Not again! I should probably feel a little guilty that this reaction isn’t just about regretting another tragedy borne of evil, but includes a dose of political dread for the inevitable political exploitation of another headline-grabbing.
I don’t write about politics very often. By the time this newsletter reaches you the headlines are usually forgotten, and any predictions or observations I could make are likely obsolete in light of new facts. But this month I want to share some thoughts and principles that might still be pertinent by the time you read this.
The left must love how we defenders of the second amendment play right into their hands. Like a savvy car salesman who asks the showroom visitor what color they prefer, they have us “thinking past the sale.” The moment the customer starts picking the color the question of whether to buy has been made. The salesman succeeds.
The left brilliantly plays us by making the response to a shooting all about “What shall we do?” Their first response, and you saw this from all your liberal Facebook friends is “Do Something!®” They rarely offer any real proposal other than the vague notion of some gun control they hope the politicians will enact. But they snare us almost every time because our response is too often: “We have a better solution than your gun bans.”
We jump in with the brilliant notion to create a massive federal program that puts the TSA in our local public schools. This is conservative? Or consider the idea that we’ll have military veterans volunteering to stroll the halls of every public school day after day, year after year, with (hopefully due to the deterrent effect) nothing happening. Or that if there is a shooting, we can be sure that the TSA guard or volunteer will run toward the gunfire any more eagerly than the badge-wearers of Broward Country?
No, the first line of defense for our liberties should first be to challenge the notion that “Something” must be done. We must admit to ourselves, and then force the left to acknowledge that even the best policies and plans with unlimited funding can never stop tragedy, or eliminate evil. I consider that the mark of adulthood, and emotional maturity is accepting that tragedy and evil will always be among us. We certainly take reasonable measures to minimize these, but the fact that some tragedies still occur is NOT necessarily evidence that it’s reasonable to implement stricter measures.
How about this for a response: “I know there will always be tragic events committed by evil people, but this must be so hard for those affected by these events.” Start with the adult reality, then acknowledge the emotional reality as that, emotions.
It probably seems crass to point it out, but as many teenagers were killed in auto accidents on the day of the shooting (and every day since) than were shot in Florida. Yet which is more preventable with reasonable, affordable measures that don’t create unintended adverse consequences?
Here’s another approach: Each state has its own policies for school security, law enforcement, and emergency response – not to mention gun control. When confronted by an anti-gun advocate who demands to know what you plan to do now that an NRA member like you has blood on your hands, reply: “I suppose we should look at what states are having success to reduce (note I didn’t say “eliminate”) these sorts of tragedies that are committed by such evil people. Which states have had the most success?” That’s not surrendering to the childish emotional urge to “Do Something!®” but forces a comparison of those states that enact rifle bans and gun free zones with those who respect individual liberty. You can be assured that if there were any evidence that California, New Jersey, or New York were statistically immune to school shootings or that gun ban signs protected school children we’d have heard all about it long ago.
The reality is that unless we’re in certain zones of certain American cities, we live in a remarkably safe, low-crime nation. Teens are far more likely to be killed getting to and from school than while attending. It may be challenging to respond to tragedy with total inaction, but that’s usually the right answer. Tragedies happen all the time, but that doesn’t mean that policy changes should be implemented all the time. Grow up. It’s a tough world.
You knew I’d have a plan of my own. But it involves not to “Do Something” or even to “Do Nothing.” My plan is to “Undo Something.” And as a conservative this is not a grand federal plan, but simply advice directed at the state and local voters and their representatives.
The thing to undo is any restriction on the right to carry in schools. Some states permit teachers to carry, and from these experiments in liberty we see that teachers aren’t shooting up classrooms. I don’t need to research that point because I can count on CNN to shine a spotlight on any incidents that can be exploited for an anti-gun agenda.
Notice how I didn’t say “arm the teachers.” That’s the active interventional “do something” language of the antis. It falsely implies some sort of major effort by government to force teachers into a security role, and to buy them guns. All I suggest is we choose liberty. Let people decide for themselves. Let the teachers who want to carry do just that. “Let teachers have the freedom to choose whether and how to defend themselves and their students.”
Here’s the big benefit: Relying on the natural instinct of self-defense is far more reliable than the responses of a paid security force. The reason we recognize heroism and altruism is because it’s special. It’s rare for someone to deliberately sacrifice their own safety, which is why we give it special recognition in our society. I think it cheapens true heroism to label everyone in a given occupation a hero simply for picking that job. We can admire them, but in our “everyone gets a trophy” society I think we should hold back the important accolades for those who truly demonstrate heroism.
