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The school shooting at Uvalde, Texas.

It was probably not a good idea on my part to get involved in a purely American tragedy. But I had an excuse.  Someone on LinkedIn called Benny had put up a post which quoted Joe Biden as saying “The idea that an 18-year old can walk into a store and buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is I think, just wrong”, and a fellow Brit had posted back “The man’s a joke, Benny”.

The American family

Now American gun laws are for the Americans, but if there are people in the UK who would like the situation that Biden deplored to be replicated over here, then I thought some opposition worth while, Quite mild opposition, I thought. I  quoted Biden, who had said:

“The idea that an 18-year-old can walk into a store and buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is I think just wrong. It just violates common sense.”

And added :

Sounds pretty much that he is talking common sense to me

Predictably, this  brought a torrent down on my head. A man called Loudermilk (is this nominative determinism at work?) wrote that I should “Stay in London and mind your own business”, which I thought was a bit harsh, since I would regard having to stay in London as cruel and unusual punishment. The reactions did, however, bring me back to musing yet again about Ayn Rand.

Rand was, of course, an enthusiast for the US constitution, although she didn’t think it went quite far enough in protecting the rights of companies to do what they liked, without being interfered with by regulation. And she certainly had no qualms about people carrying guns. In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt at least had a sense of proportion, saying merely that “I do not place my moral sanction upon a murderer’s wish to kill me. When a man attempts to deal with me by force, I answer him— by force”, but Dagny Taggart was made of sterner stuff. She had no qualms about shooting dead a security guard for the unforgivable sin of failing to make up his mind.

Of course, not everyone who responded to the original post was against regulation in some form or other, but those who took that line got short shrift from those on the other side. One of them got this response.

“Schools are “Gun Free Zones “.
Problem was solved years ago.
Predators look for vulnerable prey.
The answer is to harden the targets. Something leftists will never agree to. Gun control is about government controlling citizens. Any other excuse for it is a lie. You sir are an idealogical idiot.”

Which pretty-well summarises a large percentage of the responses. It is interesting how, in the US at least, gun control has become a left/right issue. There seems to be no a priori reason why this should be so. Left-wing revolutionaries should presumably be as keen as right-wing ones to have weapons to overthrow the state, and right-wing governments have historically been at least as keen on controlling their citizens as left-wing governments. But no. Another commentator with a similar mindset wrote:

Look at the countries who took guns from its people. Why are those countries socialist? Because of one party rule. Like in America today. The problems in America are democrat created problems! When Joy Behar says republicans should be disposed of. Where do you see love? When CNC and school boards worked together in keeping schools closed who suffered? The children. Look at Justin Treadeu wants to take guns from everyone while he bullied the truckers.
Only reason why you disagree because your a liberal who supports the left MSM like MSNBC, and The View who spew hate and racism. Look at liberal social media if your on the right and you spew hate you get blocked, the left can spew hate and nothing is said to stop it.
The kid that killed kids cam from a dysfunctional family, one person was a convicted felon in the family, he was a bully in school why did he buy a gun? Because he had no criminal record.
But democrats want guns only for democrats to continue to be tyrants and nobody will stop them.
People need to face reality because America is on track for a civil war, all because of democrats hate and bulling Americans!

And, again from another source:

The reason democrats want your guns is all a power struggle. If we don’t have guns democrats can do what they want. Look at China. Australia, no guns, dictate what people will do not what people would like to do!

Given that once you are out in the bush in Australia almost every road sign you pass has been used for target practice, I’m not convinced about the lack there of guns, However, and more worryingly, this suggests that there is a problem in the US with people who cannot distinguish between democrats and Democrats. Ayn Rand, of course, had no use for democracy, since she, speaking at length through the mouthpiece of John Galt, despised most people either as unthinking sheep or people who were determined to rob and kill him. Those posters on LinkedIn shared his solution..

A reliable means of defense any person can learn to apply effectively and efficiently. The “great equalizer” for a physically less capable person to protect herself or himself from a physically intimidating thug–a million times a year in the US, usually without a shot fired. The intelligence is needed to know when and how best to apply the force it provides.

People who have not had the value of a good firearm and other weapons impressed upon their minds have lived sheltered lives. Good for them, for as long as it can last. But not all people live in such protected conditions. Anticipate the reality of random or focused danger and act to protect oneself, or suffer the consequences when the unexpected comes one’s way.

What is obvious from this and similar responses is that in the United States, proud of its reputation as the land of the free’, a great many people live in a state of fear, and there can be no greater limitation on liberty than that. To be frightened of walking down the street unless you are armed – well, I’ve lived in countries like that and I have no wish to see my home country become that sort of place..

As one poster posed the problem:

Biden needs to bolster security for the sake of the children, but how much and what is the length that one must go to.. ie. 30ft walls of concrete and steel around each school, ramparts lined with security snipers forming an impenetrable barrier , safe rooms connected to every classroom, security frisks for everyone entering school , what sort of an experience are US citizens prepared to put in place for the sake of their children’s safety and will the security itself then become a mental scar for the many children behind walls/fences etc..where is the freedom that their anthem proudly boasts… sad..really sad

Yes, really sad.