Guns, Shootings, and Moral Outrage


There have been multiple mass shootings in the United States, and every time, gun control rises to the forefront of the debate in the United States. In this blog post, I’ll lay out my own opinion on gun control, however ignorant it may be, and then point out what other people are doing, which is using massacres to push forward their own political opinions, irrespective of whether they will help or not (white terrorism, male radicalization, broken homes, etc.).

Here’s my opinion. An important goal and then consequence of a state is to drastically reduce the amount of violence in society. This is what makes a society “civilized”. Without a state apparatus, you get honour systems which enforce justice. This is why in corrupt countries like Somalia and maybe an older version of Southern Italy, violence is much more common. The way the honour system works is simple: you kill my family member? I’ll kill one of yours in revenge. An eye for an eye.

The dispute may be settled here if both families agree that the first killer acted wrongly, and that the second retributive murder was thus justified. But if both families do not agree to this, then the dispute is not settled and there is a tribal bloodbath for many years, with one tribe or family taking revenge on any member of another tribe or family’s members. This destabilizes the families involved and of course, society at large as well.

The state works because it promises justice rather than revenge. It says to the aggrieved victim and to his/her family “I will go after the person who you claim did this to you so that you don’t have to, and therefore you have a chance at moving forward after this, and society can still go on without the destabilizing effects of blood feuds. In order for this to happen, the state must have a monopoly on the tools of violence, because the tools of violence are what families would use to go after each other, and therefore are the tools which the state would use to punish people instead. Eventually, more humane forms of violence like restricting one’s liberty (aka prison) were used instead.

And so if a state does not have a monopoly on violence, then it is much more likely for there to be tribalistic revenge feuds instead of justice. If a state does not have a monopoly on violence, then society will stay uncivilized and will see higher rates of violence. If a state sees higher rates of violence, then it is failing at a core duty, at a core promise of the mythical ‘social contract’ – that there would be less violence as a result of the establishment of the state.

Now, I think it’s fair to say that the first two parts of my argument don’t strongly apply to the mass shooters of the past because they weren’t acting out of a tribal nature. Rather they were acting as denizens of evil: individuals who were trying to take revenge against the world while riding on a wave of narcissism. But we see now that our ancient and well worn roots of tribalism are re-emerging: shooters around the world, like the one in New Zealand, the United States, and in Quebec, are killing people because they want to establish a white ethno-state.

Nevertheless, what I think is that the state should be the only one who has a monopoly on violence, in order to prevent the terrible tribal fighting I mentioned above. And a state based on individualism and the rule of law – the idea that we as the state are prosecuting you not because we, the people in power, have something against you as a member of your clan, but because you as an individual have done something wrong – will prevent tribal violence from emerging at all.

And so, I do not think that people should be able to get guns willy nilly. If you’re a hunter, then you should use a bow and arrow, a knife, or a spear, if you must kill an animal. Guns are too unfair anyways. Or you could go to the supermarket like domesticated, civil people do. Many claim they carry a gun to protect their home. This is not acceptable. If you must, carry a tazor or pepper spray. But if you’re that afraid of someone coming into your house and that you need to use immediately lethal force in order to defend yourself, then your government isn’t functioning properly and should invest more in public safety.

I know that the constitution says this: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” I disagree with the constitution and think that the US should amend it once again. But that’s for Americans to decide. In my opinion, the state is there to ensure civil order, and they cannot do this without a monopoly on violence.

Published by efernandes

I blog now.

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