Emotions are running high throughout our troubled land right now, and understandably so, in light of the horrific massacre of twenty innocent young children and seven adults at the hands of a mentally deranged gunman last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I have had decidedly very un-Christian thoughts regarding the evil done at the hands of this killer myself. That said, there are many people that are letting emotion overcome their sense of reason. That can only serve to exacerbate an already terrible problem.
Already there are well-meaning, if not well-informed, people that are petitioning for greater gun control from our White House, as if that would have prevented this problem. And of course, there are the opportunistic and cynical politicians that are abiding by Rahm Emanuel’s dictate to “let no good crisis go to waste”.
I even saw a blog listing various Facebook posts from some despicable people calling for the murder of the NRA president and its members as their proposed solution to this gruesome problem. Evidently those geniuses are unaware of the fact that the National Rifle Association has always adamantly supported that felons and the mentally ill not have access or ownership of firearms and have worked with law enforcement accordingly.
There have also been a slew of people calling for the repeal of the second amendment. I cannot help but shake my head in sadness and some disgust that these likely well-meaning people would want to disarm themselves thereby making even greater evils a possibility on down the road.
The second amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Now there is a very good reason why our founders placed this amendment as the second one to our Constitution. The people, that means individual Americans, have the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of and by necessity to “secure a free State” and the Supreme Court clearly ruled that this is an individual right in supporting that understanding.
Many gun-control advocates have argued that the second amendment is a now-archaic right and was written so that the federal government could arm citizens for the national defense via militias and was not ever intended as an individual right. After all, we have a standing army now, so there is no need for private citizens to be armed, right? This is nonsensical because if such had been the intention of the framers of the constitution, they would have said as much in the body of the constitution where the rights, duties, obligations, and restrictions on the federal government were listed. The fact that the right to bear arms is listed in the Bill of Rights along with the other rights guaranteed to The People, clearly indicates that this was always intended to be an individual right, and so it absolutely must be.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.” -- George Washington
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
Disarming law-abiding citizens via more stringent gun-control legislation is hardly the answer to curbing such massacres. As long as there are people in our society that are bent on doing evil of their own free will, or because of mental illness, they will find a way to do so. Indeed, last week in China (a land where private ownership of firearms is illegal) a deranged man with a knife stabbed 22 children.
Even with this horrible crime in Connecticut last week, the very tough gun control laws already enacted and the “gun-free zone” signs on the elementary school did not dissuade this person bent on committing evil.
Putting aside any emotional aversion one might have towards firearms, think how different an outcome there might have been in Sandy Hook Elementary and how many kids could have been saved if only the Principal or one of the teachers had been carrying a firearm. Creating gun free zones like schools, or the theater in Aurora, Colorado where the evil person killed twelve people earlier this year, only ensures that the perpetrators’ victims will be unarmed and easier targets accordingly.
Indeed, overshadowed by this horrific slaughter last week was the sad, but not nearly as tragic killing of two people at the Clackamas Towne Center mall in suburban Portland, Oregon that previous Tuesday. The person that was responsible for those killings was well-armed with an AR-15 and had a bullet proof vest on at the time. How come this man who had thirty round magazines was unable to kill more than two people in a very crowded mall of Christmas shoppers? It is because one of the patrons at the mall, Nick Meli, was legally carrying a concealed fire arm. When the shooting started, he drew his weapon and the evil perpetrator saw him.
“He was working on his rifle,” said Meli. ”He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side.” The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter. “As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them,” he said. Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision. “I’m not beating myself up cause I didn’t shoot him,” said Meli. “I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself.”
The gunman knew that there was a citizen that was armed and wasn’t going to be an easy victim. All of a sudden, his plans for massacre were curtailed. He now had to worry about being killed himself before fully implementing his plan. Nick Meli saved untold lives in that mall last week simply by drawing his weapon and not even firing a shot. How come this profound lesson is not being reported in the media?
Back in 2007, a lone shooter entered the “gun-free” Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City and opened fire. He killed five people and managed to injure many others. The only reason why there weren’t more deaths or injuries is because an off-duty police officer was eating dinner at one of the mall restaurants with his family. When he heard the shooting, he quickly secured his family, drew his firearm and managed to pin down the assailant until other police arrived. Had an armed person not been there to stop this evil man, dozens more people could easily have been killed – all in a gun free “safe” area.
In 1997, a sixteen year old boy bludgeoned his mother to death and then drove to Pearl High School which he attended. He shot and killed his girlfriend that had broken up with him and one other person. The assistant principal, Joel Myrick, went to his vehicle, retrieved his legally owned .45 pistol, and subdued the evil shooter until police arrived. Again, an armed citizen prevented the likely killing of many more innocent people accordingly.
Perhaps it is time we start talking about real solutions to these too-common mass killings. Outlawing firearms in violation of the second amendment is not the answer. Indeed that will only inflame an already horrible problem and ensure that future people will more likely be victims without the ability to defend themselves. I know the pain and outrage that many Americans are feeling because of this horrific evil. I share that with them. We need to work to decrease the likelihood of these problems and not react in knee-jerk fashion to disarm those citizens that are law-abiding so that they are unable to adequately defend themselves and their loved ones.
Benjamin Franklin understood it quite well: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”