I flew into Minneapolis last night, and had to take a cab from the airport to my hotel. During that ride, I had a nice conversation with the cabbie, who was born in Somalia but moved here 10 years ago and has since become an American citizen. He’s not making quite as much money as he’d like to, and is having to delay his marriage because of that, he said, but he’s still very happy to be living where he does.
“I would not live anywhere but here in Minnesota,” he said. “The people here are very nice, and I have gotten used to the weather. It feels nice and small here, and is safe, not like in Somalia.”
Safe, not like in Somalia – I thought about what he said as I was getting settled into my hotel room. What made it safe here, but not in Somalia?
There are a lot of people in the USA right now who are leaning in the libertarian direction. They say that the only way that people will be secure is if the government is made extremely small, and if lots of citizens arm themselves with guns. That’s just how things are in Somalia, though. Almost every household has its own supply of guns, and the national government is almost non-existent. Yet, life is very dangerous there. Even in the waters around Somalia, boats need to protect themselves from pirates. It’s not a libertarian oasis of good living.
As I was contemplating life in Somalia, and life in Minnesota, I came across a piece of news from the one state in the USA that is most identified with gun rights: Texas. Gun rights advocates like to say that people are reluctant to break the law in Texas, because they know that lots of people carry concealed firearms.
That’s not how things happened yesterday, though. A man in Commerce, a small city near Dallas, was driving around in his car, firing his guns off. No citizens in the neighborhood had their guns at the ready, whipping them out for self-protection. Instead, people called the police, who found the man and cornered him in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The man ran into the Wal-Mart. So what did the people there do? Did they pull out their concealed guns and take the gunman down? No, they cowered. Two people experienced severe chest pains that eventually caused them to go to the hospital.
It was an off-duty police officer who tried to arrest the gunman, who shot him. The police who had been chasing the suspect then engaged in a gun battle with him, and shot him dead.
Also taking place around the Dallas area:
- A man was killed with a gun as he was standing around with friends outside his home on Saturday morning. In response, no one took out their guns and confronted the murderer. The killer got away, and no one has any idea who it might be.
- Amid many other crimes that were not deterred by lax gun ownership laws, a criminal stole a handgun in the 5200 block of Overhill Drive.