Class is in session.

It’s on the subject of school violence, and in the wake of the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.  First of all, let me address those who argue, I shouldn’t “politicize” a tragedy, or I should respect the families.  But the truth is, more respect for these families, I couldn’t have.  This is a tragedy beyond comprehension, and I can’t begin to fathom what the Newtown community is going through.  It is gun control advocates that are politicizing, and exploiting the situation, with U.S. legislators now saying they will introduce assault weapon bans in Congress.  Regardless, we also can’t ignore the growing epidemic of school shootings.  I’ve heard many answers to solve this problem from eliminating public access to semi-automatic weapons to better access to mental healthcare.  These are unrealistic.  In one case, it’s also unconstitutional and bad public policy.  The answer to this problem is to eliminate the federally mandated “gun free” zones, and allow local school boards to decide how best to protect their students.

This is an education issue, as much as it is a Second Amendment issue.  Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, in the federally enumerated powers, does it list education as a power delegated to the Federal Government.  And while the Feds have continually worked to create this power for themselves (through No Child Left Behind, and Michelle Obama’s federal school lunch program, to name a few) it is a power left to local governments, and local school boards.  The Federal Government also unconstitutionally created the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, thus allowing for only deranged psychopaths to bring weapons into our public schools.  While the SCOTUS originally declared the Act unconstitutional, Congress was able to circumvent the ruling, and the GFSZA of 1990 still lives.  Young, innocent, and defenseless students have been paying the price ever since.

Local school boards should be able to determine the best and most effective way to protect their children.  And yes, this would include having armed and trained personnel to defend kids, instead of making them sitting ducks.  Now, this doesn’t mean a Federal Law should be made requiring all schools to arm teachers.  It means that every local school board should decide.  Maybe one school will have a gun safe in the Principal’s office, allowing only him or her access.  Maybe a school will arm and train every teacher.  Maybe a school will put in additional security measures without arming anyone.  Maybe they will hire an armed security guard.  Maybe they will do nothing.  The point is that it’s their decision to make.

Some will, and have, argued that armed teachers would end up turning weapons on their own students.  However, if we are hiring murdering lunatics to help raise our kids, I think our problems are a little worse than this possibility.   Teachers go through very strict licensing requirements, if they can pass this requirement, they can be trusted to protect our children from violent attack.  And while it will be shown below that no federal gun control laws can be allowed, it is much better to have responsible and caring teachers with guns in our schools, than a crazed madman, who only wants to murder as many young kids as possible.

To say outlawing semi-automatic weapons will bring an end to these types of massacres is as naïve as naïve can be.  Setting aside the Constitutional arguments against gun control for now, it’s just flat out bad public policy.  We’ve seen how well criminals now respect “gun-free” zones.  How will this change if weapons are banned or made more difficult to get?  Criminals aren’t criminals because they obey laws.  Take for instance the shooter in Connecticut; the weapons he used were stolen.  There’s no law to prevent theft, especially to someone who has no future, and just intends to commit suicide after he murders innocent people.  Laws  will just take guns out of honest, responsible gun owners and into the hands of murderous sociopaths on a rampage, leaving everybody else unable to defend themselves and their families.

There are arguments that banning semi-automatic weapons is Constitutional, and that the founders never intended for individuals to own “assault rifles.”  Or that the Second Amendment only allows for militias to have weapons of this type, and not ordinary citizens.   More ignorant statements could not be made.  Just because the Second Amendment uses the words “militia” and “the right to bear arms,” in the same sentence, does not mean that militias are only allowed to have these weapons.  The Second Amendment does not say, “The right to bear arms, being limited to only state militias, shall not be infringed.”  Instead, it says, “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.”  All it takes is a little reading comprehension to understand this.

The founders created the Second Amendment so that individuals could protect themselves, as a last resort, against their own government.  Here’s George Washington’s take: “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” Or we could look at Thomas Jefferson: “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 and government.”  If that’s not enough, here’s James Madison: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed-unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”  The founders believed that citizens have the right to the same type of arms the government has.  No matter what type of weapon it is.  In 1776, it was muskets, today; it’s automatic and semi-automatic rifles.  The principle of gun ownership, described by the founders, still remains the same; the people have a right to the same weapons the government has access to.  Nowhere in their words, do Washington, Jefferson, or Madison, mention “militias.”  They say “people” or “Americans” because that is who the right to bear arms stands with.  We all should question why any government would want to disarm it’s citizens, or give them less powerful weapons than they have.

There are many examples of armed citizens, or school staff, protecting themselves and students with weapons.  By doing so, they deter criminals, and eliminate massacres.  Here’s a few, from a Press Release by the Libertarian Party:

  • A school shooting in 1997 was stopped by a Principal who had a rifle in his pickup
  • A neighbor of a middles school ended a 1998 shooting when he confronted a shooter with his shotgun
  • A law school shooting in Virginia was halted when armed students confronted the shooter
  • A mall shooting in Oregon was mitigated when the shooter noticed he wasn’t the only armed individual in the mall

There are more examples you can find, by clicking on the link above.  The fact remains.  Outlawing guns only makes criminals safer.  After all, what kind of perverse justice system is one that makes the young, innocent, and responsible completely defenseless against  the mentally depraved, socially inept crazies who want nothing more than to cause as much murder and destruction as possible?  Give our children, teachers, movie goers, and mall shoppers a fighting chance; nullify federal “gun free” zones.

The most important message of all this is that, given the threat of resistance, it will prevent many mass murderers from entering schools or other areas.  Some experts argue that these mass murderers share many common traits.  Included in these traits is the need to be in power.  They feel that by standing up with a gun, they can restore their power when they feel victimized.  By knowing that an armed person will be there to meet them at a school, or anywhere else, there’s very little power these murderers will have.  They won’t be able to control the situation, or how and when they die, and they won’t be able to cowardly take the lives of others.  Just imagine, in the case of the school shooting in Connecticut, if an armed individual was able to immediately eliminate the threat with real force.  The crisis surely had a chance of being averted, and those students and teachers would have had a fighting chance at survival.

Will it eliminate mass killings?

Of course not, but it at least gives them a chance.  A chance many parents today probably wish they had.

It’s time to eliminate the selfishness.  That is, the selfishness that people who wish to defend themselves are demonized, and unable to justly do so, while only the rights of criminals are protected.   Everyone has the right to defend themselves against attack or murder by whatever means necessary.   Our young and innocent children, and their teachers, are no different.

Class dismissed.

Matthew Renquist

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