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My Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Shooting

AngelsThe tragedy at Sandy Hooks Elementary School has impacted everyone in the United States, and possibly beyond.  Obviously and most seriously impacted, are the families and friends of the educators and children, whose lives will forever be changed by this event. I cannot imagine their pain, their grief.  I have shed tears for them, and pledge my support and prayers.  I am a mother – I have two children, one 16-year-old daughter and one 5-year-old son.  I see the innocence and sweetness of my son daily, the trust he has that the world is a good place, that he is safe.  As I watched the news on Friday and saw the horror on the faces of the children as they were led from the building, I imagined my own son, and my daughter at that age, and immediately knew that every one of those children are victims.  It does not matter if they were wounded or not, they have all suffered trauma, and their innocence has been ripped from them, one week before Christmas, in a place where they should have been safe.

I have stayed quiet for a couple days because I was too sad to write, it seemed too soon to even discuss it, maybe it is too soon even today.  The media obviously does not feel that way, and predominantly, the discussion is regarding increased gun control.  This discussion is the same discussion that happens every time there is a mass shooting like this.  I personally think this time it will be different.  I think this time, because of the babies, the angels, that were taken too soon – this time the gun control advocates might be able to enact legislation to Federally increase gun control to a point that the entire country is as controlled as California, or worse. I mean, truly, who can vote “for” the murder of sweet six year old babies.  You know that is how it will be presented: If you believe zero new gun laws are needed, you must think this slaughter of innocent children is no big deal.  I heard Soledad O’Brien and Pierce Morgan on CNN both worked into a similar frenzy in the past two days. As members of the media, they were biased beyond belief. They both interviewed experts from the gun-rights side of the issue, but seemingly only so they could berate them on National TV – definitely not to allow them to present their case, not to allow factual information to pass their lips.

The opposing argument is that enacting new gun control legislation will not stop this type of tragedy.  At one time in my life, I wanted to be a first grade teacher, my step-mom is currently a first grade teacher, and I love children – especially that age, so much.  I just honestly believe if someone is set on harming a high number of people, there are some places that make it easier than others. A school, a movie theater, a mall are all obvious choices.  All schools I know about are “Gun Free Zones” many malls and movie theaters have signs posted with the same decree. People in these places are like sitting ducks.  Schools do drills for fire and tornados over and over, and I believe that because of the Columbine shooting, they have also started planning for a mass-shooting events. The teachers at Sandy Hook were incredibly heroic, beyond any expectation – they were strong and brave.  Every situation is different, and I know lessons will come from this horrifying event that, in the future, will make schools safer than they are now. Greg Ellifritz wrote an article for “Active Response Training” detailing some ideas that both parents and educators might consider, to increase children’s safety at school.  Click here to read his thoughts.

Will a ban on semi-automatic weapons, AR-15s, Sig Sauers, Glocks, stop this carnage? There has been quite a lot of research conducted that states otherwise.  Read a couple examples the links below:

  1. Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser, conducted a study published in the Harvard Journal of Law, titled, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” In it they compared the gun ownership of European nations with strict gun laws verses those with few gun laws and their comparative suicide and murder rates.
  2. Jacob Deakins, M.D. conducted a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons titled, “Guns, Truth, Medicine, and the Constitution.”

I don’t want to wear you out with facts and details, but in order to retain our gun rights, we will have to educate ourselves. The gun control activists have the more emotional side, and they are less educated on the facts.  They will flash and politicize the photos of these babies, and it will call to all our souls. It is fear mongering, and we must fight against it.

I ask again, would increased gun control have stopped this senseless tragedy? The Bushmaster .223, an AR-15, used in the Sandy Hook shooting would likely not be the only semi-automatic weapon included in any gun control proposal. Let’s consider a world where the only handguns allowed were revolvers. How fast can a person fire a revolver? How fast can a person fire a revolver, reload and then fire again?  Here is an example of the fastest revolver:

Yes, this is an extreme example, but you get the point.  What if a mentally ill person, bent on destruction, had only a revolver?  What if the shooter on Friday had only killed 6 children, would that have been less tragic?  We would still be horrified (rightly so) the number only makes it worse, but either story would have been a tragedy. Banning all semi-automatic weapons will do the following:

  1. Drive the price up, dramatically, for those weapons still out in society.
  2. Drive mentally ill, or otherwise evil, individuals to commit crimes to obtain a gun.
  3. Or, they will use other still legal weapons and means to commit their crimes.

All the existing gun laws, already in place, should have prevented this man from obtaining a gun. Apparently, he was denied a purchase of a weapon at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store a couple days before this incident.    Should his mother have had better control over her guns, I would say so.  Especially knowing what we know now, there is no doubt about that. The responsibility that goes along with gun ownership is not something to be taken lightly.  Even if this 20-year-old man was brilliant, he reportedly had mental problems, and his mother, whom he lived with, would have understood that better than any background check would have uncovered.  Maybe the details on that part of the story will come out, but no matter what took place in that home, this is a lesson to all gun owners. We must be more responsible than the law requires, more responsible than any trained course asks of us, if we truly want to keep our firearms.

Can someone cause this much damage without firearms?  Friday morning, one of my blogging friends shared the story with me about the man in China who stabbed all the children. I was going to write about that, then a few hours later, on the same day the news began reporting the Sandy Hook shooting.  What about the Oklahoma Bombing? Do you remember the photos of the fireman carrying a child from the building; do you remember the daycare center? Oh, there are ways to create a disaster, and people hell-bent on destruction will find those ways. Do not kid yourselves. Do not be naive.

Could one person with a concealed carry permit have stopped the killing, or some of the killing?  I do not know the answer to that, much like the theater shooting, there is so much speculation either way. An under-publicized story from the Portland Mall shooting included a man who did have his gun with him, he took cover behind a pillar and pulled his gun.

He considered firing, and almost did – but he saw movement and thought there was a chance he would hurt someone else if he pulled his trigger. (A responsible decision, one that the media believes a responsible gun-owner is incapable of making.)  Apparently, the gunman saw him with his gun and the next thing that happened was the gunman killed himself. Maybe what ever caused him to “trip off line” was tripped back to right at the sight of the gun pointed at him, and he realized what he had done and ended it.  We do not know.  There are so many reasons everything happened, most we will never know.

Another argument is that all teachers should not have guns, that they should not be trusted, the kids might get the gun, etc.  No one says that ALL teachers should have guns, but undoubtedly, there are Principals and teachers who are very proficient with a gun, and who would be able to think clearly.  Much like an air-marshal or a pilot on an airplane, why shouldn’t some of those people (very carefully screened) no be allowed to carry?  It would lessen the opportunity of the “sitting ducks” and could make a person think twice before thinking a school is an easy target.

Read the studies I cited above, consider the people you know. I can promise you, banning firearms – even 100% of firearms, will not stop these crimes. What it will actually lead to is so much worse than what we saw on Friday (even though that is hard to imagine.) We have the 2nd Amendment for a reason, so that the people may protect themselves and their family against predators, especially a tyrannical government.  How does a dictator rise to power?  There is an entire series of events that must occur first – and disarming the public is part of that process.  Do not give up your liberty for safety; there are other ways to find safety, to find protection.

I know this was a lot to read, and if you made it all the way to the bottom – thank you. Let’s all make a pledge to be responsible gun owners, and to educate ourselves against the battle that is sure to come.

God bless all those whose lives were taken or forever affected by this evil man.  My prayers are with you always.