Why gun restrictions are not the solution

How can we prevent more violence? How can we stop bad people from going on killing sprees?

We can’t.

That’s the stark reality.

We can blame society, we can blame guns, violent video games, how parents raise children, how the media sensationalizes these massacres, or a host of other factors. But there isn’t one reason why these things happen. There isn’t one thing that we can eliminate that will make these things impossible. For as long as there are people who have the volition to act as morally autonomous beings, these tragedies will be possible. And there is nothing that can stop that.

These incidents are rare. The overwhelming majority of us will never directly face a tragedy like this. Unfortunately, some people do. And for the people who do, it is tragic. For those of us who are never in one of those terrible situations, we can mourn the lost and remain vigilant. But it’s Utopian thinking to try to envisage a way in which the possibility of these tragedies is eliminated. The freedom of man is a great thing, but the consequence of our freedom is that we can utilize that freedom for the purpose of harming others. I’m appalled that these things can happen, but the reality cannot be altered.

For so many people, in so many articles, from so many politicians, in the wake of last week’s tragedy, it seems like a foregone conclusion that gun control necessarily needs to happen. More laws need to be in place. Mark Levin made the astute observation that the same politicians who talk about gun control are protected by guns an security on a daily basis.

But what about for the rest of us? Is the solution that we need to make a war on decent people having guns? The same politicians who speak out against firearms are also protected and kept safe by security who carry them. But the average person can’t afford security. How are we to be safe? Will laws make us safe? Of course not! How many laws did Adam Lanza break? He murdered his mother, stole her firearms, trespassed at a school, murdered innocent people, etc., etc., etc. He already broke laws. The laws didn’t stop him. In extreme situations, the laws don’t matter. And they especially don’t matter when a crazed murderer is on a suicide mission.

When I heard about the teachers who had died in this shooting, I had absolutely no doubt that we would hear stories of tremendous heroism and bravery. I had absolutely no doubt because those types of stories always emerge from these tragedies. At the Aurora shooting, three men died to protect the women who were with them. On 9/11, a group of people sacrificed themselves for the sake of protecting other innocent lives when they crashed their plane in a field. Every day, we have police officers and men and women serving our military who risk their safety to protect our communities and our country. There are always people willing to pay any cost to stop evil. I so often wonder about the prevention of these tragedies if more people were armed.

I’m not saying every random person ought to have a gun. But for people who are law abiding citizens who have been properly trained and who know how to shoot, I feel that they have far more potential to keep us safe from spree killers than any law or firearms restriction. Regardless of assault weapons, a person on this type of suicidal rampage can make other instruments of destruction. ON the same day as the Connecticut tragedy, a man went on a stabbing spree of an elementary school in China. The worst school massacre in American history was from a bomb, not an assault weapon.

Instead of trying to pretend that these incidents can be avoided, I feel that it is more practical to ask: what can be done when these events are actually happening to protect people? I believe that the best solution is for people to legally carry guns. The school and the movie theater in Aurora were both gun free zones. Who knows what could have happened in these events if someone had been carrying a firearm. There’s no way to know if it could have made a difference. But considering the great loss of life in both situations, I struggle to believe it could have done any harm.

On Sunday night, in San Antonio, it looked like another tragedy was in the works when a man opened fire at a restaurant and then proceeded to continue firing shots as he neared a movie theater which was next door. An off duty police officer (who was working security) fatally shot the gunmen.

I realize that it was someone who did work in law enforcement, but there’s nothing inherently special about a police officer. I feel that there are other people who can save and protect lives (with the right training).

When I say that these tragedies cannot be totally avoided, I’m not saying we should be fatalistic and wait for the next terrorist to strike. We should ask why he did this, what were the signs, could things have been prevented, what changes can be made to make people safer. After 9/11, changes were made with airline security. In America, there has not been a high jacked plane since then. Part of the reason is undoubtedly because of enhanced security features and because of more law enforcement on planes (with guns!). Changes were made. I’m not saying that nothing should ever be done in the aftermath of any tragedy. People who are troubled and who show warning signs of violence need to be helped. But guns will always be around and no law can change that.

jrb