Baton Rouge editorialist and knee-jerk contrarian James Gill has trotted out a fiction about my restaurant, Bergeron’s. It is a sick, tired fantasy in which armed citizens create violence and havoc rather than making the world a safer place.
In the absence of a thoughtful critique of my policy of offering a 10 percent armed citizen discount, Gill fantasizes about an “unavoidable mishap,” in which customers circle up and shoot each other in response to an accidental discharge. Gill uses quotes to distinguish his fictional dialogue from his fictional text. The quotes I will use are different. They have footnotes. They reference actual research.
Gill’s morbid fantasy ignores 50 years of international crime statistics and peer-reviewed academic research, which shows that more guns equal less violent crime. This is true in Canada, in the United States and all over the world. It is even true in reverse, as documented in England and Wales where “half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with far greater use of this class of weapon than ever before.” Fiction is a comfortable refuge for a lazy, intellectually apathetic op-ed writer who, sadly, would delight in the kind of blood-bath that would both prove him correct and dispatch his enemies at a single stroke. Just recently, a man’s shooting spree at a McDonald’s in Baton Rouge was ended by an armed citizen who returned fire, incapacitating the assailant — and only the assailant.
Armed citizens prevent and deter far more crimes every year than the criminals commit.
But there is more.
There are bad people out there who commit unspeakable, horrific murders. The difference between a single murder and a shooting spree, such as Columbine (37 shot), Virginia Tech (49 shot) or the Norwegian island of Utoya (77 shot), is often one person. One armed citizen. One hero. Bergeron’s patrons are just that kind of hero.