There’s a spectre haunting Michigan libraries: the spectre of unarmed patrons. Apparently, libraries in Lansing, MI are so dangerous that there are some Michiganians who fear going into them unless they’re armed.
Kind Reader let me down today, but Infodocket provided this juicy story: Michigan Court of Appeals to consider legal challenge to Lansing library weapons ban.
The library system bans weapons, and that really irritates some guys (I’m assuming they’re guys, but I could be wrong), guys who are never happy unless they have a six-shooter strapped to their manly cowboy thighs, if there are any cowboys in Michigan.
The cowboys’ attorney asks, “Are libraries immune from crime?”
The answer to that is pretty obvious. No! Numerous people have stolen rare books and materials from libraries over the years and tried to sell them on Ebay. A good library is just an invitation to thieves, so let’s shoot ’em.
On the other hand, have there ever been any violent crimes in public libraries, in Michigan or otherwise? There are, what, about 10,000 public libraries in America. Is there any evidence of crime that would require self defense with a handgun? There couldn’t be many.
The library system’s lawyer claims that carrying guns in the library would mean added security costs for the library, which they don’t want to pay, and possibly couldn’t afford anyway. That’s the sort of twisted logic that drives the cowboys crazy. One of the commenters is perplexed and appalled:
So the library doesn’t want to spend money on security, and they don’t want law abiding citizens to carry a firearm for protection. That makes no sense. Have they not realized that “gun free zones” is [sic] where most mass shootings take place?
Before I comment on the crazy, I should add that I think the left-wing irrationality that equates banning guns with stopping crime is pretty much the same as the right-wing irrationality that banning marijuana reduces its use. Criminalizing harmless behavior solves no problems. There are plenty of sane and rational gun owners in America (though not the Yoopers depicted in Escanaba in da Moonlight).
However, that commenter isn’t one of them. It actually does make sense for a library not to want to hire armed guards to protect patrons from armed people milling in the stacks mouthing the words as they read Guns & Ammo while fondling their pistols.
And why does it make sense? Because most mass shooters are white males, and a bunch of them carrying firearms in the library is a cause for alarm.
I’m also pretty sure there has never been a “mass shooting” in a public library. Ever. The kind of people who use public libraries just aren’t the mass shooting types. Some of them might be malodorous and certifiably insane, but not in the mass shooting kind of way.
That anyone would use the threat of public library mass shootings to argue that library patrons should all arm themselves shows they don’t know much about mass shootings or public libraries.
What kind of paranoid fantasy world are these people living in, anyway? Mass shootings are jarring and tragic, but the saving grace is that statistically they don’t happen very often.
Research reported in this article “indicates that from 1976 to 2008, there were 852 massacres, involving 4,131 victims and 1,176 perpetrators.”
4,131 shooting victims is terrible, but if these statistics are to be trusted, in the same period there were over 600,000 murders in America. Even in a relatively low murder year, there are more people murdered in America in four months than in 30 years of mass shootings. An average of 129 deaths a year in a population of 311,000,000. The math is on our side.
Deaths by auto accident in the same period? About 1.5 million people. And, as with mass shootings, none of them occurred in a public library.
The legal argument may or may not succeed, but the crazy argument fails completely.