It is a matter of faith.
Let us be completely and totally honest here. It really is little more than a matter of faith that more guns will make people safer, that the free market will provide, and that bigotry protects society.
The Republican Party is, at this point, the theocratic party, and that does not actually mean that they subscribe to the Christian beliefs, Islamic beliefs, Jewish beliefs, or anything in the way of established religions. What they believe is a theocracy built around a group of unproven or even disproven beliefs which they cling to with a religious fervor.
The belief that more guns will, somehow, make people safer is one of those beliefs that they cling to with a religious fervor that outstrips the Inquisitors of old. The notion that more guns equals a safer society just does not hold up in the long run. Most people have a view of guns that comes out of Hollywood. Handguns are not overly accurate. It is incredibly difficult for even a trained individual to use a pistol to shoot ‘the bad guy’ with one shot around a hostage in the way that we see in Die Hard or any number of movies and TV shows. That kind of control usually requires a sniper rifle, a stable spot to shoot from, and a clear shot.
Even assuming that you can hit your target with a handgun, can you hit the guy in a spot that will disable him? The reason why police officers are trained to unload their clip when taking down an armed suspect is because any bullet short of the specialized sort won’t stop someone unless you hit them in the exact right spot. A person can, as shown by former Representative Gabby Giffords, one can even take a shot to the head and survive. Hit a guy in the stomach, and they can still keep shooting.
The idea that someone armed with a pistol can shoot and kill someone who is busy firing off dozens of rounds with an assault rifle is pretty much idiotic. That is especially true if they are using ammunition that is designed to kill people.
It is, like it or not, a matter of faith that arming the average citizen who has, perhaps, only a few hours a month of practice and training is going to be able to stop a rampaging gunman, or even that an armed guard at a school is going to have time to get to the site of the shooting in order to stop it.
When it comes to the idea that the Free Market will solve our problems, the faith of Capitalism states that the rich will spend their money and it will trickle down to the poor. It also says that lower taxes generates greater revenue, and deregulation is key to sustained economic growth.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t really match up to the reality, does it? The rich spend money only on what they want, and it rarely trickles down the socio-economic spectrum. My great-grandmother, who grew up rich, once said the only thing that trickles down is piss and crap.
The idea that society is falling apart due to Liberal values like LGBT equality and so forth is also nothing more than a matter of faith. It bears little in the way of resemblance to reality. The reality is that society has always been like this. Children have been abducted and gone missing for hundreds upon thousands of years. Women get murdered all the time. People did drugs and drank to excess in order to get away from their problems. Homosexuality has been around as long as humanity, though not in the way we think of it. Prostitution, greed, slavery, etc…these have existed for ages.
The only reason why we know about how horrifying the world is now comes from the fact that we have just been learning about these happening now. At one time, an event happening in Brunswick, GA- the mass shooting perpetuated by Philip Monroe in 1915, got headlines in Brunswick, a front page article in Savannah, was around page 5 in Atlanta, and didn’t even make the paper in New York.
These are matters of faith. The problem is that taking things on faith is a problem. It prevents meaningful dialogue and the solving of the problems that we all face. It is time for people to give up these articles of faith. The nation faces some major problems, and no one really wants to actually talk about them. Instead, they push these articles of faith as if they actually have reality behind them. They do not.