(begin ital) "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve."
-- H.L. Mencken (end ital)
Years ago, in a heated conversation with a friend, I wondered why the most ignorant about guns and other weapons are the first to demand control or confiscation. The answer, of course, is they live afraid.
Watching the anti-gun ninnies milking the horrific killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., it is easy to see that ignorance hard at work.
It matters not a whit to gun-control proponents that their ideas are half-baked, or that they will not work -- even in a police state. It does not matter to them that many Americans never will bend to the government's will; that there are people they really do not want to turn into outlaws.
Worse, is any of it necessary? For 2010, the last year for available data, more people were beaten to death than were killed with rifles. In 2011, more died from hammers than AR-15s. Homicide, it turns out, is not even in the Centers for Disease Control's Top 15 causes of death anymore.
No matter. Joe Biden, überführer for President Barack Obama's "We must do something" blitzkrieg on guns, warns the president may use executive orders to end-run the Constitution and a balky Congress. He should ask failed presidential hopeful Al Gore what the last silly gun ban did for Democrats.
"There is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people" as much as the image of "little 6-year-olds riddled .. with bullet holes" in their classrooms, Biden says.
He joins anti-gun forces who are reveling in the carnage for crass political advantage. Politicians, mostly Democrats - the Feinsteins, the Bloombergs, the Obamas - are cashing in on the shock of Sandy Hook to peddle the same, tired offal they have offered before. Universal background checks. Registration. Banning high-capacity magazines. Gun bans.
Americans are not buying in. They know better. Gun sales are skyrocketing, ammunition is like gold and gun shows? Packed. The fear is that the government is every bit as stupid as we suspect. After watching the stampede to secure more gun control before Americans lose focus it is easy to understand.
Take the 30-round magazine controversy, for instance. Do-gooders see them as evil and want them banned. Apparently, these folks never have changed magazines in a rifle or pistol. It can be done in the blink of an eye. Three 10-round magazines or six five-round magazines or one 30-rounder. No matter. There is no appreciable difference in the time it takes to send 30 bullets down-range. A ban would not save a single life.
What about the tremendously popular AR-15 rifles? Perhaps the most sought-after rifle in the United States, it is modular, flexible, expensive, easily customized and well-suited for hunting critters such as feral pigs and coyotes. It also is the poster rifle for anti-gunners.
As configured for civilians, it most certainly is not an "assault" rifle -- except to the brain dead. It may look like a military weapon, but is not, just as a Yugo looked like a car. There are about 3 million AR-15s in use for hunting, marksmanship practice or competition. The rifle's popularity may be tied to the millions of veterans intimately acquainted with them. About half the AR-15 owners are veterans, law enforcement officers, or both. Banning them because a handful were misused is moronic.
Then there is this: Even as the number of firearms swells nationally and more states are offering concealed-carry permits, the crime rate and incidence of violence are dropping. Even the number of mass public killings is not increasing, despite claims by hysterics
There is a flaw in theories about the increase of mass shootings, James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist in Boston, wrote for Boston.com. "And that is that mass shootings have not increased in number or in overall body count, at least not over the past several decades."
Freedom is sometimes messy, unwieldy, tragic and frightening. But should we give it up because of hysteria?
When all the arguments are made there is but one truth: Gun control will not work. Ever. The worst part? Millions of Americans would refuse to comply.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.