Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Second Amendment Right to Kill You

cross-posted at Dagblog

Someone with an assault rifle shot up the University of Texas today. And then he killed himself. I'm pretty nauseated just writing that first sentence, considering UT's history. No one is dead but the guman, who shot himself.

Ten days ago someone else walked into Harvard Yard with a handgun, stood on the chapel steps, and killed himself in full view of a tour group. It was Yom Kippur. He left a nineteen-hundred-page suicide note, detailing his inability to get past sophomore philosophy questions.

In related sophomore-logic problems, one commenter on UT-Austin's emergency alert page used this to argue for more guns on campus.

Andrew Kelling said on September 28, 2010

This is exactly why we need to allow concealed carry on campus, so that if this shooter had decided to open fire, he would've been stopped long before he would have done much damage

That's one deep dedication to the counter-factual there, Andrew. Although the shooter harmed no one but himself under the current gun laws, it proves a need for even looser gun laws which "would've" hypothetically prevented him from doing any harm. Let's imagine things went even worse than they did, but then imagine that something else magically solved the problem. When your guarantee of public safety rests on not just one but a series of contingent events working out in your favor, I'd say you've just stepped down from the planning commitee. But Andrew's just working with ideas that are already out there, ideas which are so committed to everyone's freedom to have an AK-47 that no real world evidence can possibly interfere.

Apparently, we are committed to the Second Amendment, and committed to it everywhere, even in places dedicated to strengthening the mind and spirit. Thanks to the Founders' commitment to intellectual liberty and philosophical ideals, there is nowhere in this country where the life of the mind cannot be cut short with a small piece of lead.

Both Harvard and Texas are beautiful places. They've both been kind to me in what time I've spent there. They both have people I like and want to see safe.

Both of those stories are going to be spun as relatively happy endings, because neither of the unbalanced gunmen murdered anyone but himself. Pardon me if I don't see suicide as a happy ending. And I'm tired of talking about preventing murderers from getting guns. It is a terrible thing to sell a suicide the bullets.

I wish that 1,900 page suicide note had a sequel. I don't mean that as a joke. I think that every suicide note should have a sequel. I think the people who write them could eventually come through the other side of their suicidal depressions and rejoin the living world. I think that would be better for the potential suicides and better for the world.

It's easy to die. It always has been. But there is no point in making our fragile lives more fragile, making them easier to throw away in one dark moment. Death has always been stupid. But I'm sick of living in a country that makes dying so easy.

No comments: