On a December day last year, a disturbed 20-year old murdered his mother. He then drove to an elementary school where he killed 20 young children and six adults, reportedly using several guns.
Something has to be done to stop this sort of massacre from happening again. If that is possible.
Or, according to some, something has to be done whether such prevention is possible or not.
So immediately politicians who had long supported gun control laws argued that the Newtown atrocity proved the need for those laws. Despite government studies showing that a past assault weapons ban had no impact on gun-related deaths, numerous politicians called for a new assault weapons ban, tighter controls and reporting requirements, and the like.
The president got involved, and repackaged this agenda under cover of his deep and abiding empathy for the loss at Newtown, describing that day as the worst day of his presidency, the saddest day.
The days he himself ordered drone strikes on allied countries, without a declaration of war, killing innocents — including hundreds of children — apparently didn’t have a similar effect.
Oddly, nothing in the new gun control proposals advanced by the president or those in Congress would have deterred the massacre in Newtown.
While the federal government seeks to take away rights, the local government in Newtown has decided to add protection:
Late Thursday the Newtown Board of Education voted to request the presence of two kinds of guards inside the town’s elementary schools. The vote, for now, only represents a request — it still needs to clear budget and logistical boundaries since the guards would come from the town’s police resources as opposed to the school board itself. But the plan “would put two eyes and ears — one armed, one unarmed — at each Newtown school,” reports Bronxville Patch’s Davis Dunavin. The guards, officially called school resource officers (SROs), were already a fixture at all Newtown schools in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but until this vote they were budgeted only to be a presence at middle and high Schools. . . .
This may serve as a worthy blow against gun-grabbing hysteria. Instead of lashing out at “the usual suspects” (the infamous category of guns called “assault weapons,” despite the fact that these weapons account for a small and declining percentage of murders in this country), Newtown’s move to put armed professionals in schools to protect children puts common sense back into our concerns for our children.
It is a major blow against the “gun-free zones” utopianism. Putting up a sign to say something is unlawful doesn’t stop criminals. But it does put the kibosh on good guys with guns protecting folks (including children) against criminals. The “gun-free zones” notion is a mere pious hope, a wish, a dream. With a kick against the cause it allegedly supports.
Newtown’s vote reverses that revered trend.
And it’s about time.
The vote also takes a metaphorical slap at all those who have made the NRA their whipping boy. It was the NRA, you will remember, that came out after the massacre and advised putting armed police protection in all schools, arguing that, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (I had made the somewhat less expensive suggestion that the gun-free zone idea be repudiated, and trained teachers and administrators be allowed to carry weapons to school.)
This “Good Guys with Guns” meme received a lot of ridicule.
Now, despite their loudly expressed loathing for the NRA, the advocates of further gun control legislation were quick to claim that they had no intention (or even the merest hankering!) to take away any guns now legally in the possession of law-abiding citizens. But the chief sponsor of the new federal legislation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), has long been on record wanting to make “Mr. and Mrs. America” turn over their guns to the government.
Meanwhile, these same politicians, along with their adoring media lapdogs, began attacking the National Rifle Association as somehow the responsible party to the Newtown shooting and all other “gun crimes” (as if weapons defended by the Second Amendment and an organization supporting the Second Amendment were more to be feared than the trigger-pulling murderers).
Funny thing is, politicians are themselves guarded, daily (sometimes nightly and routinely), by women and men (presumably good men) with guns. And no one, I mean no one in politics, would consider disarming their own guardians. So “gun control” is very selective indeed.
The Newtown education board, by siding with the NRA’s solution as the only near-term viable policy, does not address every issue regarding guns and “control” in America. But by repudiating the wishful thinking utopianism of “Gun Free Zones” and by emphasizing the addition of protection rather than the subtraction of the same, the Newtown vote hits a bull’s eye. [further reading]
February 3, 2013
This column first appeared at Townhall.com.