In the aftermath of another mass shooting, we turn to each other and say that it is time for sensible gun control. We don’t know the details, but we proclaim that something must be done.
In my view, we don’t actually want gun control. What we really want is the ability to control how military technology—actually, all technology— is used. The same technological advancements that make our military and police the best equipped in the world are what make bad actors so dangerous.
U.S. defense spending has always subsidized research and development in the area of efficient killing. President Lincoln was a famous military tech guru. Consider some obvious breakthroughs from the Civil War: submarines, machine guns, aerial surveillance, and ironclad ships. During World War II, we turned jukebox manufacturers into armories.
Defense spending itself is the lamentable result of the fall. If men were angels, we wouldn’t have to buy Sherman Tanks. As it is, we are left to hope that the good guys always have the best weapons.
The Las Vegas shooter had the most efficient killing technology that was reasonably available to him. As devastating as that episode was, there is much better technology out there. You can treat the symptom, guns, but you can’t cure the disease, human sin.
Advancements in the field of efficient killing should be met with awe and terror. The U.S. and Russia have nuclear arsenals capable of wiping out humanity. This is incredible power in the hands of politicians. Trigger-happy governments are much more dangerous than deranged civilians. Compare the devastation of World War I to that of the Las Vegas shooting.
We are just citizens in the hands of an angry president.
We want all the benefits of innovation without the baggage of human sin. This general statement is true in all areas of our lives from reproductive technology to farming. In the last 100 years, humans have developed all sorts of amazing tools, but all of them can be used for good or evil.
If our moral reasoning doesn’t keep pace with our technological innovation, well, you get something like abortion pills, environmental ruin, and death camps. We constantly heap praise upon praise on the innovators, but we don’t have the slightest clue as to what innovation hath wrought.