Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New York Times gets it backwards

I happen to think most the reporting of the New York Times is pretty decent. I think much of the editorialising is crap. The New York Times is a quality newspaper and only an uninformed fool would say otherwise. But it is also biased and only an uninformed fool would say otherwise to that as well.

Often the bias is called “liberal” which is incorrect. It is not liberal. It is statist, perhaps socialist to some degree but not liberal. Liberal means for freedom. Sometimes they are for freedom. Often they aren’t.

In their editorial regarding the tragic shooting of Amish school girls by a deranged monster they almost get it right. They say that the killer might have sought out this school because “because he knew that it belonged to a trusting, insular community, where there would be no one to stop him from entering with a shotgun, a rifle and an automatic pistol.”

Very close I suspect. But he knew these people were unarmed and opposed to using weapons. It was not just easy to enter with a gun but safe to do so. As I mentioned in my essay below not even the surrounding farmers, themselves Amish, would have been armed due to religious beliefs about such matters.

The paper notes this is the third school shooting in a week. True. But they don’t ask why it is that “gun free zones” like schools end up the targets so out of proportion to reality.

In an attempt to say something profound (I suspect) they write: “There are no simple solutions to this conflict. It is neither possible nor tolerable to secure every school or guard every child. Nor is it possible or politically tolerable to keep tabs on every gun. But in these killings we see an open society threatened by the ubiquity of its weapons, in which one kind of freedom is allowed to trump all others. Most gun owners are respectable, law-abiding citizens. But that is no reason to acquit the guns.”

They attribute the killings to the “ubiquity” of weapons in America. Are guns really omnipresent and everywhere? NO! Schools are gun free zones. It is one the place in America where there is a total ban on the carrying of firearms. Consider this. There were several adults in the school at the time of the assault. None had weapons. What if were widely known that Amish adults were armed at all times. Would you, as a lone gunman, walk into a room with several armed adults and try to take them hostage? Not likely.

The fact is that guns are not ubiquitous. They are absent from the very place where these shootings take place.

Next the Times makes the mistake of a philosophical illiterate by saying that “one kind of freedom [gun ownership] is allowed to trump all others.” There is this typical statist canard that rights are in conflict and the right to carry weapons somehow infringes the rights of others. It does not. Drunk drivers use alcohol to kill. That doesn’t mean the right to drink conflicts with the right to life. Nor does it mean that car ownership is in conflict with the property rights of others. There is no conflict between rights.

Using a weapon to kill innocent people is not a right. Whether this man used a gun, a hatchet, of fertiliser set up as a bomb is not the issue. He was a killer and he got away with it because he knew in advance that he would face no resistance of equal or superior power to his own.

The Times acknowledges that most “gun owners are respectable, law-abiding citizens. But this no reason to acquit the guns.” What!

A gun is an immaterial object with no will of its own and not ability to act in any way. It is acted upon. It is like a brick thrown by a thug, a knife used by a villain, or the fertiliser used by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City.

We got over blaming alcohol for the criminal stupidity of drunk drivers. The Times would be in hysterics if someone proposed censorship because porn allegedly leads to rapes. And it is equally silly to blame inanimate objects for the actions of thinking, wilful beings who choose to do bad things.