LAMA Chair Marc Mercier on National Gun Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Libertarian Association of Massachusetts unreservedly condemns any form of violence. As Libertarians, we adhere to the Non-aggression Principle, which advocates that persons may not initiate force, or the threat of force, against another or another’s property. We believe, as all good people believe, that each person has an inherent right to be secure in their persons and possessions.

With compassion and comfort, we offer our deepest condolences to the victims, as well as their friends and families, who have suffered at the hands of the disturbed offenders committing these reprehensible acts.  

Libertarian philosophy has a simple mantra; “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff”. This may seem over-simplified, but if this principle were universally followed, our world would certainly be a better place. We encourage anyone who wishes to find a way to respond to these senseless acts of violence to simply adopt this principle, make it part of the way you make decisions about how to live your life, and spread the message with all who are willing to hear it. 

Clearly, the horrible attacks that we continue to witness, together as a country, have no place in our society. Senseless violence against vulnerable citizens is an act of cowardice; a demonstration of aggression against each human’s right to live free from violent harm. In the face of these senseless acts, and to the rising calls for remediation and preventative response, it’s important to recognize that it is the bad actor, and not the tool, that should be subjugated to scrutiny. 

It is a person who chooses to murder. 

It is a person who chooses to act violently.

It is a person who chooses to target innocent victims. 

No matter the tool the person chooses to cause harm, it is the person who chooses to do it.

According to the federal government, 43% of our neighbors own guns. These are good people. Peaceful people. They obey the laws. They own their guns safely and responsibly.

Many, most, own the same guns used in countless violent acts of aggression committed by bad people.

It would be wrong to respond to these acts of violence - committed by specific bad actors – in a way which punishes our good, law-abiding neighbors. To do so would be our own act of aggression against their right to be secure in their persons and possessions. It would be to hold them accountable for a harm which they did not cause or contribute to. As a society, we should oppose all acts of aggression against innocent persons. 

In the coming weeks, certain politicians will ask us to separate into partisan cliques against each other around the issue of ‘gun violence’. Instead, as neighbors, we should stand together in opposition to all violence. We should stand up for the principle of freedom and the right of each of us to live free from immoral acts of aggression by bad actors. It is possible to be passionately, and compassionately, opposed to these horrific acts of violence yet still respect our good, peaceful neighbors’ right to choose the manner and means of their own defense against such violence. The onus falls on us, each individual person, to uphold the rights of others. To do otherwise, or to ask politicians to do otherwise, does not make us stronger – or safer. Instead, it undermines the framework of our good society and our relationships with our neighbors. Grieve the deaths and hold accountable the people who committed them. To prevent the next tragedy, be consistent in holding accountable persons who commit aggression, and teach others to respect the right of all people to be secure in the persons and possessions. This is the only way to achieve a society which is both safe and right. 


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  • David Kohlmeier
    Thanks!
    I’d like to add that, in the case of the El Paso shooting, that turning this into a gun debate also risks distracting us from the very serious and increasingly dangerous rise of white nationalism and white supremacy in our country.
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