can be, and usually are, several truths for every fact.

In general terms, this reality comes to the fore when a citizen dies at the hands of police — whether shot, choked or in some other way made dead. These situations usually involve some level of an instant, on-the-fly decision by law enforcement officers, who then are held to strict standards by Monday-morning quarterbacks.

It is amazing how some folks will recoil against any hint of “profiling” in some things, but tend to be the vanguard of those calling for ways to “profile” gun types of things. They want distinctive coloring of non-guns to help differentiate them from real guns. Sounds innocent enough until one takes a closer look.

In theory, the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is a very simple and straightforward amendment for which there should be no extended discussion other than to agree that it means what it says and then move on.

But it really doesn’t address toy guns and other things that look like guns — even hair dryers, for example.

Here is where the penchant to make new laws enters the picture. Every time anything untoward happens just about anywhere and involving just about anything, there are those within the Whine-ocracy who want to make another law, because they believe laws can solve all problems.

But then they have to make still more laws to straighten out things that were bent askew by the earlier laws — and on, and on. The law of unintended consequences is in full force in this regard.

So we have a situation where folks want to make laws about colors on toy guns — and even some airguns now — in an effort to help alleviate misidentification of the “gun” by law enforcement officers who are trying to do their job on the streets.

Never mind that if society had not already over-taxed the police with legal minutia, their heads might be clearer to process other things, like whether a gun is a toy or the real thing. But logic does not always apply. Some folks seem to believe that it is more important to DO SOMETHING, even if it is the wrong thing.

Some have suggested that certain gun parts be painted orange — maybe the whole gun orange, clear or something that is different from a classic real gun.

Okay, if they do that, then do they also not need to make still more laws regarding real guns? Because otherwise, a person could paint a real gun similarly to a toy gun and defeat the entire purpose of the overregulation in the first place.

Guns are already overregulated regarding appearance. What some folks consider to be an intimidating look is enough to cause them to push for laws to ban such guns, just because to their uneducated eyes the gun looks menacing.

My point is that we simply have too many laws — too many to the point that they get in the way of curing the problems they originally were intended address.

In the end, the answer is to have fewer laws, and then to enforce those that are left properly, fairly and efficiently. Individually we’d all be better off — and collectively as a society, we’d also be better off. It’s like a social cure-all double-tap.


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