Do Something that Actually Dissuades and Stops Killers

by Don

I am sympathetic with Ben Fordham’s call, in his 12/19 letter to the editor of The Citizen of Laconia (www.citizen.com), to “DO something“. We should do something that works. What we have been doing fails because it has been based on fantasy, not realism.

We have established “gun free zones” to protect children and others, but “gun free zones” only protect the killers and serve up unprotected victims.

Fordham apparently wonders why people want guns for protection since we have so much law enforcement, police, FBI, etc. If law enforcement is the answer, then why are there so many dead in Newtown? Newtown is evidence of the truth of the NRA claim, “when seconds count, the police are minutes away.”

There are gut wrenching questions about weapons, violence, crime, and evil that we don’t want to address (just like many people postpone writing wills and healthcare proxies, etc.) because the topic is discomforting. When something like Newtown happens, many politicians claim they are doing something by promoting good sounding, but ineffective remedies. If we want to save lives, we have to address these issues honestly and realistically.

First, no one advocates unrestricted access to guns (even criminals don’t want everyone to have guns, just them). Clearly some people have demonstrated by their actions that they are not responsible enough to have legal access to a gun, e.g., felons, the mentally ill.

Second. Gun laws don’t stop criminals from getting guns, they only keep law abiding people from being able to protect themselves. With more than 1 million people annually crossing our borders illegally and with hundreds, if not thousands, of tons of illegal drugs entering the country annually, it is a fantasy to believe that criminals won’t get and use guns no matter how strict our gun laws.

Also, cities and states with stricter gun laws generally have more violence and gun related crime than places with more lenient gun laws (where intended victims might be able to defend themselves). Even with its very strict gun laws, there are more people shot to death in Chicago every month than at Newtown.

Third. Despite Mayor Blumberg’s lies, other countries also have mass public killings. Norway, Scotland, Germany, and others where public mass killings occurred have strong nationwide anti-gun laws…ignored by killers.

Fourth. There is an upside to gun ownership, not just a downside. Besides being used for legal personal enjoyment, e.g., hunting and target shooting, guns are used dozens, perhaps hundreds of times a day to prevent law abiding people from becoming victims, often without firing a shot. (How does a 4’9” woman without a gun protect herself from a 6’5” attacker?) The media doesn’t consider these events newsworthy so it doesn’t report them.

Finally, we grieve for the families of the victims of this horrible crime in Newtown and for all crime victims. But, if we want to reduce the number of victims, we need to do things that work

To reduce crime our culture needs to condemn violence, respect life, and denigrate people who disregard the effects of their actions on others. We must not reward criminals with freedom or the fame they desire. Unfortunately, our culture does the opposite. (See my article in Tueday’s Citizen for a fuller discussion.)

Changing our culture will take lots of time and effort, and, perhaps most difficult, we have to decide that we want to change our culture.

Until we change our culture, we can live in a fantasyland where we believe that “gun free zone” signs and strict anti-gun laws will protect people, and then feel bad when we watch as children and adults continue to be killed. Or, we can do something that actually works. We can create an environment where criminals are deterred because their potential victim may successfully fight back. We can start immediately by repealing the counter-productive “gun free zone” law and let responsible, trained school staff be prepared to protect the children in their charge.

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  • IWKAGGP

    I can tell you if we did as the NRA suggested today and put armed officers in all schools tomorrow(well not tomorrow because it’s a Saturday and the first day of “Holiday” break – but you get my drift) – we wouldn’t have to worry about any more school shootings. But those “officers” should be actual “officers” – not teachers. Most teachers would have a hard time figuring out which end of the gun to point where if handed one – and that’s IF they actually took the weapon they were handed without recoiling in horror.

    • granitegrok

      >> Most teachers would have a hard time figuring out which end of the gun to point where if handed one

      You have a high opinion of your fellow workers

      >> IF they actually took the weapon they were handed without recoiling in horror.

      You should ask – you might be surprised. Or our stereotype might be confirmed.

