A Pet Peeve

I was listening to a segment on MPR with Tom Weber, interviewing Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee about President Obama’s big gun speech.


But one of the callers reminded me of a pet peeve that’s developed over the years of listening to gun control activists.  It was a woman from Sioux Falls, who said…

…well, we’ll come back to that.

But First:  If a thunderstorm springs up, do you have a right to take your family out for a walk without being hit by lightning?

Of course not.  You have…:

  • responsibility to not endanger your family
  • The free will to decide if you’re going to take a walk in the rain (and lightning, and maybe hail)
  • The means to avoid the rain, hail and lightning by staying inside.

But what if humans are involved?

Do you have a right to drive your kids to the mall and not get struck by another car?

No.   What you have is…

  • responsibility as a driver and as a parent to assess the risks inherent in driving your family in a car.  At 2PM on a Saturday afternoon, those are probably pretty low.  At bar closing time on Saint Patrick’s Day, probably less low.
  • moral imperative as a citizen and moral being not to endanger other people via your own behavior on the road.
  • An obligation to use all prudent means to keep your family, passengers and the rest of the driving public safe; wear seatbelts, put your small children in car seats, carry insurance, maintain your vehicle, drive defensively, prudently and without distractions.
  • You have legal recourse if someone breaks the law and violates the principles above, and damages your vehicle or harms you or your passengers.  Law enforcement may also have something to say about it.

You have a right to try to drive your kids to the mall.   It is your responsibility to see to it that you get there and back safely.

Anyway:  The woman from Sioux Falls referred to something I hear from a lot of less-informed people on the issue – most of whom, I suspect, are repeating a chanting point that neither they nor the person they heard it from understands all that well.

“My kids have a right not to get shot”.

No, ma’am.  They do not.

Nobody has a right to shoot them, it’s true (let’s assume “self-defense” is off the table).

But there is no “right not to get shot” .

You have…:

  • Moral imperatives to:
    • Not kill innocent people yourself
    • Avoid being in a position where “violent death” is a significant likelihood.  As much publicity as rampage and spree killings get, you are still vastly more likely to be a homicide statistic if you’re involved in a life of crime
    • Keep your children out of danger – whether it’s not hanging out among drug dealers, or being observant of the situation around you as you go about your law-abiding business.
  • common sense imperative to avoid places where lethal trouble might break out, and be observant about the situation around you.
  • responsibility to see to your own safety by whatever means you deem (as a responsible, law-abiding adult) necessary and your worldview finds acceptable.  That can mean anything from pure pacifism (being OK with giving up your stuff, and maybe your life, rather than resorting to violence) to avoidance, to prudent preparations for self-defense.   For some, that means developing the ability to deter or counterattack against violent attack.
  • responsibility to see to your family’s safety.   What does that mean?  Oh, boy, is that complicated.  Do your kids go to a school full of kids in black trench coats who listen to Slipknot?  You might wanna look into their environment.  Do your kids to go a school where the official response to the possibility (remote!) of a spree shooter is to hand out suspensions for talking about spree shooters?  You may need to have a talk with your principal, as fraught as that can be.  (I had a conversation with my kids’ principal after 9/11 – and it was depressing indeed).

Too picky about semantics?  Probably.

But even if there is a “right not to get shot”?   Like all other rights, it’s your responsibility to know how to practice it, and your imperative to protect it.  Because nobody is obliged to do it for you.

13 thoughts on “A Pet Peeve

  1. Language is important. People have been trained to believe that rights are something the government gives, not something you have. Government can only give you something by taking it away from someone else. The civil rights laws almost everyone approves of came from the government. The cost was freedom of association. The government gave the right of non-discrimination in employment by taking away, by law, the right of employers to hire the person they choose to hire.
    Progressive ideas of government place no value on freedom. Under progressive rule, people are not free to be homosexual because homosexuality is not a choice.

  2. According to most sheep you don’t have a right to try to drive your kids to the mall.

    Driving is a privilege say the sheep.

  3. We don’t need no so-called driver’s license! Or license plates! WE ARE THE FREEDOM RIDERS!

    A Waimea towing company was evacuated Tuesday morning after a possible explosive device was found attached to the front fender of a vehicle that was towed to the yard following a weekend “Freedom Ride” rally.

    An Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit arrived on scene about 6 p.m. Tuesday after police officers had blocked access to the Kauakea Street tow yard earlier in the day, and media and curious residents were cleared from the block.

    “They told me to take my tow trucks and they’ll call me when I can come back,” said David McCollough, owner of Tow Guys east of Waimea, about what responders told him as he awaited the results of the day’s commotion.

    McCollough said the mid-1980s Mercury Topaz had a round, cylindrical device attached under the bumper with two electrical wires leading into it. A man called the yard Monday claiming the vehicle belonged to the state and that the police stole it. The man appeared to be raving, but also tipped McCollough off that the car might be rigged.

    “He said, ‘you should go look at the car. Trust me, you should look at the car,’” McCollough said.

    The car, decked out with No Trespassing signs instead of license plates and statements associated with Freedom Ride in the windows, was towed from Saddle Road on Saturday at police request, McCollough said.

    At the time, the tow truck driver noticed the canister but thought it was a homemade contraption to increase fuel economy, he said. McCollough himself gave the device a quick look Monday, but thought no more about it until the next day.

    When McCollough lifted the hood Tuesday morning for a more thorough look, he found wires with a toggle switch leading to the battery. Then, he called the police.

    “I said, this thing is wired to explode,” McCollough said.

    A couple of arrests were made and vehicles impounded following the “Freedom Ride” on Saturday in Hilo. The group turned out without proper license plates or other requirements, intent on demonstrating that they have a constitutional “right to travel.”


  4. Expand background checks? Sounds good – nets nothing. From Wayne LaPierre, president of the NRA:

    “What do the Oregon killer, the WDBJ killer, the Charleston church killer, the Santa Barbara killer, the Maryland mall killer, the L.A. airport killer, the D.C. Navy Yard killer, the Aurora movie theater killer, the Tucson killer, the Virginia Tech killer and both Fort Hood killers have in common? Every single one of them passed a background check.”

  5. As someone who listens to slipknot I resent having mass shooters compared to us

  6. “Too picky about semantics? Probably.”

    No. People should know that when they pretend all obligations, institutions, and situations involve “rights” that it makes them look stupid. So you are doing them a favor and they should thank you.

  7. Why should her kids have a right not to get shot when our soldiers in Afghanistan don’t have a right not to get shot? Our soldiers in Afghanistan need it more.

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