The Nation is still mourning the terrible loss of life that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., nearly two weeks ago. And the debate about how to prevent future mass shootings, particularly in schools, continues with emotional—and often irrational—suggestions from individuals and organizations all over the country.
Coming to the conclusion of his Congressional career and after a failed bid for the Presidency, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been noticeably out of the media spotlight for a number of weeks. But as everyone from the National Rifle Association to leftist anti-gun groups throw in two cents about how the Nation should proceed in the conversation about guns, mental illness and violence, the Libertarian icon took to his Congressional website recently to plea for rational discourse.
Paul points out the misguided logic that both the political right and left have employed in trying to understand how America should proceed:
Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.
The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.
Paul goes on to make the same case he has for more than three decades: More government regulation is not the answer. Putting aside emotion, the veteran Congressman points out that the tragic killing of the children at Sandy Hook mustn’t be used as the political lynchpin for increased Government tyranny in the United States.
[D]o we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.
The point, Paul contends, is that the violence Americans are witnessing on a near daily basis is the result of decades of “moral and intellectual decline.” Furthermore, can Americans trust a government that kills thousands of people overseas with unmanned drones each year to have the moral authority to implement legislation to keep them safe from the occasional deranged gunman in the homeland? Paul’s answer: They absolutely cannot unless they’re willing to live in a totalitarian state.
Read Paul’s full message here.