The weeks between my writing this and you’re reading it will shed light on possible problems with government efforts to detect a dangerous threat and to respond to it properly. The “Cowards of Broward” meme will either be proven true or not. My point is neither to condemn nor to overlook those whose job it is to run into harm’s way, or to motivate security personnel with carrots of rewards, or sticks of punishment. My point is that the natural instinct of self-defense is an extremely reliable motivator.
One of my old liberal friends posted a political cartoon on Facebook of a parent/teacher conference. The parents are sitting wide
eyed with mouths agape, starting at the teacher who has an AR-15 on her lap, saying “Your daughter seems distracted in class.”
The left wants so badly to ban our most useful guns that they present this absurd mis-characterization of sensible policy for teachers having the right to choose self-defense. I wish I could draw. My cartoon would be a teacher on the classroom floor with a pile of desks hiding frightened student eyes. The crouching teacher has a pistol leveled at the classroom door with the shadow of a rifle-toting attacker cast on the frosted glass. Thought bubble from the teacher: “I’m glad the Democrats didn’t win the vote to keep me disarmed.”
Bear in mind that the teachers (and coaches, and administrators, and parent classroom helpers) are already THERE on the scene. Response times measured not in minutes, but in moments. Oh, and it costs nothing to allow them to choose to carry. Just end the disarmament and let liberty take care of the rest.
When in doubt, see if freedom might be the best plan. Many states have already proven it is.
PS: Trump has suggested paying teachers bonuses if they will arm themselves. I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s a good “grabber” that makes his position memorable, like making Mexico pay for the Wall.
PPS: If you need more guards patrolling the hallways, I suggest one group who can be counted upon to run toward the threat as quickly as possible: Parents.
You might be a Democrat if… you think that an AR-15 is so fierce that it’s a suicide mission for four armed and trained law enforcement officers to stealthy approach one in hopes of ending a massacre, but that such guns can’t possibly be used effectively to deter or address government tyranny.
Wait, I apologize. Some Democrats are more sensible than that:
“…the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.” Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN, 1960 – while running for President)
You might be a Democrat if… you think that everyone should give up their guns and let professional police handle security, but note that police have no duty to protect us, and can’t be sued if they wait outside until the shooting is over.
You might be a Democrat (or CNN) if… you think that it’s wrong to attack traumatized teens or call them liars for speaking out on public policy matters, but you think that any teen who accuses CNN of trying to script his responses is a liar who deserves to be attacked.
You might be a Democrat if… you think that its understandable that deputies armed only with pistols will not attempt to stop a madman with an AR-15 when they had no way of knowing what type of gun the madman actually had.
You might be a Democrat if… you know your ideas and proposals are unpopular and easily attacked, so you pick spokespeople like traumatized teens who can’t be attacked.
I truly have never been more proud to be an NRA member. I might have occasional quarrels with how leadership insists on speaking out (throwing bump stocks under the bus) when they could remain silent, and on some of the commercialism of carry insurance sales and gold coin magazine cover ads. But when they are under attack, you and I are under attack, and I proudly stand with the NRA.
The reality is that those people out there don’t hate the NRA, they hate YOU and ME.
I note that some businesses who formerly gave discounts to NRA members have publicly ended these relationships. Essentially all car rental agencies (the big three, and the little ones they own) have taken a stand against the NRA. I say: “Who cares?” I think these paltry discounts probably benefited the agencies more than the NRA, and the NRA would do well to focus in its mission and not all these entanglements. Maybe I’ll call my longtime favorite Hertz and tell them I quit, then use National next time without telling them why. I like Uber, but we know they and Lyft are run by extreme leftists anyway.
Unlike the case of those who sued to force a baker to bake a cake he didn’t want to, I’m not hearing anyone among us suggesting these weak-willed companies should be forced to give us the discounts like they still give to member of the ACLU. (Q: How does an ACLU lawyer count to ten? A: “1-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10”!)
I’m appalled and embarrassed that the Dallas Mayor raced to a microphone to condemn the NRA and “disinvite” us from Dallas for the upcoming convention. But please be aware that this loon was never elected to the position, and is simply a pro-tem placeholder elevated from a City Council seat to fill an empty chair. He is a political pest that may be ignored.
I promise Dallas will be open and welcoming in a couple of months, and I look forward to welcoming y’all to my home turf!