That failed theory includes the idea that if someone enters your home, armed or unarmed, the solution is to shoot them. If someone breaks a law, the solution is to put them in prison, for a longer period of time, under the harshest possible conditions. In some cases this includes not only physical deprivation, but humiliation. The death penalty - applauded by supporters of Texas Governor Rick Perry's execution record at a Republican debate earlier this year - typifies the extremes to which people are willing to carry their 'common sense solution' theory, in the face of all the evidence that shows emphatically that their theory of punishment does not work.
If prison worked, we would have the lowest crime rate in the world; as the so-called 'land of the free' we have the highest population of not-free incarcerated people in the world, at a huge cost to our various levels of government from local through federal levels. We have criminalized activities which were never previously crimes, often at the felony level.
Conservatives, including especially religious conservatives, condone harsh treatment of children, including harsh, violent punishment - see the video below. Conservatives are the group who more than any other favors lethal force in the form of more lenient, lax Castle doctrine laws. My colleague and co-blogger Laci refers to them quite correctly as 'license to kill' laws. It tends to be conservatives far more than moderates or liberals who favor making lethal violence more readily available to individuals who want to take deadly force into their own hands, often without either a good grounding in the law, or safe practices. Such changes in carry laws are often opposed by law enforcement for the reason it makes doing their job more dangerous and more difficult.
The right wing, including many of those who promote the arming of people to enable and encourage lethal violence is consistent with the trends to right wing authoritarianism, including that identified here, at the University of Manitoba site about Bob Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians". Authoritarian criminal laws, authoritarian parenting and education, authoritarian politics DO NOT WORK. It is the opposite of freedom, it is the opposite of independent people, it is the opposite of a democracy.
To quote the opening paragraph on Authoritarianism from wikipedia:
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy. In politics, an authoritarian government is one in which political authority is concentrated in a small group of politicians.Authoritarianism does one thing, and only one thing. It makes those who are naturally fearful, who need obsessive conformity to feel safe and comfortable, feel better by forcing others to conform, however costly, however costly and ineffectual the actual outcome of that force in achieving the intended goals.
We need to hold people more accountable for the bottom line, for the effectiveness of their policies and laws. We must require RESULTS driven objective policies and legislation, not the right wing 'because it feels right' so-called common sense solutions that are not sensible and that do not solve anything.
We need to BE the land of the free, we need real freedom, not right wing lip-service to restrictive and intrusive fear-based laws and policies.
Violence begets violence.
Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed
American novelist Mary McCarthy wrote words which are true of us not only as individuals, but as a nation:
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
“In violence, we forget who we are”And the author Isaac Asimov very correctly observed:
Every time I read of someone claiming we just need more guns to commit more violence, or more harsh treatment to solve a problem, it is greater incompetence, failure to understand and educate, forced conformity, and brutal authoritarianism.
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. … Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."