‘Well, he should’ve armed himself…’

Whenever a person uses a gun to kill a lot of people who don’t have guns, gun enthusiasts lament the gunlessness of the murdered.

Perhaps they didn’t want a gun.

The gun control debate focuses, usually, on the feelings and needs of the gun-wanters. While the law assures their right to guns, it also assures a person’s right to not have a gun and, more importantly, to not be shot by a gun.

Gun fans declaim gun-free zones and gun control laws as pointless. They posit that criminals will ignore both and, render neutered, those zones and laws. But the problem with gun-free zones is that they don’t work unless there are proportionately strong gun control laws. The United States — where there are almost enough guns for each of the 322 million Americans to have one — does not have proportionately strong gun laws. And that makes statements like this, at best, propaganda and, at worst, mendacious bullshit.

“The president wants to blame an inanimate object — the gun,” Erich Pratt wrote Thursday on the Gun Owners of America website, following the murder of nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church. “But that just deflects blame away from the real culprit: Gun control policies that leave people defenseless in the face of evil perpetrators who are never effectively prevented from acquiring weapons.”

The United States doesn’t really have gun control policies, especially compared to many of America’s peer nations, where, statistically, people get shot less. Despite the assertions of Pratt and Pratt-like beings everywhere, most people can have a gun in the U.S. It’s just that not everyone wants guns. And most people probably don’t want to live in a place where they need a gun to just maybe survive leaving their house.

The implicit suggestion of the well-he-should-have-armed-himself logic is that everyone should have a gun because anyone could have a gun, and if you don’t want to be killed by a bad guy with a gun, you need to be a good guy with a gun.

It’s a sophistic argument that presumes any everyday schlub can win an impromptu firefight in, for example, a middle school, where everyone else is armed, too. And there won’t be any collateral damage, either, because good guys only shoot bad guys.

The U.S. military, according to its website, trains infantryman for 14 weeks. Basic training is 10 weeks. To buy a gun in Virginia, my home state, you don’t even need a license. But sure, a few weekends at the range and it’ll be fine. Ammo-up, Citizen Hero.

This is absolute mental impotence.

This logic blames the victims for not wanting to live in nineteenth-century Arizona. It puts the feelings of mewling gun-fetishists ahead of public safety. It, egregiously, assumes that we can trust people — those mostly untrained wielders of user-friendly death — to make lethal choices and be responsible for our lives.

There is a middle ground, and it’s not forcing everyone to carry a gun.

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