America’s attention was glued on a small town in Connecticut last weekend where a 20 year old kid killed 26 people, including 20 first graders, and then killed himself. Previously, he had also killed his mother, whose guns he used in the attack.
The facts, as we know them, are these:
The shooter, Adam Lanza, used guns that were purchased legally in a state that has gun laws much more stringent than the national average.
He used a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle to do most if not all of the killing. It fires the 5.56 millimeter NATO standard round.
The Bushmaster is a rifle that is no more or less functional than most rifles. Mainstream media types want to call it an “assault weapon”; but the truth is that it is a pale imitation of most firearms worthy of the name. Certainly not in the class of the military M4 model, which our SEALs used in the bin Laden raid, or the M16, which was standard issue in Viet Nam. The reason it is called a “semi-automatic” firearm is that each time you pull the trigger, as long as there is ammunition in the magazine, a bullet is fired.
It is painted flat black and looks menacing, but the only real thing this firearm has in common with rifles used in military assaults is that it will fire a large number of bullets—the technical terms is that it has a high capacity magazine—without being reloaded. Other than that, it is a civilian imitation of a military rifle which, like any firearm, will kill but is hardly what you want to take to war.
It appears that what happened is that this guy forced his way into the school and shot up two first grade classrooms.
That’s appalling, gruesome, horrific, and evil.
But it is not going to be stopped by passing a law that would remove a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. And, based on Supreme Court rulings in the past five years, that’s not going to happen anyway.
There are three reasons that additional gun laws will not work, despite the entire political class’s chattering for “taking action”.
The first reason is that we already have 200,000,000 guns in this country. If we can’t deport 12-million illegal immigrants, we certainly could never confiscate 200,000,000 guns, certainly given that the right to bear them is constitutionally protected. Even if you could waive the Second Amendment, you could not practically carry out the action.
The second reason is contained in the immortal words of Suzanna Gratia Hupp at a Congressional hearing on the assault weapons ban back in the 90s. After telling the story of her leaving her personal weapon in her car and watching her father get shot to death in a Luby’s Cafeteria in Waco, Texas, she told the congressional committee: “The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting . . . it’s about our rights to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there.”
Over the weekend, I heard people who have probably never held a gun in their lives, much less fired one, ask “why does anyone need an assault weapon?” or “why does anyone need a 30 round magazine?” on the Sunday morning chattering shows.
First, I have an absolute right to protect myself, my family, and my property. I live in a fairly rural area. It might be awhile in the case of a home invasion before the “authorities” show up. An AR15 with a 30-round clip is certainly not out of line in those circumstances as a defensive weapon. It would certainly be an equalizer.
Second, if only the government has such weapons, who will defend us from the government? When the Second Amendment was written, our founding fathers had just won a bloody war with the British. They understood that a government could easily become one of tyranny. If that government knew that the people could fight back, they might be less motivated to become tyrants.
The third reason that additional gun laws would not prevent the sort of violence we saw last week is that we always want someone to blame when something this horrific and logically inexplicable happens.
Here’s an idea.
How about we go back to teaching our kids the 10 Commandments?
As a group of laws, they are simple, logical, and make sense. The truth is that if everybody were as good a parent as President Obama and his wife appear to be, the number of these incidents would be much fewer.
Somewhere along the line in the last 40 years, parents started doing less parenting. If we teach kids that killing each other is bad, maybe they’ll get the message. Or is parental responsibility so 20th century that it no longer makes any difference?
Reporters covering the President reported over the weekend that he had said that Friday was the worst day of his Presidency. If that is the case, than my respect for him has just increased markedly. Because, while I disagree with him on most everything political, I think he may well get that only better parenting will solve this sort of violence in the long run.
Or, to put it as one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, did, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Photo credit: Gerry Dincher (Creative Commons)