I just got done throwing up (again) listening to Obama opine on gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
Let's step back for a moment and look at this issue with a wide-angle lens, starting with President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg, two of the loudest anti-gun proponents.
Let me first disclose where I'm coming from -- I'm a parent of a teen-age daughter and have raised her single-handed since she was in diapers. She came into this world through an intentional act that I undertook with not only full acceptance of the potential consequence but actual planning for that consequence. I would lay down my life for her, as would most parents. And in a few years she will go off on her own, yet I believe our relationship will remain solid through the years. I hope to some day see the "circle of life" repeat with one or more grandchildren and, I hope, a worthy partner with whom she chooses to live her life with.
I still remember walking her out to the bus stop that first day of school, and her marching up into the bus to go to kindergarten. Just like every other parent has done in one way or another.
I never gave much thought to the idea that she might be at risk while in school. Oh sure, it's always a possibility -- anything is a possibility; there might be a tornado tomorrow, or lightning could hit you on the way to get the mail in the afternoon. But there are some things that you start by believing, or you'd never let your kid walk up those steps onto the bus. Among them are that the teachers and staff are not creeps; they are there to help your child learn, not exploit them in some hideous way. You cede to those people what is known as in loco parentis for a number of hours in the day, and then you take that responsibility back when your kid comes home in the afternoon.
If there's a bump in the night and it's a thug intent on attacking my family, it's my responsibility to deal with it first. That's who I am as the head of the household. I am the first responder, because my other alternative is to be the first victim, either along side or right in front of my daughter. And again, while you don't expect such an event to happen, and you arrange your life as best you're able to prevent it, there is no such thing as a guarantee.
Now please understand one thing very clearly before we continue.
Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama don't have this issue.
They literally do not care about such things, and they design their life and their public office so as to be able to not care. It is an intentional act they could cast aside should they so choose, but they have not and will not.
Mayor Bloomberg has a small cadre of hired hands who are near and with him literally 24 hours a day. They are armed, all the time, and they are paid to worry about these things so he doesn't have to.
Likewise, President Obama has a literal army of trained, armed soldiers in the form of parts of the military and an entire division of officers (The Secret Service) who's job it is, once again, to make this not his problem for both him and his entire family. Michelle and his children do not have to concern themselves about these issues because there are literally over a thousand others who are paid to take that responsibility -- up to and including eating a bullet in their place.
Neither of these people is proposing to rely on what they claim you should rely on -- a "law." A piece of paper, which today doesn't even get printed on real paper; it's a ghost in a machine that glows at you in the dark.
Let me remind you that our founders said, over 200 years ago:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
They did not say that government gave them rights. They stated that you had them, just as they had them, simply by virtue of being human and alive. That all persons have them, and that they are unalienable -- unable to be removed by any man.
If you believe that you have a right to life because your creator endowed you with that right, and that this right is unalienable and thus cannot be taken from you (although it can certainly be disrespected!) then it follows that you have not only the right but the responsibility to defend your life. That is, you have the right and the responsibility to deter to the best of your ability any other person who would take your life from you.
You may choose to delegate this responsibility to others, as Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama have, but your right to life is not inferior to theirs. It is equal. President Obama has no more right to live than you do. You are his equal from the standpoint of what your creator, and his creator, endowed both of you with.
So we have established that you have the right to live, as does the President. And if the President has the right to defend his life with deadly force, and indeed the responsibility to do so, then, should it be necessary, so do you.
This debate should end right there. Up until all of these people in political office disband their police forces, their Secret Service details, throw down their own arms, armored cars, body armor and other defensive means of interdicting assault they have nothing -- not even a moral argument -- behind them in their demand that you disarm and become an intentional victim -- no matter who you are.
But of course the debate doesn't end there, because the false equivalences don't begin and end with rank hypocrisy and politicians crapping all over the documents they swear to uphold.
Worse, we the people keep electing jackasses just like them. Indeed, in the last election we had two choices for President that were both hostile to your fundamental right to life.
Thus, we are compelled to continue our debate and look at the world around us.
Unfortunately when we continue our examination that we find that there is evil in the world. There are those who disrespect other people's rights. Some of them may want to kill you. Everyone who undertakes to murder believes their reason for doing so is justified. That they may be objectively insane doesn't change their view of the world. Their desire to see you die is in direct conflict with your right to live.
In that situation one of you will be victorious, and the other will not.
It is your decision, and only justly your decision, how you resolve this conflict. You have the right to surrender your life if you so wish, but in doing so you are making a decision that only you, and nobody else, has the authority to make.
President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg demand that you cede this decision to an insane criminal.
They are attempting to demand that you not defend your right to life, although they will not themselves do what they demand of you and cede their decision to any person who is insane and would kill them.