      • IWKAGGP

        Oh believe me . . . I have asked! I’ve been asking that a lot over the past week. It’s been a big topic of discussion around the faculty lunch table in the cafeteria. Most of the faculty I query want no part of having more guns in school. I love my colleagues, they’re hard-working and dedicated teachers for the most part. They’re also very intelligent folks. But they simply have no frame of reference when it comes to firearms. Granted there are exceptions – there’s a handful of faculty who own guns and/or hunt. We would not be recoiling in fear if handed a sidearm, that’s for sure. There’s one faculty member who takes kids in his criminal justice class on a field trip to a police firing range to get actual range time with real live weapons. I’ve chaperoned this trip before and it’s a blast – literally. The kids love it. I actually wanted to do a Monitor column about it but he begged off because he “didn’t want to give that kind of publicity to the school.” I don’t blame him frankly. The folks at NEA-NH would probably protest if they knew that high schoolers were actually being taken out to shoot guns as part of a class. Such is the disconnect and total ignorance some folks in the field of education have about firearms.

        Since we’re engaging in this conversation I do have an honest question for the Groksters out there. My issue with what LaPiere proposed yesterday has nothing to do with the proposal itself but with the funding of that proposal. Consider this: To put armed officers in every school in the nation – or to arm and train teachers – would require a significant outlay of cash. LaPiere didn’t state yesterday how this would all be paid for. Sure, we could RAISE TAXES to generate the revenue to fund it. But alas . . . sitting on the board of the NRA is none other than a Mr. GROVER NORQUIST! Something tells me he would be in favor of a tax increase to fund the school shield program. So I find myself sounding like . . . well, like any of you Groksters . . . HOW ARE WE GONNA PAY FOR THIS?!?!?!

        • http://www.GraniteGrok.com/ Rick Olson

          Funding….well, it certainly doesn’t take a great deal as I see it. If teachers were simply willing to spend the time, go to the range, take this instruction as a symbol of their enduring commitment to protect the children, this could easily be a symbiotic relationship.

          On the other hand, there are the Teachers Unions who might inject themselves into the issue, will drive the cost. Besides, the teacher Unions holler and yell when funding is leveled or reduced. I hear it at budget time every year here in Manchester…”The children will suffer” but actually, we should substitute the word, “children” with the word, “paycheck.”
          I personally do not think we are at a point in society where we all, teachers, parents or others…are willing to take a good hard look at school security. It is easier to blame guns.

          • IWKAGGP

            Well you answered one of the scenarios – sort of. In the “Teachers as armed guards” scenario – would all teachers be mandated to purchase their own sidearms? Would the taxpayers pay for them? What about the training? Would we just be left to go to the range ourselves and be trusted that we all knew how to properly prepare ourselves with the weapons we bought/were issued? My bro-in-law is a retired cop and a firearms master trainer who’s trained cops all over New England – that kind of training doesn’t come for free. And take it from someone who knows the bloated bureaucracy of the educational system – there would be mountains more paperwork, meetings, training, etc for this. And would we be “Evaluated” on our marksmenship? So many questions – so few answers.

            And what about the other scenario? Trained, uniformed officers carrying guns in all schools? THAT would cost a pretty penny.

          • http://www.GraniteGrok.com/ Rick Olson

            Uniformed Officers? waste of time….Crazy people are crazy, not stupid…the uniform becomes a hard target for a mass shooter….So, you don’t think….there are people who would volunteer to protect our children and either bring their training or get the appropriate training and do it as a labor of love? You seem so concerned about the cost…is it your position that it cannot be done?

          • IWKAGGP

            I’m not saying that it cannot be done. But I also see the hypocrisy of folks on the right who are always complaining about “the costs” and claiming “we can’t afford that, our children can’t afford that” suddenly NOT caring about the cost in this instance and instead becoming all “touchy-feely” with some “pie-in-the-sky” notion of “good folks doing good just for the sake of doing good.” I know there are probably people out there who would donate their time but the reality is that there’s probably not enough of them to cover every school in the country. I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist.

            And I’d look pretty funny with my Ruger M77 slung across my shoulder and a guitar slung over the other shoulder!

          • IWKAGGP

            Having BOTH of those “weapons” on me at the same time would make it difficult to use either to the best of my ability.

  • don

    I would oppose putting police in all the schools, it is not necessary and it may not be useful. The most important thing is to take away the gun free zone signs and allow staff who are trained and responsible to carry in school…without any indication of who is carrying. Gun free zones just tell people who want to be famous or go out with company that here is a place to go where you can be very successful, kill lots of people and be very famous, without fear of getting shot before being successful. Criminals and potential criminals need to know that their potential victims might be able to successfully fight back.

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