The children are buried, the hoards of reporters and camera crews have moved on to the next story, but Newtown, Conn., will never be the same. The anguish of families that lost a child may subside but will never go away.
How can we make sure mass school murders never happen again? The adult answer is — we can’t.
Since Cain slew Abel in a fit of jealousy, people have been killing each other with sticks, rocks, blades, poisons, bombs, guns and a hundred other tools of choice. New laws won’t stop it.
Why in recent years have we seen mass killings by suicidal lunatics? The popular and false answer is to blame semi-automatic weapons, but those have been with us since the early 1900s. The adult answer, of course, is more complex.
Our culture is becoming coarse, inhibitions are evaporating, honor and pride are fading, shame has disappeared, restraint is a distant memory, thug behavior is glorified in rap (I refuse to call it music), self-indulgence is the new normal, instant gratification is the national lifestyle, boundaries are no longer visible, respect for others is passe, casual violence at movie theaters is our modern version of the Roman Colosseum and video games teach kids slaughter as a practiced skill.
Taking comfort in personal responsibility, self-reliance, integrity and accomplishment through hard work has taken a back seat to the counterfeit glitter of a brief flash of fame.
The mentally ill have so many rights we can do little even if they appear to be dangerous, but when someone carries out a perverse plan to end their existence in a blaze of murderous glory, knowing their foul deeds will be spread worldwide in hand-wringing hysterical hi-def technicolor by a media seeking to fill hundreds of channels around the clock, we blame the gun.
Adult complexities do not satisfy the liberal urge to make even more rules for us to live by. When the first unbelievable reports of the Newtown shooting of children emerged, anti-gun activists were already pouncing on this opportunity to sell their agenda, having been patiently waiting for the next mass shooting to exploit the raw feelings of an electorate softened up by a few days of semi-sobbing TV coverage.
What about you? Do you realize you are being played? Whether you like guns or not, do you recognize the propaganda being fed to you, slowly but surely turning guns into objects of fear, evil and loathing? Do you wonder at legislators fashioning new gun control laws with apparently little knowledge of guns and no regard for our Constitutional freedoms? Do you wonder whether the media is reporting honestly?
On Dec. 11, a whack-job gunman started shooting in a shopping mall in the Portland, Ore., area. Nick Meli, a young man licensed to carry a firearm, had ignored the mall’s “No Guns” posting and had his Glock semi-automatic pistol, with which he confronted the shooter. The shooter then killed himself, having been stopped after killing two innocents.
On Dec. 16 a deranged gunman tried to shoot up a theater crowd in San Antonio, Texas, but an armed off-duty police officer shot back and ultimately just two innocent people were wounded.
You didn’t see much of these stories on TV news, maybe because the media doesn’t want to push the narrative that armed, law-abiding citizens can stop crimes in process. You’re being played, not only by what you see on TV, but what you don’t see.
On the first day of this 113th Congress, 10 gun control bills were introduced with various new rules and restrictions. But realistically, what new laws would have prevented the Newtown shootings?
My guess is – none. Connecticut already has strict gun control laws, and the shooter violated a long list of laws.
The assault weapons ban being proposed is a prime example of ignorance and deception. “Assault Rifle” (AR) has become a pair of dirty words, spit out by anti-gunners with breathtaking ignorance.
An AR is nothing more than another semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip that makes it look “mean.” About half of the TV talking heads get it wrong by confusing semi-automatic with automatic weapons.
An automatic weapon rapidly fires bullets continually as long as the trigger is depressed, a feature that has been illegal without a special permit for decades.
An AR is a semi-automatic weapon, meaning it fires one round with each trigger pull. Countless types of semi-automatic rifles and handguns have been owned and sold in America for a century.
Limiting magazines to 10 rounds may sound reasonable but will have little effect since replacing an empty magazine with a fresh load takes about two seconds.
Anti-gunners say we don’t need an AR to hunt. Well, pardon me for being a purist on Constitutional rights, but the Second Amendment doesn’t say a word about hunting, and I don’t need the government telling me which weapon I should use to hunt.
As it turns out, if I were to hunt deer, I would use my AR, a .223 caliber with a scope that I now use only at the range to punch target holes close together – at least I try – at 100 yards. But whether I hunt or not isn’t my government’s business.
Interestingly, the very popular .30-06 semi-automatic deer rifle is not affected by the proposed AR ban, but it fires just as fast as my AR with rounds twice as powerful.
You can even find that deer rifle with a more comfortable pistol grip and high capacity magazines, that is if you need proof positive the proposed AR ban accomplishes nothing. But it does appeal to the emotions of the ignorant.
If I wanted (and I do not!) to ban guns with the real effect of restriction to minimize rate of fire, I would have to ban all semi-automatic rifles and handguns, including shotguns used for skeet shooting and duck hunting.
I would have to also ban lever-action rifles like the well-made Henry line, leaving only revolver handguns and bolt action rifles.
But having slid down most of the slippery slope, I should probably also ban handgun revolvers, which, after all, still fire one round for each trigger pull until empty, and reloading can be quick with prepared speed-loads.
And of course, to be meaningful, I would have to confiscate existing weapons that are banned, leaving only single-shot and bolt action rifles.
That, my friends, is a preview of the anti-gun crowd’s real, long-term, radical agenda.
But there is ample evidence gun control laws have little effect on crime. States with very lax gun laws, like Maine and Vermont, have very low gun crime rates. Chicago, on the other hand, has very strict gun control laws but rampant crime.
The previous AR ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004 and had no appreciable effect on gun violence in the U.S. because the majority of gun crimes – including mass murder and school shootings – were carried out with handguns.
The 1999 Columbine school murders in Colorado occurred right in the middle of that AR ban, and as usual in every other case the perpetrators ignored all laws. But they didn’t use an AR.
Before the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 there were few shootings at schools, but since then there have been 22 notable incidents.
Some say criminals bent on self-destruction and seeking a dramatic final statement choose schools because they know there are no defensive weapons at the school to deter them.
My guess is the lunatics are attracted by the dramatic effect and TV fame for their last act.
I don’t know what new gun control laws will be enacted, but I do know this. When the next mass murder happens, and it will, the anti-gunners will again be ready to pounce, stretching for ever more restrictions, regulations and bans.
I imagine they will stand down when citizens are no longer allowed to bear arms.
Do you really want to make schools safer? Repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and encourage every school to select a few willing teachers or staff to be trained and armed.
That is better than hiring guards to do nothing productive while waiting for an attack that for nearly every school will never come. And if an attack does come, there will be someone there with a good chance to stop the perp from going all the way.
Do you really want to reduce mass murder? Convince the news media to impose a TV news blackout. Take away the attraction of a famous death. Give up the voyeur circus on our TVs at the expense of the victims.
Sufficiently interested citizens could read all about it in newspapers. Do you think the TV media is more interested in reducing mass murder or their own ratings? Good luck with that one.
Meanwhile, ponder your child’s safety and the evils or virtues of citizens armed for defense, knowing when seconds count, law enforcement is just minutes away.
[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]