JIM CARDOZA - Handing Gangs The Gun Concession

Handing Gangs The Gun Concession
The tragedy of the American drug war is not just that it has been a failure. It has been an act of national self-destruction. It is one thing that it failed to diminish the availability of street drugs. It is quite another that it has provided vicious gangs with a lucrative black market funding mechanism while locking up scores of otherwise innocent people.

More than 40 years ago, the drug war was launched to eradicate potentially dangerous substances from society. Today, after a massive $1 trillion effort, illicit drugs continue to be found everywhere from grade school to maximum security prisons. As it turns out, our noble determination for a drug-free society did not matter a lick. What mattered were the real world economic incentives and social dynamics that, either unwittingly or treacherously, were set into motion by that policy.

A striking parallel to the drug war is the relentless march toward gun control. Just last week, California Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation that would ban 150 types of hand guns and rifles. Feinstein is on record as advocating the ban of all guns, but has to date been too cowardly to openly oppose the 2nd Amendment. Opportunistically, she used the Sandy Hook shootings to launch her incremental crusade. As Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel once coached, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

If Feinstein can muster the support to take assault rifles off gun store shelves, she will have handed the black market their most desired product since drugs. 

People are funny about protecting their families and themselves. If assault rifles were to be banned, any citizen who would require home invaders to penetrate a wall of bullets on their way to pillage, would themselves be criminalized by the state.

Many would ignore what they perceive to be sanctions against adequate self-defense. They would prefer taking the risk of being tried by twelve over that of being carried by six. Folks who are respectful of the rights of others but possess such an attitude would be reclassified as criminals. 

Gangs, on the other hand, would be empowered. Not only would they gain exclusivity to the assault weapon market, they would enjoy the diminished self-protection capabilities of their law-abiding victims.

In the year 2000, more than 22,000 federal gun laws were already on the books. This should prove the problem is not a lack of laws. It is a lack of understanding. Substances and products do not cause crime, people do.

Politicians have made many promises over the past five decades, but most of us would be hard pressed to name any problems they have solved. What we can identify is the steady transfer of wealth and control from the individual to the state. We have seen this in the regulation of everything from guns to light bulbs.

People vote for bigger and bigger government as if they are operating on the notion that politicians are the best and brightest among us and that they are striving to act in the people's best interest. But if that were true, why would they have created a $16 trillion debt, wildly devalued the currency, and established mountains of unfunded liabilities? Could anyone argue that those actions were in our nation's best interest or that the architects were simply well-intentioned idiots? 

It is time for the American people to check their premises.

What if politicians were actually trying to become as powerful as possible? What if their strivings were to be in a position to pick winners and losers, grant favoritism, and become general power brokers? If that is the case, the drug war, the welfare state and gun control suddenly make a great deal of sense. In fact, by this scale, these actions have not been failures at all, but rather wonderful successes, in that they each attained greatly expanded powers for the state.

These days, it is an act of subtle sophistication to separate intentions from realities. One must realize the purpose in creating gun laws, drug laws and politicians themselves as one thing, but acknowledge the incentives and dynamics that result as quite another. 

Dianne Feinstein knows well how to grandstand and empower the state. But does she serve the people? Yes, in the way Colonel Sanders serves chickens.

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