Steve Chapman at the well-named Reason magazine reports on an old folly in Chicongo, newly brought to light:
In the course of their duties, Chicago police come into possession of all sorts of contraband: jewelry, video games, bicycles, cars. They sell the stuff through online auctions that are open to the public. They also confiscate some 10,000 firearms each year, with an estimated value of $2 million. They sell them and put the $2 million through a shredder.
Just kidding. It would be insane to shred large stacks of perfectly good money. What they actually do is destroy the guns. That way, there’s no money to destroy.
Chapman finds defenders of this inane policy, naturally: people who have sunk their bloodsucking tackle into the public jugular: Adam Collins, the sort of cop who makes you glad he works in an office talking to reporters instead of on the street abusing citizens, and Mark Iris, a university professor (not the one late of the FBI’s Most Wanted list, though). It comes down to an irrational frame of reference:
There is a common assumption in Chicago that guns are the equivalent of free-roaming cobras, being lethal and unmanageable by any means except elimination. The more guns, in this view, the more murders and mayhem.
That’s not an unusual position among the left, which tends to excuse the criminal and blame the tool. It’s more than just the old common-law concept of the deodand. Some writers plunge down the rabbit hole, anthropomorphizing the guns and ascribing to them a personalized malevolence only proven in humans and higher primates: “For the firearms behind some of Chicago’s most violent crimes, death row is a West Side warehouse….” one Rachel Cromidas emotes. Remember, Officer Krupke, the criminal’s just “misunnerstood.” It’s his weapon that’s “behind his violent crime.” Maybe it displayed Satanic runes upon its blue steel surface, or whispered phrases from Steven King’s nightmares on moonless nights. The gun must pay, else we might punish the operator.
Chapman, to be sure, doesn’t buy this.
….Guns in the hands of criminals are bound to lead to senseless bloodshed. But guns in the hands of upstanding citizens are no more likely to be abused than chainsaws or baseball bats.
In five words: a gun is a tool. We reported today on the criminal use of a machete in the Gun-Free Zone of New York City. And we recall one day in South America, watching a hard-working campesino cut hay with just such a tool. Over several hours, he cut so much hay that he dulled the blade; he then sharpened it on a stone (not a sharpening-stone; a plain ordinary river rock with one of its rounded surfaces ground flat by years of machete-sharpening duty). And went back to cutting hay.
We doubt that diligent farmer ever hurt a hair on anybody’s head, and it wouldn’t occur to him to do it with his machete. So what’s the difference between him and the guy in New York? Who had the exact same tool, but used it to do unspeakable evil?
The difference is entirely within the brain housing group of the tool user. You can’t get anywhere by examining the tool. Chicago shreds $2 million a year because they’re afraid to face the human implications of the possibility their Iraq-beating death toll is not due to the tools.