Yesterday, I wrote that the most important thing to do in the midst of this anti-gun mania is to keep your cool, think rationally, and avoid appeals to emotion.
Today, Joe Scarborough says that “Friday changed everything” and that “From this day forward, we can never be the same again.” He goes on to indicate that he no longer believes in the right to sell powerful weapons, or even in the right to produce violent movies.
A reasonably skeptical person might ask: what has changed? Did Friday’s shooting cause some rift in the space-time continuum, so that human nature is no longer what it used to be?
Before Friday, I saw no reason to believe that gun control could eliminate guns any more effectively than drug prohibition has eliminated marijuana or cocaine. How did Friday change that? Did it make government omnipotent, able to monitor every kind of human interaction and stop any kind of prohibited dealing in its tracks? If so, did it make omnipotent government suddenly more desirable than it was on Thursday?
Did it make it so that people will simply acquiesce in prohibitions of goods that carry an independent consumer demand? Did it suddenly make guns (or marijuana, cocaine, meth, and whatever else) undesirable to all the people who found them desirable on Thursday? Can black markets for prohibited goods no longer exist, after Friday? And will criminals no longer access black markets to find prohibited items?
Will the threat of armed citizens no longer deter criminals from committing crimes after Friday? Is it no longer the case that armed citizens, even if they don’t succeed in actually stopping a shooting, are at least better positioned to stop one than unarmed citizens? Or, did the police on Friday suddenly stumble upon some instant teleportation technology, so that they can be on the scene as soon as the criminal starts shooting, making private gun ownership unnecessary?
If these arguments were valid on Thursday, why are they invalid on Friday? As far as I can tell, all Scarborough’s argument amounts to is: “I used to support gun rights, but then I saw too many shootings, so now I support gun control.” That’s not a real argument; it is just an appeal to emotion that fails to address any of the concerns that gun-rights supporters have. But just because Scarborough has fallen prey to emotionalism doesn’t mean the rest of us should.