Thinking Differently About Guns
by Tom Donelson on December 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM
As I wrote in a previous article, no law presently being proposed would have prevented the tragedy at Newtown, but the question that remains is if laws were incapable of preventing the Newtown shooting, what can? Let's make one thing clear, there will be future massacres just as there were massacres in the past. There are steps that can be taken to minimize damage done and save lives. They are the unexpected and don’t require further restrictions of our rights but founded in common sense.
Personally, I am not enthusiastic about putting an armed guard in every school for the simple reason, it is impractical. It will take valuable resources away from high crime areas. No matter how horrific Newtown was, many communities experience violent crimes, including murders, every day. Any weekend in Chicago could produce numbers similar to what was seen in Newtown, so the idea of shifting resources away from where there are needs doesn’t make sense. The odds that a school would be a victim of a Newtown massacre are slim compared to people being killed in many cities. There are neighborhoods in Chicago that on any weekend, you have a close to a 6% chance of being robbed, mugged or murdered, so it is important to put resources where they belong.
Larry Correia, a Utah gun instructor, observed that when a shooter went on a murderous spree, 5.6 times as many people were killed when waiting for the law enforcement to arrive as opposed to when a shooter was confronted by civilians with guns. As Correia observed, “The armed civilians were on sight when the gun bout started.” Time is important, and every second victims are left unprotected means more people could die. Corriea notes, “The teachers are there already. The school staff is there already. Their reaction time is measured in seconds, not minutes. They can serve as your immediate violent response. Best case scenario, they engage and stop the attacker, or it bursts his fantasy bubble and he commits suicide. Worst case scenario, the armed staff provides a distraction, and while he’s concentrating on killing them, he’s not killing more children.” Having teachers armed sounds counterproductive but Correia points out that an armed adult can buy time until law enforcement arrives. Correia observes, “But teachers aren’t as trained as police officers! True, yet totally irrelevant. The teacher doesn’t need to be a SWAT cop or Navy SEAL. They need to be speed bumps.” Nor does Correia suggest that teachers be forced to carry guns but notes, “In my experience, the only people who are worth a darn with a gun are the ones who wish to take responsibility and carry a gun. Make it voluntary. It is rather simple. Just make it so that your state’s concealed weapons laws trump the Federal Gun Free School Zones act. All that means is that teachers who voluntarily decide to get a concealed weapons permit are capable of carrying their guns at work. Easy. Simple. Cheap. Available now.”
There is risk, but then it is just as risky to have armed guards and we already know the risk if we don’t allow teachers to be armed. Nor does it mean students will not be killed in a future massacre; only that having armed teachers could save lives by reducing the numbers that would be murder while waiting for the police to arrive!
As for declaring anything a gun free zone, I remember in the early 1980’s when the nuclear freeze movement was at its peak and various cities declared themselves a nuclear free city. It was as if declaring yourself a nuclear free zone would prevent a nuclear weapon from landing on you. A gun free zone is like saying, “Please hunt humans here.” It makes you feel good until some mad man starts shooting at you. As one writer noted, the only people who obey a gun free zone are law-abiding citizens.
Larry Correia observed that the week of the Newtown massacre, shooters in Oregon and Texas attempted to start a shooting spree only to be thwarted by a gun owner with a permit in Oregon and an off duty cop in Texas with very few casualties. Least one forgets that same week, a Chinese man attacked 22 people with a knife, and there are very strict gun control laws in China. The Chinese attacker adapted and used what was available, a knife.
When one compares state with carry and conceal, there is evidence to suggest that conceal and carry actually reduces violent crime. (While many researchers dismiss the link between carry and conceal and violent crime reduction, there is no doubt that violent crimes overall have decreased. No one can make the case that carry and conceal laws lead to increase violence.) What can be shown is that stricter gun control will not lead to a decrease in violence, but it is a vehicle in which some will use to either restrict or possibly confiscate weapons. It is a case of whether liberty will be respected or restricted.