Originally, I determined NOT to enter into the white hot discussions surrounding gun control in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shootings. This is a time of grieving. We should all be focused on serving, loving and supporting the dozens of hurting families in the Sandy Hook (New Town) community.
The best thing to do would be to have a cooling off period and allow the focus be on the victims, their families and the survivors. There would be plenty of time in the future to point fingers and politicize, but some among us just can’t do that.
Certain celebrities, politicians and academics were unable to pass up the opportunity to seize on the emotions of the moment to launch into anti-gun rhetoric. They were able to fire up their base and get plenty of sympathetic airtime, print space and petition signatures. For many in the media and in government, this is the perfect time to try and drive home their agenda.
I say it’s time for cooler heads to rise. Everyone who has a heart, has had it shredded by this event. I won’t call it a tragedy. It is far worse than that. A train wreck or a house fire is a tragedy. This was an act of demented evil. It was diabolical to its core.
Nearly every family in America has been holding our loved ones a bit closer, offering up prayers and expressions of sympathy for the families of the victims and the family of the perpetrator. We are asking, “Why?”
All this is natural. It’s even natural that the anti-gun crowd would be inspired by this atrocity, but to try and push through decisions or legislation based on emotional vulnerability, that will affect all Americans for generations to come, is an act of manipulation and willful opportunism that reeks of its own kind of evil.
The problem with discussing gun control is that many people aren’t interested in the truth. Facts are less important that perception. The perception of the anti-gun crowd is that if we eliminate access to guns, we will be safer. The facts tell another story.
1. Mass shootings are actually on the decrease. Even the less than conservative Associated Press acknowledges that fact.
2. Mass shootings tend to happen where there is little or no opportunity for the shooter to encounter armed resistance, e.g. schools, malls, Post Office. Mass shooters are, on the whole, cowards. I read just yesterday that the Oregon mall shooter turned his gun on himself the minute he saw an armed citizen (former security guard), take up a position to confront him.
3. Mass murders don’t require guns. The worst ever school massacre in the USA was performed with dynamite. Timothy McVeigh used explosives. The 911 hijackers used box cutters and airplanes to kill thousands.
Legislation will never prevent, or even inhibit, evil. Legislation can, however limit our freedom and our ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones. When our hearts are broken, and our anger at ruthless, psychotic evil is at fever pitch, we want to find something to blame. The weapon of the hour is an easy target. We also, look to authority ie. Government, rather than to ourselves or local communities for solutions. And, in those moments of emotional fervor, we are often prepared to sacrifice freedom for a feeling of (even if it’s a false feeling) security, e.g. The Patriot Act.
Even as I type this opinion, the town of Paragould, Arkansas is under Martial Law. Police officers in SWAT gear are patrolling the streets and have the authority to stop anyone and everyone to ask for I.D. and query whether or not they have a legitimate reason to be out on the streets. This draconian behavior is in response to a recent crime wave. You can read about it here. So much for probable cause. This appears to me to be a clear violation of the 4th amendment to the Constitution and many are outraged. Many more, though, are prepared to suffer this loss of freedom for the sense of security it brings them.
Please allow me to use this example above as a segue to the related topic of banning specific weapons, particularly so called assault rifles. Military spec weapons are always the first to be targeted by the antis. They are scary looking, they are very powerful and they are frequently used by mass shooters. All the above are true. It is this very power and versatility that makes accessibility by the common man a must.
I refer you to a little regarded document called the Constitution of the United States. It is obviously not available in Paragould, Arkansas, and apparently not read in the Congress of the United States nor respected by many citizens. We only want to enforce the parts we like.
The 2nd amendment to the Constitution reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The clear language of the amendment answers the anti-gun rights criticism that ‘there is no sporting use for so called assault rifles’. (At this time I will avoid discussing the valid use of assault rifles in terrorizing innocent citizens of Paragould, Arkansas. We’ll save it for another day).
While I could easily demonstrate the benefit of these guns in hunting destructive animals like feral pigs, I will simply concede the point. Let’s say there is no legitimate sporting use. The 2nd amendment is not about sports. It’s about defending our liberties against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
Since at least the days of the Philistine oppression of the Israelites, a common tactic of conquerors and oppressors is to disarm the conquered. If an enemy or a subject is unarmed, he/she/they will be much easier to control.
The 18th century English were famous for it. When they put down the Jacobite rebellion in 1746, for example, the English confiscated every gun, cannon and sharp sword they could find in Scotland. Sure, they left behind a few rusted out claymore swords and ancient guns, but took away every threat of future rebellion. The American colonists were very aware of this tactic and sought to preempt their own successors from ever subjugating the Free American people in this way. So, in 1791 the right to keep and bear arms was codified in the Constitution of these United States.
This right was designed to protect American Citizens from a future oppressive regime. They knew the time might come when we would have to protect ourselves from an invasion or from a Government that had grown too large, too intrusive, too restrictive and was over stepping it’s bounds.
Our handguns, squirrel guns and deer rifles are fine for protecting ourselves against burglars, muggers and home invaders, but they could never, alone, be enough to provide the ‘security of a free state’ from a ‘well regulated’ (equipped) oppressor. Even President Obama understood this when he said, in 2008, “…We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded (as the U.S. Military).”
In order to be ‘well regulated’ we need access to the best arms available and we need to know how to use them.
Having said all this, I return to my premise that as sound as this logic might be, there are millions in this country who don’t care about facts, logic or truth. The merely want what they want and are willing to sacrifice freedom forever.
The recent atrocity in Connecticut is a great dark blot in American history. Let us not make hasty, emotional, foolish decisions that could blot out America herself.