Guns and Surveillance; Lessons from France

Liberals and conservatives both resort to big government solutions when they are beset by the “We Must Do Something NOW” syndrome

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I watched a John Stossel program recently and it focused my attention on the big government ways of liberals and conservatives.  This similarity shows up vividly when they become subject to the “We Must Do Something NOW” mentality.

Rand Paul pointed out bulk surveillance of phone records by NSA has not stopped a single terrorist attack.  There have been some restrictions placed on these programs by Congress through the efforts Senator Paul and others.  The other Republican Presidential candidates argue that these restrictions reduce our ability to stop terrorism.

France has more extensive surveillance of its citizens than we do, Stossel pointed out, and that didn’t stop the attacks in Paris where 130 were killed.

That reminded me of the parallel with liberal calls for gun control in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe and the recent attack in San Bernardino.  France and Belgium (Belgium being the home ground of some of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks) have much stricter gun control laws than we have in the United States.  Those controls didn’t stop the Paris attacks nor the Charlie Hebdo attack.

When the “We Must Do Something NOW” mentality takes hold, liberals and conservatives each go for their big government solutions.  That’s how we got the Patriot Act, shortly after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.  That’s how we might get extensive gun control in the U.S. this time around.  Neither the liberal nor the conservative solution will make us safe.

Rick Miller