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History and Technology Invalidate All Reasonable Gun Control

BigManOnCampusMar 27, 2018, 2:36:48 PM

It's hard to believe any historically or technologically aware person thinks they can get rid of guns or gun violence in America with a law, any law. It can be harder to imagine people think trying is a good idea.

We tried changing our culture with laws back during the saloon days with prohibition. You see, a small number of Americans turned into alcoholics and destroyed their families as a result of the new widespread availability of hard distilled liquors. The Americans of the time thought this was horrible (naturally) and decided that the alcohol was the problem, rather than mental health. So they banned alcohol. The result of that was 14 years of turning most ordinary Americans who could handle their liquor into criminals. It got so bad at the height of prohibition that virtually every office in Washington D.C. had alcohol, even though it was against the law. Lawyers, seeing how much money the bootleggers were making, left their lives and careers of defending the law to become some of the most profitable lawbreakers in American history. Ordinary Americans living in an increasingly affluent America laughed at the law of the land, which frankly was the beginning of the end of respect for America as an experiment of rule by law. This attempt to banish certain behavior with laws resulted in a serious and long-lasting erosion of respect for the law itself. There are some law experts who think we never recovered. 

Also interesting in relation to the gun argument is that part of the reason the 18th amendment passed is because the people calling for prohibition were singing a song of "moderation" not "prohibition". This meant that the population was convinced (by the anti-saloon league and other lobbying efforts) that there was no effort to ban alcohol altogether, just hard liquor. However as soon as the 18th amendment was passed, congress immediately passed the Volstead Act which made any liquid with more than 0.5 percent alcohol an illegal substance to sell or manufacture, even for personal consumption. So the people who said, "We're not out to ban all alcohol" were lying. And the people who trusted that their federal government would never ban "a thing" were historically wrong.

Prohibition failed. As a result of it we created a decade and a half of massively increased crime, significant disrespect for the law and law enforcement (since they were tasked with interfering with people's individual choices to consume a thing) and near-complete corruption of our political process in some areas by organized crime fed by the desire to drink alcohol. We came to our senses and repealed it 14 years later with the 21st amendment.

We've tried changing our culture of hard drugs with laws against drug possession, use, sale and manufacture. You see, a small number of Americans turn into drug addicts and destroy their lives and families as a result of drugs. We Americans think this is horrible (naturally) and decided over 30 years ago that hard drugs were the problem, rather than mental health. So we banned hard drugs. The results of that have been over 3 decades now of a drug war that has not kept hard drugs out of America. It has instead provided such a lucrative industry to lesser-developed southern neighbors that their politics have been perennially corrupted by drug money and destroyed many many thousands of their lives as a result of America banning drugs. We literally exported the exact same corruption that we suffered during prohibition to many of our southern Latin neighbors. We've provided funding for significant human smuggling operations powered by the fact that these smuggled humans ignorantly carry drugs as part of their deal. We've literally provided the conditions under which humans are smuggled into the United States even 100+ years after the importation of African slaves was abolished.

We've done all this and yet drugs are still here, in fact some Americans simply manufacture these drugs in their own homes, a result of internet information sharing and the easy availability of the initial components. We've turned ordinary Americans who are addicts into criminals and thrown them in prison when they would otherwise be law-abiding citizens. The criminalizing of these substances provides income for gangs, which provides avenues for fatherless boys to fall in with the wrong way of life. Nothing has changed, the drug war continues, but drugs are still here, and people's lives are still being destroyed. All we've done by criminalizing it is we've turned more Americans into criminals than would otherwise be.

We've still never fully addressed the mental health reasons people turn to drugs. There is even more research on this topic now (than during prohibition) that demonstrates that mental health problems lead to drug addiction, not the other way around and yet we don't wake up and stop the drug war. We know that people with a history of child abuse more often turn to drugs than any other group, but instead of rigorously policing incidents of child abuse and discouraging incomplete families financially in order to reduce bad parenting we try to ban a "thing". Welcome to America, we don't learn that humans with bad thoughts in their head due to mental health problems are the source of social ills, we instead turn adults with these solvable problems into criminals and subject them to a system that only reinforces their terrifying opinion of humanity.

