On December 14th, an unspeakable tragedy occurred in Newtown, Conneticut. Twenty-six people, including twenty children, were massacred by a lone gunman.
As so often happens when a tragedy occurs, people rush to figure out how to prevent something similar from happening again. One possible method of prevention is tighter gun control laws. Of course, putting tighter restrictions on guns is not so simple from an economic point-of-view. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, there are 129,817 firearm dealers in the United States. If you add up all of the employees that these dealers have and all the manufacturing jobs that are needed to make the guns themselves, the industry easily provides more than a million jobs. In America, a huge percentage of manufactured items say “Made in China.” Guns, however, are made right here by American workers.
There is also the civil liberties aspect of gun control. The constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. Why should millions of Americans have their rights taken away because of one gunman? That sounds a lot like collective punishment.
And finally, from a statistical point of view, private swimming pools are a lot more dangerous than gunman. The odds of a gunman attacking a child in school is less than one in a million. So if politicians really want to save lives, the best way to do that is to ban private pools.
Society, of course, can’t just look at statistics when deciding how to act. The Talmud says “In Gilad murderers are found…” Not only was there a disproportionate number of murders in Gilad, but a disproportionate number of them were from negligent behavior. When human life is cheap, there is no incentive to be careful. Nobody wants to live in a society where human life is cheap. Nobody wants to live in a society where financial sense is used to determine whether someone lives or dies. We don’t let folks drink themselves to death because it’s cheaper than paying for rehab. In this day and age, I think we can agree that human life is not cheap. Thus, tighter gun laws are in order.