They in fact spend millions of your taxpayer dollars to prevent the very victimization they demand you submit to from happening to them.
There is only one sane response to that demand, and it is for you to insist that these people perform an anatomically-impossible act.
Now let's put this in the context of your children.
When a child is born it is defenseless, hungry and cold. The newborn baby is dependent upon its parents for everything, other than oxygen from the air, that it needs to survive. It is incapable of feeding itself, it is incapable of adjusting its environment and bodily covering to deal with environmental changes such as heat or cold, and it is incapable of disposing of the waste products from bodily processes in a manner that will not make itself and others ill. That child, during the next 18 years, undergoes growth in both mind and body, to the point where (hopefully) he or she is capable of discharging those responsibilities alone.
But until that time comes, you are that child's protector. You are the one ensconced with the responsibility to protect that child's life.
That child's right to life is unalienable but as that child's parent you are the one charged with defending that right.
How dare you refuse to discharge that responsibility!
Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, along with many others have, thus far successfully, demanded that you intentionally refuse to defend your child's right to life as soon as that child enters a school -- and they then attempt to compel you, by law, to have that child attend some form of school!
How dare you consent in place of that young person who is too young to do so!
They have the gall to tell you that your children must be unarmed targets while armed guards stand at the ready next to them on a literal 24 hour a day basis to prevent the same thing from happening to them, while forcing you to pay for their protection.
How dare you accept this premise while they smugly stand with their Secret Service and Police, armed to the teeth, not even willing to step inside a hotel without security first checking to make sure there has been no evil laid in!
Now I would like it very much if we could find a way to rid the world of evil. Simply making all guns disappear, which is incidentally a factual impossibility, is unfortunately insufficient. One of the worst mass-murders committed in the 20th century was undertaken by a man with less than a gallon of gasoline and two matches; he killed 80 people here in the United States and is currently in prison for life. No gun law in the world could have changed that outcome, for he did not use a gun. Another nutjob blew up a federal building in Oklahoma; he used fertilizer, diesel fuel and a truck. Likewise people have murdered with cars, SUVs, swimming pools, common household goods used as poisons along with sporting goods, including baseball bats, golf clubs and even their bare hands. A not-insignificant number of murders in China in recent years have been committed (in schools no less!) by knife-wielding assailants. Your kitchen contains more than enough implements of destruction to murder virtually anyone, especially if taken by surprise. Harris and Klebold at Columbine not only used guns, they also attempted to blow up the school with tanks of ordinary propane; fortunately the detonators failed to work.
I don't see anyone talking about banning outdoor BBQ grills.
Fortunately man is clever and invented a device many years ago that makes the weak the equal of the strong. It makes the 90lb woman the equal of the 250lb man who desires to******her. It makes the 92 year old wheelchair-ridden widow able to stop two teenage thugs who break into her home with felony on their mind.
And it makes an elementary school principal, janitor or teacher able to stop a rampaging young man.
It's called a gun.
We recently read in the news about a deranged man who stole a gun and shot up a shopping mall in Oregon. After shooting a couple of people his gun jammed. He un-jammed it and then decided to shoot himself, despite the fact that the police had not yet arrived. This puzzled me, as the pattern in these rampages is that the maniac continues to kill until he either runs out of ammunition or the police arrive and it is evident that he will be captured. Then, as his final act of defiance, he kills himself. This insane individual checked out before the cops got there, which is uncommon, despite having plenty of ammunition remaining -- and no cops yet at the door.
The media, Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, Joe Lieberman and others didn't talk about why he shot himself instead of continuing his rampage once he unjammed his gun. They tried to keep that quiet on purpose, concealed from you because it destroys their justification for demanding that you cede the most-holy of all rights that you have -- your right to life -- to them.
You see, a man carrying a concealed weapon, an ordinary law-abiding 22-year old citizen, pulled that weapon and used it to defend himself, his friend and her baby.
He didn't have a clear shot without the risk of hitting an innocent person and thus didn't fire. He didn't have to. The shooter saw him along with his gun and that was enough for him -- he decided to dispatch himself.
That's how it happens 98% of the time, according to the FBI. 98 times in 100 when a citizen uses a firearm in self-defense he or she doesn't have to shoot anyone. It's simply enough that the weapon is there in the hands of a person willing to defend their right to life -- the criminal decides to terminate his assault.
The gun, the much-maligned gun, in the hands of a person willing to discharge their personal responsibility to defend their own life and those who they love, stops a felony in process more than one million times a year in the United States -- and 98% of the time that weapon is not discharged.
