IT'S A BAD DAY TO DEFEND THE 2ND AMENDMENT But those of us who understand why we have it simply must, even though it feels grotesque to do so in light of the horrific crime at Robb Elementary School in Texas yesterday. An eighteen year old man with a drug using mother, who was bullied all the way through middle school over his lisp and speech impediment went into an elementary school and killed children and teachers. Nineteen elementary students who got up that morning, probably complaining about having to go to school so close to summer as they ate their cereal, will never go to school again. Their parents will never be able to grouse at them about moving too slow in the morning, or help them with their homework. They won't go to college, get married, or have their own children. This small town will never, ever be the same. The shooter, whose name I will never amplify ever, is dead and good riddance. As tragic as his life may have been my sympathy has been reduced to ashes because of his choices of how to respond to his life's issues. It is a horror show and utterly devastating.
The usual political suspects have already lined up, demanding we "stand up to the NRA" and calls to do something to stop this senseless violence are coming from many. I, too want something to end this senseless violence, but I recognize that what they are talking about won't work without actions that affirm the need for the 2nd Amendment in the first place. Let me start by explaining that position to those demanding actions that they genuinely believe will help stop children from dying. And I do believe that the motives of most are pure and born of anger and frustration and grief for the families of those children and teachers and fear for their own families and children. I feel the same way. I woke up this morning grateful that my daughter attends a school that is locked down tighter than Fort Knox, where there is very little chance of a lone gunman being able to enter, let alone wreak carnage and destruction. But even knowing that, the fear lingers. What about a copycat? It's not like we don't have a lot of experience in this arena in Colorado. The thought of my daughter going to school and never coming home makes me physically ill. Nineteen sets of parents in Uvalde, Texas are living that nightmare right now, so what can we do to stop it?
Let's start with what won't work. Gun control laws banning certain kinds of weapons seem like a good idea, until you consider that most mass shootings as of late have been committed with handguns, the Boulder King Sooper shooting included. You can ban assault rifles though they do a tiny fraction of the actual shooting in this country when it comes to violent crime. Then what? Ban handguns? Okay let's consider that for a moment. About 44% of Americans live in a household with at least one handgun. There are about 400 MILLION handguns in the US right now, with 398 million of those owned by private citizens. How many guns are currently owned illegally in the US? Who knows but a study on juvenile offenders showed that at least 86% of juvenile offenders owned a gun as some point. One would imagine that the number would be higher for adult felons. This is where gun control gets tricky.
Like it or not, we live in a country where guns have always been a part of our culture. The Founding Fathers viewed the 2nd Amendment as the final hedge against government tyranny and thought the right to bear arms so important as to be added to a very short list of things the government could NOT curtail. It's hard to look around the world at countries that have disarmed their populace like Venezuela, China and Cuba and not understand why they felt this way. It's easy to look at those places and believe that the United States of America could never be like those places because we're different, we're special! We would never allow our government to control us like that! But are we? We are so far removed from tyranny that we don't have a memory of what it's like to live under someone else's thumb, though the past two years of Covid lockdowns and restrictions should disabuse you of the notion that it can never happen here. To be clear, I do not believe we are headed toward armed revolution anytime soon, but if we didn't have the means to fight back, is there any doubt that some enterprising political party might try to inflict its will on us? And those of us on the Right should not be so smug, President Donald Trump praised Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping for "consolidating" power and making himself President for Life. And you on the Left, you're no better, as you've called for violence against those on the right for years. I often say the only thing stopping us from full civil war is that my side has all the guns. Strength through power is a powerful deterrent, whether is it a citizenry capable of rising up against the government, or the knowledge that you are outgunned giving pause to bad actors with bad ideas.
The only way to institute gun control that could prevent a horrible murderous rampage like the one yesterday is to outlaw and confiscate all guns. I know some of you are cheering the notion of a truly gun free society. It would be utopia! Let's talk about what would be required to make this happen. As a legal gun owner, I have several firearms in my possession. I would be expected to turn those weapons in voluntarily. I use a couple of those for personal protection as carry weapons. To be clear, I have never shot anyone, I've never even brandished my weapon. But in a society where the police have no legal obligation to protect me, what am I supposed to do? Should I get a rape whistle so the person threatening me with bodily harm can be treated to the sound as he kills me? As a 52 year old woman in relatively good shape I have no illusions that I can stop a larger man who wants to physically harm me. It's why I went through the process and training to protect myself. It's my choice and not one I'd put on anyone else, but there are too many cases where there simply wasn't time to call the police and for them to respond. Were it not for the actions of a brave Customs and Border Patrol agent with a gun, more people would be dead in Ovalde today. You might be thinking, but Mandy, the criminals won't have guns either in our gun free society! Really? How would that work, because they are currently breaking the law by having illegal firearms now, why in the world would they give them up when they know the law abiding will now become sitting ducks? And there's the rub. Until and unless you can insure that the bad guys have been disarmed, I kindly refuse to give up mine. Disarming America would require government agents coming into the homes of private citizens and tossing them like a prison warden in the hopes of unearthing weapons. No search warrant needed, it's for the public good. It's been done before, in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Only there they killed the people who tried to keep their weapons. Should we do that here too? I'd like to know, as if this is what it takes for public safety the penalties need to be severe, right? And should we start where a good many of the gun murders are happening, which is in predominantly black neighborhoods? A majority of gun murders in 2021 were of black people, a vast majority of those killed by other black people, even though they make up about 14% of the population. I'm sure government agents, geared up and armed, demanding entry to the homes of innocent black people who have done nothing wrong other than buying a weapon to protect themselves is unseemly to most. If this scenario appeals to you at all, I recommend you decamp to a country where such laws and actions already exist. This is exactly what the 2nd Amendment is there to protect against. And by the way, why do we only care about gun murders if there are children involved? How about the many black children who have been caught in the crossfire of this violence? I answer that below.
So what to do about nineteen dead children? First, we must harden our schools are targets. We must protect our children as we protect the politicians grandstanding about his today, with good people with guns. We can't allow the Denver Public School Board to continue to deny the protection of a School Resource Officer to not only protect kids, but to help them follow a good path in life. The shooter yesterday by all accounts has had a tragic life. A drug using mother, cops called to his house on multiple occasions, bullying throughout school and more. No mention of a father and a grandmother he cared so much about he killed her before his rampage. He is the picture of all that is wrong with society in one hollow shell. When you look at the mass shooters of the last twenty years, they have a lot in common. Alienated young men with no social skills or downright anti-social behavior, many of them had previous episodes or threats of violence that were known to family, friends, and therapists. They all seem to struggle mentally, although I am loathe to blame mental illness as it seems too easy. He is the product of a society that has devalued life so much that the on-demand destruction of a human life is codified into a major political party's platform. Where black murder is so accepted it's even sung about and celebrated in music or ignored otherwise. Where video games are so realistic that you can almost feel the blood splatter on your face as you blow away the enemy. We've lost God and our moral compass. Our ability to emotionally connect as human beings has been replaced by the fallacy of social media. Human contact has been replaced by increasingly violent and accessible porn. The last two years isolated and separated us even further, as we became divided and political about a virus we have no control over. Our society is decayed and rotten, and we want to blame the gun. Guns have been a part of our culture since before our founding. But we didn't have young men walking into schools to kill children, the ultimate act of cowardice. Instead of looking for some "easy" answer or the next law that gives us comfort that we have DONE something even though it won't actually do what you think it will, let's get to work on being human again, being compassionate to each other again. Let's take responsibility for our children, be good parents and support families in crisis. These unthinkable murders should be just that, unthinkable. And yet, here we are, arguing about the gun.