I’m disappointed with the lackluster way both some politicians and conservative commentators have defended the right to bear arms in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting. They act as if they are defending the principle of a Constitutional Right while tacitly (or even overtly) conceding that the left is defending an effective principle of safety. I HATE conceding points that are contrary to evidence. The left is wrong on BOTH counts here.
If you need a rule of thumb about places to avoid – where gun violence is the worst – simply consult the gun control laws. Wherever they are the tightest, that is where gun violence is the worst – and rising. Even in jolly old England, where the loons’ weapons of choice have historically been bombs and knives, when seriously restrictive gun laws went into place, gun violence went UP, not down. Turns out that disarming victims really is a dumb way to fight crime.
Almost all of the mass shooters of the last two decades have chosen “soft targets,” places which banned concealed carry of guns. (Soft targets are unarmed groups of people who can not easily defend themselves. Hard targets are groups that are expected to include some who are armed). James Holmes, the Colorado theatre shooter, chose the ONLY theatre within 20 minutes of his apartment that had a concealed carry ban as his target. More evidence that disarming victims is a really dumb way to fight crime.
When celebrities – politicians, actors, media personalities – need protection, they hire armed guards. For our children at schools, they erect ‘gun-free zone’ signs. That is not working out so well. (Although, I am amused at the thought of endangered celebrities walking around accompanied by burly men with ‘gun-free zone’ pins instead of actual guns).
In six major mass shootings of the last few years, the suspect had been interviewed by or credibly reported to law enforcement authorities well BEFORE the shooting – yet law enforcement did nothing. I do have some sympathy for law enforcement on this, for the same left that shrieks to take away honest people’s guns after a shooting howl that any law enforcement action before such a shooting is racist, sexist, or Islamophobic. Law enforcement is damned if they do and damned if they don’t – and always by the same people. So they too often turn their heads and hope for the best. But in Florida’s shooting, in terms of drawing attention before the violence, the shooter was a giraffe on stilts adorned with red flashing lights. The FBI got two tips, including a video of the man announcing his name and promising to become a “professional school shooter.” Law enforcement had responded to 39 (count ‘em) 39 complaints about this man – several which involved him threatening others with knives or guns. The Sheriff’s Deputy who was supposed to act as armed guard for the school, instead of defending the children, hid in place and did nothing as he listened to children die. He has since resigned. I guess he saw too many of those commercials explaining about being a security monitor rather than a security guard. Astonishingly, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies were NOT the first to enter the building and defend the kids, even though they were responsible. It was the Coral Springs Police Dept. that went in first. And yet after this complicated string of ineptitude, the left insists you disarm yourself and trust authorities to protect you.
Now the left wants the whole of America to voluntarily become soft targets. Not gonna happen – and it shouldn’t…but our politicians and conservative commentators who are mushy on this concept should commit one phrase to memory: Disarming victims is a dumb way to fight crime.
Once we get clear on that, we can have a rational discussion on gun violence. Some years ago, an uncle of mine was telling me a funny story about how two kids at his school got their guns mixed up when picking the wrong one from the gun rack after school. My eyes went wide and I asked, “you had gun racks at school?” He replied, with a little disdain at my citified ways, “Yeah. We lived in the country. You had wild dogs and coyotes and stuff around. Some of the parents of kids who didn’t carry would have their kids walk to school with someone who did, because it was safer that way.” Imagine that…sticking close to the kid with a gun to keep safe on the way to school. When I was in school, most high schools had a rifle club. You know what we didn’t have in either mine or my uncle’s school days? School shootings.
So what has changed? It is the culture. The left’s policies encourage and enable dysfunction – and when that dysfunction spills over into murderous rage, they are too cowardly to confront the dysfunction they have wrought and make changes, but insist we all disarm ourselves.
Criminal enforcement, insisting on personal responsibility, making use of criminal profiling as the Israelis do will all help to stem the tide of violence – both gun and otherwise. But the key is to re-establish a functional culture founded on faith and family. Until we do that, the violence will continue. Our only choice in the matter is whether we will be soft targets, as the left wants, or hard targets – the presence of which mass shooters studiously avoid.