Thursday, August 1, 2013
The Hi-Cap Debate
Many unarmed Americans tend to follow the seemingly logical conclusions of the mainstream; to the conclusion that a citizen has no need for "high-capacity magazines," with the general consensus at a 10-round maximum. Some have heard the counterarguments of "If you take the guns from good people, then only criminals will have them." This is absolutely true, albeit absolutely cliche. Here are some things you might not have heard as to why a higher-capacity magazine for the law-abiding populace isn't such a bad idea.
What I am about to say might be tough to read. While it is never my intent to offend, facts from an objective analysis will inevitably come off as callous. I would urge you all to remember the importance of knowing all facts, and discrediting any voice that calls an aspect of the debate untouchable.
The first thing to grasp is the gravity of removing a right in this country. Whereas many cultures consider their rights in terms of what the government allows them to do (or in some cases, what the government provides them), in the US we operate on the principle that our rights predate the government. Therefore the government does not "allow" us to do anything. The Bill of Rights is not about what we are given, but rather what we have that is to be preserved for the entirety of the American experiment.
A principle flaw in this notion is the risk of stripping a right without getting a reward. Aside from altering what all people may do in the hopes that it will impact what criminals can do, we have to concede that limiting the amount of rounds carried in one box does not in any way limit the number of rounds one can carry on his or her person. Do a quick YouTube search under "speed reload" and tell me how many lives would be saved in any mass shooting if this simple action had to be performed after every ten rounds fired as opposed to every 15, 17, or 30. Remember that this can be done in the course of target-acquisition, reducing or even eliminating the time gained (or lost, depending on perspective) when the magazine empties.
When deconstructing the Fort Hood, Aurora, CO, and Sandy Hook massacres, we know that there was an average of 2.76 rounds fired for every victim (killed and injured). What we don't know is how many lives would be saved if there was a 2-second break with twice the regularity at Ft. Hood (FN Five-seveN), three-times in the case of a standard AR magazine or 4.5 times in the case of the Beta mag that James Holmes tried using that failed at less than half-way through in Aurora.
Another important aspect of a shooting to remember is the psychological and physiological impacts that the situation will have on the victim. The victim's blood will rush to the center of the body to protect his or her vital organs, stripping their hands of dexterity. The sudden adrenaline dump accentuates the shakes. Tunnel vision sets in as the body focuses only on the immediate threat.
The perpetrator on the other hand is often not subject to the same reaction. Murderers' brains are seeking to gain, rather than the stop-loss efforts of the victims. Their minds are geared for a slaughter, rather than a fight. While the same prerogative is sought by both the murderer and the armed civilian, the murderer has the advantage of forethought. The perpetrator also has a higher likelihood of being under the influence of a mind-altering substance.
In short, the criminal has a clear advantage when it comes to the element of surprise and mental clarity (or at least not being hindered by fear mechanisms). It's bad enough that the victims' lives are thrown into upheaval; I don't think it's too much to ask that the citizens are at least as well-equipped as the miscreants.