During Thursday night’s town hall-style gun-control discussion on CNN, President Barack Obama fielded questions from Taya Kyle — widow of American Sniper subject Chris Kyle. Since her husband’s murder in 2013, Taya — who also happens to be a crack shot with a rifle — has become a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and gun rights. She even wrote and published her own memoir, American Wife, which continues many of the same pro-gun threads Chris Kyle wrote about in American Sniper and American Gun. These sentiments were on display during Obama’s town hall, but they were also apparent in Taya Kyle’s op-ed for CNN, “Gun control won’t protect us.”
Unlike most pro- and anti-gun debates as of late, Kyle acknowledged the credibility of both sides’ intensely emotional arguments. That’s because, before her husband’s murder, she was “afraid of guns” and had “sworn [she] would never use a gun on another person and so did not need one.” However, Kyle suggested her initial anti-gun position was an unsuccessful attempt “to deny the existence of evil,” and when her husband was murdered by a fellow soldier, she came to believe evil was real.
I have been touched by extreme violence and I have been robbed of the life I always wanted by someone who chose to do evil. Because I have felt, and lived, all of these things, I have spent much time thinking about evil, freedom and not only the world we live in, but the country too.
By stepping aside from emotional responses and focusing on evil, especially evil acts committed by individuals or small groups that result in mass shootings or killings, Kyle determined that what’s left are statistics in support of the Second Amendment and the right of all Americans to purchase, own and use firearms. Specifically, numbers that indicate “the violent crime rate in the United States has gone down substantially in the last 20 years.”
The current focus on increasing gun control measures and reducing guns, Kyle argued, has less to do with actual violence wrought by firearms and more to do with fearful reactions to recent events.
Our fears, though, have gone up, because of the high-profile incidents of mass killings of people caught unaware. Killers have taken lives in churches, schools, hospitals, government buildings, the site of a marathon, the Twin Towers and even a part of a military base where soldiers were known to be unarmed.
At this point, Kyle spends the rest of the op-ed emphasizing four main points.
- Evil exists.
- However, the majority of people are not evil. They are vulnerable.
- Those who are evil will find the means necessary to commit evil.
- Therefore, banning means of evil is useless — especially since such bans are detrimental to the majority.
Many of the specific statistics she cites in support of her arguments repeat the same talking points used by pro-gun advocates. For example, the classic “cars are tools that is (sic) involved in about as many deaths as guns” line, which surmises limiting or banning motor vehicles in a manner similar to guns. However, it’s Kyle’s focus on human nature and its occasional evil forms that drives much of the piece.
We can’t legislate human nature. If we add up the number of these mass killers over the last decade, how many people are we talking about? Fewer than 40 over the last decade? Do we want to make laws for millions based on the choices of fewer than 40 evildoers?