Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Didn't do Anything Wrong

Personal responsibility is a concept necessary to a fair and just society. Even from childhood, we understand that those who do wrong should be punished for their deeds. Just as important, those who are innocent of a crime should not lose their freedoms simply because they share interests, characteristics, looks, philosophies, or whatever, with the accused. In the end, each lives or dies, stands or falls, on the consequences of the choices he or she has made.

In this current culture of fear, we see the continued erosion of this very basic and necessary fact. It is much easier for our leaders to call press conferences announcing bans, than it is for them to acknowledge that we have a personal will and make choices without regard to laws. If we are law-abiding by nature, we will obey laws, not just because they are written, but because we are law-abiding. Those who respect no laws, will follow no laws, no matter how great the intention, no matter how harsh the punishment. Not because the law is not strong enough, but because they are criminals. It is their nature. The law, to them, does not matter.

But, to accept that simple truth means accepting that laws cannot protect man from all evil. Laws cannot create a safe society. Utopia cannot be legislated into existence. A necessary byproduct of any freedom is the understanding that some will abuse it. The cure is not to eliminate the freedom, but to punish the abuser.

We fear global warming, so we restrict personal choices. We fear obesity, so we ban or tax certain foods. We fear failure, so we put our future into hock so we can protect inefficient and wasteful companies. We fear danger, so we legislate or sue companies into creating useless warnings and gadgets to make up for common sense. It has become so impersonal. No longer is the individual responsible for anything. We now want to trust Big Government to legislate, federal-rule and executive-order us into a safe, rainbow-framed paradise where no one fears and no one is ever hurt.

Once again, we hear another story of someone coming unglued and murdering people using a firearm. Predictably, the choruses warm up and blame the violence on guns (not the shooter, mind you, but the guns). Then, we hear renewed calls for an increase in “responsible” gun laws. There are no calls for increased personal responsibility from the criminals. No. See, that does not bring votes. That is not easy to quantify. A dead criminal, though now subject to the ultimate justice, is too gory for us to accept. It’s easier to create useless legislation. The only solution, it seems, is to summarily lump all gun owners with the criminals.

That’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong.

I was not at Virginia Tech when someone gave in to his demons and killed 32 people. I did not assist a killer when he entered an Amish schoolhouse and took the lives of five girls. I have never been to Westroads Mall, and thus was not there when another mad criminal killed 9 people. I was not at the L.A. Fitness Center when a shooter became the personification of evil.

In each instance, I was minding my own business, obeying the laws that govern me. I had no involvement in any of those horrific crimes. So don’t punish me for their evil. Don’t hide behind a flimsy curtain of safety to claim that I have to deal with more firearms restrictions in the childish hope that those who think and do evil will somehow behave. My freedom pays the price for your impossible dream. I find it offensive that elected leaders believe they have the right to hang over my shoulder, and chip away at my freedoms, simply because they believe some stranger somewhere will create hurt in the future.

Evil will be evil. Criminals will be criminals. If they ignore the laws against murder, they’ll ignore the laws against firearms. Only I, and those who respect laws, will follow them. This, I think, is ironic. Between the criminal and I, only I will be affected by any new restrictions.

And I’m the one who did nothing wrong.


Bob S. said...

Excellent Sir, simply excellent work.

Quoted part of this the other day on my blog. Hope it gets read far and wide.

Lawyer said...

Thanks for the link!