President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, Lieberman, Pelosi, Boxer and more are all dancing in the blood of those dead children in Newtown and worse, they are lying to you about the true record that guns have in relationship to crime in this country and they know it as the counter to their argument that guns in the hands of citizens would not stop such assaults happened just days before!
Now let's look at another argument -- that citizens will shoot "wildly" and hit innocent people. The facts say differently -- citizens in fact shoot the wrong person only 1/5th as often as police officers!
This really isn't surprising, when you think about it, and it also isn't an indictment of the police. A police officer almost never is at the scene of a crime when it begins; he is called or otherwise discovers the crime in process. As he was not the original intended victim it's not surprising that he's sometimes not real sure who the bad guy is.
A woman being raped, on the other hand, is quite sure who the rapist is at the moment he attempts his crime, since his body is attached to the instrument with which he intends to commit the assault. Her odds of engaging the wrong person by accident are vanishingly small.
And this leads to the next problem -- the cops are never there. They can't be. When seconds count the police will be along in 5 minutes. Within those 5 minutes a homicidal maniac can murder dozens of people. The police will then "catch" (or kill) him, but you will still be dead.
It therefore is utterly ridiculous for you to rely on the police and insane for any government official to suggest (or worse, insist) that you do so; their purpose is to show up with a broom and clean up the mess, documenting it all for prosecutors, juries and judges -- if the assailant is still alive.
I've already made the case conclusively that our government at both State and Federal levels are full of hypocrites who insist that you cede to them your right to life, while they assiduously protect themselves at your expense, being unwilling to live with the restrictions they would impose on you.
But in truth it gets worse than that.
You see, our government has been running guns. Illegally running guns. Jaime Avila, in just one of many examples, purchased two rifles that were found at the scene of a federal agent shot near the Arizona-Mexico border. Our government knew Mr. Avila was illegally trafficking weapons to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Nonetheless, when his purchases were called into the BATFE for clearance the government intentionally approved the transactions despite knowing they were illegal.
Two of those hundreds of weapons came back over the border and were used to murder Brian Terry. Hundreds of Mexican citizens have been murdered with these guns in total -- guns that our government illegally, intentionally and maliciously allowed to be delivered to this murderous cartel.
Mr. Avila's sentence? 57 months in prison, or just under 6 years.
Two days before the Newtown Connecticut shootings.
Media outrage? Zero.
Your outrage? Did you even know about the sentence?
Guess who didn't tell you and run that story every 5 minutes on national TV -- the same media that is trying to ban your firearms!
An adjunct to the oft-heard argument that we shouldn't allow guns in places like schools, churches and similar is that civilians can't be trusted to only shoot when they should, and not when it's unclear if they could injure or kill an innocent person.
But the record says otherwise, and not only in the incident that occurred just days before Newtown at the Oregon mall. Witness this incident from March of this year, one of over a million a year, when a deranged man claiming he wanted to see his children (who do not attend there) showed up at a church and kicked in the door while wielding a shotgun.
He didn't expect to find a parishoner with a pistol pointed at him, who then held the would-be shooter until the police arrived. As in 98% of these cases the armed citizen in this event did not need to shoot -- by the mere presence of his firearm he likely prevented the nut with the shotgun from causing mayhem in the church.
Arguments over magazine size or type of weapon are distractions. A man intent on murder who doesn't have a 30 round magazine will stuff three 10 rounders in his pocket instead. You can change magazines in less than a second with a bit of practice; such a restriction burdens no criminal. Not only did the alleged assailant in Newtown have a rifle with him that some people would like to ban he also stole two pistols, either of which alone was more than sufficient to commit the mass-murder that occurred. In the instant case banning "assault weapons" would have changed exactly nothing, never mind that Connecticut already has an assault weapons ban and it did not prevent the crime!
What's worse is that banning weapons based on how they look (which is what so-called "assault weapons" bans do) has nothing to do with the ability of a firearm to inflict injury. Semi-automatic firearms, which is what all of these are, were invented in the 1800s. They were sold through the mail with no background check or anything else until 1968. Many of the most popular firearms, including shotguns such as the Remington 1100, .22LR rifles such as the Ruger 10-22 and many hunting rifles are semi-automatic.
Indeed, the common AR-15 variants are most-often used for varmints, target practice and competition. None of these weapons are "machine guns" or weapons of war, the sale and possession of machine guns (any weapon which can fire more than one round for each pull of the trigger) have been heavily regulated (but legal) since the National Firearms Act of 1934.
AR-15 variants are the most-popular sporting weapon sold in the United States; surveys show more than 3 million Americans own one. They're popular because they're reasonably-priced, reasonably-accurate out of the box, have a light recoil and thus can be used by women and others of smaller stature without having your shoulder pounded to a bloody pulp and the ammunition is reasonably-priced since the cartridge is relatively small (in fact the bullet is about the same size and mass as a 22LR!)
