When I heard the news about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, I immediately wanted to know if everyone made it out alive. That was wishful thinking. The impact of the deaths of 14 students and 3 adults was again terrifying.
I thought about what it would be like to be a student in that situation. How terrified would I be? How would I react? I also thought of being a parent and my daughter being in that situation. I can’t imagine because she never went through anything like that. But, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
I was just about to graduate college in April of 1999 when I heard about Columbine. My daughter was two months old. That news was terrifying because to me, it was something I had never imagined. I was hired as a teacher that year and started in the fall. One of my first memories was entering the school on Staff Day a few days before the kids would start back and one of the teachers mentioned the Columbine tragedy. We were reminded of what those students and teachers went through.
When Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 28 and injuring 2, it was 13 years later on December 14, 2012. Even though the Virginia Tech shooting had happened in 2007, it was a school shooting of a different kind. Sandy Hook reminded people of Columbine. The Virginia Tech shooting was an evil in a separate category. But, still a school shooting.
The thing is that on March 21, 2005, the Red Lake shooting claimed the lives of 10 while 7 were injured. In October 1, 2015, 10 were killed and 9 were injured in the Umpqua Community College shooting, a college in Roseburg, Oregon. Why these weren’t as televised as Columbine and Sandy Hook is anyone’s guess. But, the fact of the matter is that there have been school shootings since the late 1700s and in general, there has been at least one a year since the 1950s.
Most school shootings have resulted in no deaths. But when one or two people are killed in a school, that’s too many and it officially becomes a school shooting. What never fails is the immediate debate on gun control that erupts. We hadn’t even buried the dead from the Stoneman Douglas shooting and the political lines were being drawn again.
Arguments from the Gun Control Advocates
Gun control advocates want to ban assault weapons. Only the military and the police should have weapons of that kind. The 2nd Amendment was only established to give states the power to have a militia. The right to bear arms was never intended for everyone.
Arguments from Anti-Gun Control Advocates
Gun bans only disarm law abiding citizens. Criminals don’t follow laws. If the shooter has a military grade assault weapon, the only way to competently defend my home and my family is to have the same or greater fire power. The 2nd Amendment is for The People to defend themselves against a tyrannical government and anyone who is out to do our family harm.
And Then It Goes From There
The debate then spirals into some facts and some false facts from both sides. Each side yells “check your facts” while spreading their own false statistics and notions. Trying to keep an open mind and hear everyone out, it’s a lot of work to fact-check and verify everything. But, this is one thing both sides need to remember. If you have to lie to make your point, you have no point.
These shooters are domestic terrorists. I don’t think anyone can argue effectively against that. Do they have mental issues? Yes. Of course, they do. There is something inherently wrong with a person who intentionally wants to kill and terrorize innocent people.
But, where does that get us? A mad man who wants to shoot up a school can get an assault rifle from the scumbag selling them out of his van in a back alley. The huge question that remains is what are we going to do about it? What is the solution to this problem?
The first thing to realize is that there is no perfect solution. It’s a messy world and a messy solution is about all you’re going to be able to get. Having armed guards at the school and arming teachers seems to be one idea that is catching on. Ironically, the NRA is looked at as the bad guy throughout all this. But, they came up with that idea years ago. They call it the National School Shield and it was proposed in 2012 when they called for Training Armed School Staff.
Of course, no one is calling for all teachers to have guns. It won’t be a requirement. That’s another point in the conversation that goes sideways. If teachers are against guns, they don’t have to go through the training and get a carry permit. There will be more than enough teachers who will be all for it.
Some People Have A Solution
The conversation is still going and that’s a good thing. But while gun control advocates are yelling about needing solutions, people are already acting. It’s a point that has been ignored because of all the other hype involved in the debate. What’s getting more attention is what the politicians and the journalists have to say about it rather than what people are already doing.
Headlines That Show There Is A Solution
— Father Turns In Daughter – That is tough love. But if you can’t do that, the alternative is hearing about your own child being arrested for entering a school and killing innocent people. This father’s daughter will get the treatment she needs without having had to kill anyone. That is a much better scenario.
— 13 Year Old Arrested For Threat – Plus, there is a list of other incidences in this article where people have acted on threats.
This list goes on and it includes actual threats that were stopped as well as the idiotic pranks kids are playing. What they are thinking is anyone’s guess. They like getting out of school. They think it’s funny. Who knows? But, even those pranks are being dealt with seriously and those kids are getting in big trouble. Use them as an example and that should stop the stupidity.
The Zero Factor
These incidences have all occurred since the Stoneman Douglas shooting and there were probably many incidences that were stopped prior to it. But, that’s what I call the Zero Factor. The Zero Factor isn’t a statistic or a number of any kind because it’s the thing that “didn’t happen.”
We don’t have statistics on that. How many times has an armed man in a store stopped a criminal from entering and robbing the place? We don’t know because it didn’t happen.
How many times has having armed security officers in a school kept a domestic terrorist from entering with the intent of taking innocent lives? We don’t know because ALL of those times didn’t happen.
