While the title could actually apply to very nearly every problem facing our nation, I am of course speaking about the very real threat against the Second Amendment in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
What most people seem to be forgetting is that there are only two tools available to us as humans to change someone’s mind and/or actions. In our civilized society we understand that we have the tool of reason. However, the further we get away from hunting and gathering the more we seem to forget about the other tool: force.
Reason, as seen in societal values and legislation, stops the reasonable, civilized man. For instance, licensed concealed firearm carriers will typically not carry in a gun free zone. Reason, however, does not stop individuals like the Sandy Hook shooter. People who are committed to doing something the rest of us see as insane are beyond reason. Reason, in their own mind, would have stopped them and caused them to seek help before this point. Because they are now unreasonable, there is no “civilized” discourse or action left to us. This leaves us with only one tool against them, force. This is why legislation does not and will not ever stop them. This is why a civilized man (or woman) who has taken responsibility for themselves and is not afraid to use the tool of force is the one thing that has always stopped them. We cannot pass more laws (of any kind) and expect mass shootings of innocents to end.
Taking guns away from law abiding citizens will not stop school shootings – it will remove the victim’s tool of force and thus their means of stopping the unreasonable. Giving the government sweeping power over the citizenry’s mental health with not stop school shootings – it will, however, give the government a greater tool of force to use against dissidents and “enemies of the state.” This should be a terrifying proposition after the last 12 years of building an imperial presidency, but that is an issue for a much longer post. Mandating armed personnel in schools may actually make them safer – because it is applying force to a problem only solved by force. However, it takes away the rights of the school administrators and would add an exorbitant cost to an already over-burdened federal government.
The solution? Enforce the laws you already have in place when it comes to firearms. Make as effective use of this tool of reason as you can. Secondly, rollback legislation and federal control over the security of schools. Allow schools decide how best to keep themselves safe. If they want to hire armed guards, let them craft a plan and implement it. If they want to allow trained personnel (ie: teachers and administrators who have qualified) carry firearms, let them. If they want to allow concealed weapons carriers carry on school property, let them. We all must take responsibility for our own safety and quit relying on a nanny state (or worse a police state) to keep us safe.
In this light we need to remove “Gun Free Zone” legislation at the federal, state, and local levels. Criminals use these signs to find soft, easy targets. If you want to lower mass shootings create more hard targets – armed and armored public places. The military knows that if you want to keep someone from attacking something, you make it appear as costly as possible to attack it. If criminals and sociopaths wanted to work for a living, they’d get a job. If a target can fight back or is too difficult to penetrate, they will move on.
Despite what the anti-gun crowd will say, I value human life. I value our nation’s children. We should protect our children at all costs, with both reason and force. In fact, we should be brutally and violently swift in protecting our children by force. I value the freedoms that were encapsulated and protected by our Founding Fathers. I value the blood that was spilled to free us from tyranny over 200 years ago and has been spilt since then to allow us to remain free. We must not surrender our freedom for any reason. We especially must not surrender our freedom for an empty promise of safety that will leave us in greater danger.
Today I wrote the President of our country and my legislators expressing my concerns. I used the form found here and sent them the following letter:
Dear Legislators and Mr. President,
Considering recent events there is now a concentrated effort to limit the rights of law abiding and free men. My heart, as a father, was broken on December 14 as I saw the events play out in the news. I grieve with the families who were broken and destroyed by the actions of a sociopath. However, blaming firearms or their law-abiding owners and punishing them is not the answer to the challenges we face as a nation. History has shown such actions to be completely ineffectual.
The laws we currently have in place did nothing to stop the Sandy Hook shooter. He was stopped by the mandatory background check from purchasing firearms. He then decided to murder his mother and take her legally owned firearms to commit this tragedy. A dedicated man who does not value life nor the limits of society or government cannot be stopped by more legislation. Laws do not stop those committed to breaking the law.
I agree that we need to do all within our power to protect our children and I partner with all of you to do just that. So I beg you to enact legislation that will genuinely be effective. Banning firearms used in less than 1% of crimes committed is not going to stop such tragedies. Again, this was proven in 1999 when the Columbine shooting took place under the 1994 ban.
Do something meaningful, please. Help reform the mental health care system and help remove the public stigma from needing said mental health care. Allow schools and school personnel the freedom to set their own security policies and to use all available methods to make their school a hardened target, which is the surest way to prevent these tragedies. Do not strip us of our rights and property by passing additional antigun laws that have historically had no positive effect on crime in our nation or others.
Finally, proceed with caution. It is very easy, in a moment of pain and hurt, to overreact and in the process unnecessarily and detrimentally limit freedom. Whether we are addressing mental health, gun legislation, or armed guards in schools we must be wary of assigning too much control or responsibility to our government. Many Second Amendment supporters cite protection from our government as a reason for needing firearms and then call for a veritable police state to protect out children. We must be ever vigilant and mindful of our freedom.