Jerry Askew, SVP Governmental Relations, Tennova Healthcare
"Given the increasing violence against health care workers that we see across the nation, particularly in emergency rooms, I don't think we have any choice but to maintain our position against the introduction of more weapons at our hospitals."
Bill Ozier, Chairman, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(Referencing recent shootings in Colorado, etc.) "I'm not sure having more people armed is the answer to all of that."
As a libertarian the entire debate on whether the Tennessee legislature should or should not "allow" individuals who "lawfully" posses firearms to store their arms in private automobiles whilst on private property doesn't make sense.
- First, by what authority does the Tennessee legislature grant or deny a sovereign individual the permission to negotiate with another party to contractually and consensually transfer ownership of an object?
- Second, does the authority under which the legislature is authorized to do the first (if such an authorization even exists) also allow the legislature to regulate private activities on private property that do not encroach upon the rights of neighboring individuals?
I find it interesting how many people in modern-day America hold the belief that firearms posses an innate ability to through some invisible, mystical force compel people towards violent acts. In the quotes above from the Tennessean, Mr. Askew and Mr. Ozier both seem to hold this belief. Mr. Askew appears to think that firearms sitting in parked vehicles at his hospitals will increase violence against his nurses and doctors. Mr. Ozier thinks that an increase in the number of victims carrying a firearm would not be a preventative measure against violent acts as those we've seen in Colorado and Wisconsin.
What would society's reaction be to these two men if, for example, Mr. Ozier and Mr. Askew had provided statements implying that the legislature should require people to keep photos of smiling babies in their vehicles so as to decrease violence at work? I would think both men would be lauded as crazies and asked to resign from their positions of leadership, and rightfully so. Why then, is society's reaction to an equally insane belief so different? What makes the idea of one inanimate object having an effect on violence within a certain radius so different from thinking that another object has the same, but opposite, effect?
Guns, in and of themselves, do not cause violence or influence people towards it. Violent people use guns to commit violent acts just as before the advent of the gun they used clubs, fire, bill hooks, and blades. How do these people become inclined towards violence? Butler Shaffer has a theory I tend to agree with. (Spoiler: it doesn't involve Mr. Smith seeing a gun lying in a car and realizing that Cindy just went too far with her comment about his cat and needs to die.)
My main argument here is for us to stop debating the insane secondary issues and focus on the main issues.
- Why are some people (disproportionately male) moved to commit violent acts?
- Might it be the psychoactive drugs we overly prescribe to our children?
- Might it be, as Shaffer points out, our society's focus on war as a solution?
- Might it be our recent total dependance on government for protection?
- Why are we debating about inanimate objects instead of real societal issues?
- If guns really do influence people towards violence, why would we want firearms solely controlled by the government?
There are no easy answers to acts of mass violence. There will always be disturbed people. Instead of going on a wild goose chase to hunt down and regulate a tool used by these violent people why don't we discuss what we can do as a society to prevent any tool of violence from being used in the first place?