The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? And does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.
The philosopher is Cesare Beccaria, an Italian jurist who greatly influenced the penal theories of modern Europe and America. The quote is from his 1764 tome, On Crimes and Punishments. It is available on Kindle.
What makes me laugh is that progressives are perfectly willing to apply this logic to the Drug War, but somehow pretend that the same government that is unable to control the trade in crystal meth will somehow be able to prevent the trade in firearms.
The reaction of the progressive types to shootings have a quality of ritual to them. It’s rather like starting a witch hunt after a bad harvest or a cholera epidemic. A handful of bogeys are always invoked:
- We blame the Right. The killer may have been some Tea Party type. Because, you know, they’re so prone to violence.
- We blame Pop Culture. This guy was trying to be Batman, because Batman is known for his skill with a shotgun. Violent images make people violent. Or maybe it was the music that he listened to, or the video games he played.
- We blame the lack of regulation of the weapon. Guns make people use them. Never mind that making guns completely illegal stands about as good a chance of working as making heroin illegal has; if there were no guns, dangerous psychotics would have to use their fists. Or, you know, make a bomb out of fertilizer.
They cannot accept the plain truth that things like this are beyond their ability to prevent. Their ideology compels them to pretend that with just the right regulatory cocktail, these things would disappear. They probably privately suspect otherwise, but never mind. The creed must be proclaimed allowed, lest someone question your devotion to Social Justice.
In the meantime, 13 are dead and we still don’t know why. I fear we never will.