The thing is that those things have happened. An armed man in a store has kept a criminal from entering to rob the place. Armed security officers at schools have kept domestic terrorists from entering with the intent to take innocent lives. But, we don’t have statistics on it. Because of that, it’s a blind spot. It’s the detail that some people miss because they have every other fact and opinion being thrown at them all day from all different directions.
The Zero Factor is bigger than we think even though it can’t be calculated. It’s the reason homicides by gun aren’t much higher than they are and it’s the reason why crime throughout the country isn’t running rampant regardless of what the media might lead you to believe. When you watch the news, you hear the first three or four stories talking mostly about crimes involving guns. But, you don’t hear about the million times that same day when a gun stopped a crime from even happening.
What Will Banning Certain Guns Do?
This is the part of the conversation where all parties need to be more honest with themselves. When gun control advocates say they want to ban guns, gun owners against gun control think the thought is ridiculous. The bad guys will still have the guns.
While that is true, it’s not easy. That guy in the van is not as easy to find as you might think. Some people wouldn’t begin to know where to look in the first place. Plus, a guy like Nikolas Cruz most likely wouldn’t have been able to get a banned gun anyway.
The scum who sell illegal guns in back alleys might not care about anyone’s life, but they care about their own. One look at Nikolas Cruz and they might have told him they weren’t going to deal with him. He raises too many red flags. He could be in trouble and he’s arranging an illegal gun purchase to get off. Or would he be quick to snitch if he got caught? Those are the thoughts that go through the minds of these types of gun dealers and a guy like Cruz might have never been able to buy a gun illegally.
The gun control advocates have a point. But, they don’t seem to be able to put it into words that gun owners against gun control can relate. And yet, that still puts these guns in the hands of the bad guys while law abiding citizens can’t have them. What do they need them for? Isn’t it obvious? They need the guns to protect themselves against the bad guys who have them.
Each side has valid concerns. Each side makes valid points. But, no one particular viewpoint is absolutely right on this and that’s the hardest point to get across.
Both Sides Have Stopped Listening
When Gun Control Advocates say they don’t want to take all the guns, it doesn’t register because it doesn’t seem like that conversation will ever stop. That doesn’t seem to be where it will end. First of all, look at the list of guns on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018!
If those guns get banned, will that be the end of it?
Creating Awareness Is Another Good Start
When it comes to guns, there are people who love guns who don’t know what they’re talking about. How can a person who hates guns and doesn’t even touch them know anything? If creating awareness is the answer in everything else that we do to bring about social change, it ought to be the answer when it comes to having a debate on gun control.
Here are a few examples why:
— This is the video of a news reporter mistaking a shotgun for an AR-15.
— And then there is Gersh Kuntzman, the news reporter who claimed he got PTSD from firing an AR-15. An AR-15 can literally be fired with one hand. The recoil is not like a shotgun or a higher caliber rifle. After all, it’s only a .22. Kids in gun owner families often get a .22 for their first rifle. An AR-15 is in the same caliber as that. All I’m asking for is honest dialog on the subject. There’s no need to exaggerate when you want to create a report for the news. Because remember if you have to lie to make your point, you don’t have a point.
This news report accompanied the article he wrote entitled “What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, menacing and very very loud” where he stated:
“The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”
— If we were more honest with each other, the conversation would go a lot further and cover a lot more ground. Like this news reporter who tried to prove how easy it is to buy an AR-15. While gun control advocates are fighting for stricter gun laws, Neil Steinberg tried to buy a gun and found out the gun laws that are in place work pretty well.
Some people truly believe that gun owners who are against any gun ban care more about the guns than they do the children. I don’t know if that’s just grandstanding to get attention or if they actually believe that, but nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know of one gun owner who cares more about the guns than the kids. It’s just that there are two completely different sets of thought on that.
While gun control advocates think that banning certain guns will make them harder to get and ultimately harder to use in a shooting, gun owners against gun control think that having the guns will make life safer for the kids. It’s the same mentality that it’s foolish to take a knife to a gun fight. If the other guy has a gun, it’s best to defend yourself with a gun.
That’s hard to grasp for people who hate guns. But, gun owners do care. They just have a different way of showing it. Anyone who says that gun owners care more about their guns than they do kids has lost touch with the conversation and all of the players in it.
Emotions To Enact Laws
One thing that can never be allowed to happen is the passing of laws that are based on emotional appeal. Walk into a court of law and you’ll find the lawyers and the judges using law to sort things out. They don’t allow emotions to dictate how the law will go. They might listen to someone cry. They might let a defendant beg.
But, it takes at least two lawyers and a judge to sort it out and that’s the checks and balances. The defense attorney is there to check the prosecutor just like the prosecutor is supposed to keep the defense attorney in check. The judge checks them both. They don’t make decisions based on emotion.
That’s how our laws are made. Of course, people want to scream and yell. They have every right to scream and yell. They have every right to cry and break down emotionally because this is too much. It passed that point a long time ago. But, it’s not a good policy to make any changes while we’re still an emotional wreck. We won’t make the right choices. We won’t make effective ones. It will be like the dog chasing its tail because it won’t make anything better until we find the solutions that work.