These rifles are considered severely-underpowered for many hunting applications and in fact it is illegal to hunt deer with one in many states as they are not lethal enough to have a reasonable certainty of humanely taking the animal in question. Common hunting rifles are far more deadly than an AR-15.
There is in fact nothing particularly special about the AR-15, or for that matter any other gun.
Now, onto legal constraints as they exist today, and the fallacy that they could have prevented what occurred last week.
Background checks are already necessary to buy guns but again do nothing to deter a determined criminal. In the case of Newtown the system worked; the shooter attempted to buy his weapon at a store and was turned down.
He then turned to murder -- of his mother -- to acquire the weapons he used.
There is no background check system that would have prevented this tragedy. The guns didn't come from a licensed dealer, there was no circumvention of the system via the so-called "gun show loophole" (or any other sort of loophole); the alleged perpetrator in fact murdered the lawful owner of the weapons in order to acquire them.
Further, mass-shooting events are almost-never random. Columbine and the Aurora theater shooting both are known to have been extensively planned. In the case of Newtown it is reported that the shooter destroyed his computer, including the hard disk, before beginning his assault, in addition to attempting to buy a gun in a store. This evidences material amounts of planning and premeditation, which means he didn't randomly decide to shoot up a school, he planned to do so and selected that as the location most-likely to bring him "success" as he defined it in whatever twisted worldview he held. Had he not been able to find someone with guns he could steal through committing murder (and consider that a cop could have been his intended target in that regard since they all have guns!) he could have used any one of a number of other easily-acquired means of committing murder and mayhem. This shooter was clearly nuts, but insane does not mean unable to plan -- that he very-clearly was able to do, and did.
There are, however, three things we could have done, and any of them might have stopped the tragedy from occurring, or at least limited or prevented the loss of life.
The first is to get rid of the so-called "gun free zones"; they are nothing more than a public advertisement that the persons within them are unarmed and thus targets for anyone who wants to commit murder.
There is already a strong vetting process for school personnel. We check them for criminal records for entirely valid reasons -- nobody wants a pedophile working for the school in contact with their kids! There is no reason not to allow school districts, if they so choose, to allow those members of their staff and faculty who desire to acquire the training to carry concealed to do so while on school property. In short removing the target of opportunity sign from the front door might have deterred this shooter. If it didn't the principal and teachers who elected to be trained would have had a fighting chance. And that's all we can ask for, really, when all the other defenses we try to put up in front of such an assault fail.
Second, if you're going to actually "up-armor" the schools, then do it and mean it. Classroom doors must be able to be locked from the inside and require a key to open from the outside. Sidelights and glass in the doors must be of shatter-proof material (e.g. wired glass or polycarbonate) so as to prevent someone from breaking a window and either walking in or reaching through or unlocking the door. Doors must be able to withstand a reasonable degree of assault, meaning they should be steel-framed and steel-cored, bolted to the building. The point is to deter assault, not make it impossible. At the same time there needs to be a means for two-way communication to and from the office along with some sort of duress alarm so in the event of a serious problem the teachers can all be informed to lock the doors. Many people want "single-point" entry with a passthrough from a front office or similar -- this is a nice idea for new schools, but is entirely unreasonable for existing construction. In addition we need to be sensitive to the fact that you still have to deal with exposures during before and after-school periods (e.g. when buses are loading and unloading); there's only so much you can reasonably do without turning schools into prisons. Our children are not prisoners of the State and we must not allow them to be treated as if they are.
Third, we must improve psychiatric surveillance and impose liability on those professionals who have a duty to report and fail to do so. The shooter at the Colorado movie theater could have been interdicted on this basis but wasn't. We don't yet know if that is the case in this incident, but the public deserves to know. There is a serious civil liberty concern here that has to be balanced against public safety, and for this reason the exact criteria and how we perform that balance must take place through public debate. There's nothing wrong with being crazy; we all have the right to be nuts so long as we're not a risk to anyone else. But when someone expresses a credible desire to commit mass-murder that sort of shield must evaporate.
In short the answer is not found in gun bans -- no matter what sort of excuse is offered. In the instant case there is no gun ban that would have changed the outcome.
But beyond the proved inability to be effective gun bans are nothing more than an outrageous demand by our political leadership that we submit not only ourselves but our children to slaughter by criminals, promoted by politicians dancing in dead childrens' blood and upon their still-warm corpses, while they hide behind their armed guards, bullet-proof windows and armored vehicles.
No citizen should stand for this crap -- not on an ethical basis, not on a moral basis, and not on a Constitutional basis.