Now people think it's a good idea to ban certain types of guns, or even all guns. If our history of failure to recognize that the mental health of a small number of Americans is causing problems rather than a "thing" doesn't make this sound absurd, the advancement of technology should. Since the late 1990s, easy-to-use software and increasingly inexpensive accurate robotics have entered into mainstream home hobbyist circles. This has created a hobbyist sphere so capable that it would make the 1970's era Radio Shack lover lose their mind in glee. This includes home 3D printing of any object you want into a plastic material, and fully-computer-controlled machine tools capable of turning a block of aluminium into a lower or upper (minus barrel) receiver of any gun with just electricity, a single instruction file, and time. We've now got fully-unstoppable internet filesharing in the form of the torrent networks and protocols. It is impossible to prevent two individuals from transferring the instructions to either 3D print or CNC machine the gun parts they need, to say nothing of instruction videos on how to load your own ammunition. You would have to shut down the internet to prevent middle-class homes from being able to know how to do these things. CNC machines are as inexpensive as a high-end computer and a trip to Harbor Freight and Hackaday. There is simply no physical way to enforce a legal barrier to home gun manufacture without turning all western nations into totalitarian regimes like North Korea where all activity of the population is controlled and monitored. And if you think that 3D printing will stop at plastic material, think again. People are already 3D printing directly into metal, and it's only a matter of time before that process is miniaturized into something that can fit into a middle-class budget.

This is to say nothing of the absurdity of trying to ban specific gun features in some ridiculous attempt to prevent evildoers from doing evil. We allow ibuprofen to be sold in stores, but we ban cocaine... but we still have cocaine on our streets. Clearly targeted bans against certain drugs don't work, so why would people think bans against "certain guns or gun features" would work? The southern border with Mexico is still there, so American criminals can always just go to Mexico and purchase a gun from anyone there who is willing to sell to Americans. The internet is still here, so people can share the recipes and computer-instructions for automating their own CNC machines for gun or gun-feature manufacture. 3D printing is still here, computer-driven CNC machining has been here a while. How exactly would any gun or "gun-feature" ban in America have any effect at all unless you're willing to create a 50-foot wall on the entire southern border, censor the internet like China does, regulate the sale of machine tools to private citizens, and ban 3D printing except with a license? What other choice do you have if you're trying to prevent gun violence from taking innocent lives?

We know that every single mass shooter had mental health problems, or brain tumors. We know this, but we do nothing to address those mental health issues and instead we try to change the constitution and lie about how we "don't want to ban guns". It's a lie. It was a lie when we banned alcohol. It was a lie when we banned drugs. This is absolutely what the anti-gun protests/lobby-groups are about, they want to eliminate a "thing" by legislative paper instead of saying "good morning neighbor, how is the family today?" on a regular basis. America is in full responsibility-retreat mode, everyone is convinced that social ills will be solved with legislation, not the hard work of positive person-to-person interaction and attention to self-destructive thoughts in our fellow man on a national scale.

Banning alcohol was the wrong move to stop alcoholism, we should have focused on individual mental health problems and everyone who is sane realizes this. Banning drugs was the wrong move to stop drug addiction, we should have focused on individual mental health problems and everyone who is sane realizes this. But somehow, banning Guns will solve a clear mental health problem and eliminate mass shootings, even though failing to recognize and solve a mental health issue and instead performing a knee-jerk "thing-ban" has only caused problems in our history. When are American's going to learn that solving social ills requires hard work, not some easy-path, pass-a-law-and-give-the-feds-more-power solution. You can't change people with laws, you change people who have bad thoughts stuck in their head by talking to them, listening to them, including them, giving them space in which to feel safe in what they feel is the way to live. When are we going to learn to do the hard work of making our neighbors truly friends and in so doing create communities that have far more power to prevent crime than any government system? When we learn that lesson is when we finally become worthy of the freedom given to us by those who came before us.

You can't stop people from getting alcohol in America, trying to do so with a law simply turns ordinary Americans into criminals and forces them to behave as criminals to survive. You can't stop people from getting drugs in America, trying to do so with a law simply turns ordinary Americans into criminals and forces them to behave as criminals to survive. You can't stop people from getting guns in America if they want them,  Trying to do so with a law will only turn ordinary Americans into criminals and force them to behave as criminals in order to survive.