In the wake of the terrible tragedy that occurred last week at a Connecticut elementary school, the opinions have begun following in from both sides of the gun control debate. The debate is sure to become increasingly fallacious and nasty in coming months as people on both sides make ridiculous claims to support their case.
President Barack Obama spoke over the weekend at a memorial service for the 26 victims of Adam Lanza’s horrifying shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. His speech, some people (gun-control advocates, no doubt) gushed, was akin to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Here is part of the President’s speech:
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law—no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that—then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
The President is prepared to “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens” to prevent further tragedies like what occurred in Connecticut. Because, he asserted, Americans must protect the children.
The President’s words are strong, and combined with his past positions there is little doubt that his plan involves launching anything less than a full on assault on Americans’ right to own semi-automatic weapons.
In a USA Today column last week, Glenn Reynolds channeled famed author and renowned gun activist William S. Burroughs in describing what the government’s most likely course of action will be:
“After a shooting spree,” author William Burroughs once said, “they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” Burroughs continued: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
Many Americans disagree with Burroughs’ opinion and are pushing for police and military personnel to be society’s sole armed protectors. And in gun-free zones, such as schools and many State and Federal properties, they are.
Those places have also become magnets for crazed gunmen. The cowardly mind-set of a man willing to kill at random — despite the anti-hero persona mainstream media seek to affix to these individuals — doesn’t lend itself well to ballsy attacks on rooms filled with armed men. Instead, they seek out the weakest or most unassuming targets imaginable: moviegoers in a darkened theater, attendees at a political rally, mall shoppers or schoolchildren.
And no matter what utopia the American left believes we inhabit, laws banning (and the all-out confiscation of) even every firearm manufactured will not stop the killing. Those capable of murder believe themselves to be far superior to any laws of man.
Perhaps a better option would involve a lessening of gun laws and an American realization that it is not up to the police, but to the citizen to ensure his own safety.
Speculation is reckless, but it is very tempting to fantasize about how Friday morning may have turned out differently if the school had been full of armed and trained teachers with easy access to firearms.
“Guns in schools, the horror,” liberal Americans might say. They may even venture to believe that frustrated armed teachers could be dangerous to students, though that seems very unlikely given the stories of teacher heroism coming from Connecticut where those educators likely wished they had tools at their disposal to better protect themselves and their students.
In 2008, the isolated Harrold Independent School District in Texas made an addition to its $100,000 state-of-the-art security system because administrators feared an armed intruder could do much damage in the 20 minutes it could take police to arrive. Feeling students and staff would be safer if on-site, trained staff members were equipped to handle a crisis at a moment’s notice, they decided to allow teachers to train and carry firearms to school.
In the years since, no gun has been brandished and no student hurt by an armed teacher. In fact, reports indicate that the students really didn’t have much at all to say about the policy. But the school district’s superintendent David Thweatt made a good point in 2009, a year after the policy went into place.
“We’re the first responders. We have to be,” Thweatt said. “We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if attackers had targeted the school.
Despite the President’s opinions, it is no time for gun rights activists to back off on the fight to keep and bear all legal firearms. We are all our own first responders and the protectors of those in our care who cannot defend themselves.