“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Reapplying the same failed fix to a recurring problem is insane, yet in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown CT, that appears to be the plan. Pundits and politicians are calling for another ban on legitimate civilian arms ill-defined as “military-style assault weapons.” We already did that. It did not work. Congress declined to reinstate The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 because it was completely ineffective. The 1994 law died its natural death by sunset clause with little protest. Good riddance.
Alas, recent acts by deranged individuals have reignited the anti-gun propaganda machine. In Newtown the media demonstrated its insatiable bloodlust, descending in hordes clamoring to be “first to the story,” and yielded to the editing room mantra that “if it bleeds, it leads.” Early on-scene reporting was rife with misinformation, speculation, and fabrication, interspersed with few facts. The continuing coverage has been little improved, morphing into blatant anti-gun op-ed commentary. Principled journalism should demand that the press report facts and restrain itself from sensationalizing these horrific acts. Doing so would deny the perpetrators their moment of fame and discouraging copycats.
Predictably, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has provided the usual cast of antigun talking heads with fresh opportunities to opine on the evils of high-powered, military-style “assault” weapons and high capacity “clips,” perpetuating the myth that common civilian use arms like the AR15 are the equivalent of their military counterparts. They are not. Cosmetics do not define function. Current military rifles are capable of selectable fire; single-round semi-auto fire and three-round automatic burst fire in the M16, or those same functions plus fully automatic fire in the M4.
Civilian rifles do not have the capability of anything other than semi-auto single round fire. Cosmetic features like collapsible stocks, pistol grips, flash suppressors, and accessory rails don’t turn a civilian AR into an “assault” rifle any more than putting lipstick on a sow turns it into a princess. Bloviating buffoons like Piers Morgan and his ilk need to get their facts straight, as does Congress. Even more abhorrent than the media’s anti-gun campaign has been the constant parade of anti-gun public officials and politicians, who it seems can never let a good crisis go to waste, calling out for new gun control measures and claiming that we must do “something” to protect our children. Invariably these speeches are delivered against a backdrop of victim’s families, funeral processions, arms displays, or some combination thereof. This is opportunist political grandstanding and pandering in its most vile form.
I submit that if Congress had any real interest in protecting our schoolchildren and had done its job more than a decade ago, the slaughter that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary would have been impossible. It would have been made so not by some ridiculous declaration making schools “Gun Free Zones,” or by some further encroachment on the constitutional rights of the people. It would have been made so by Congress taking meaningful action to secure our schools against the clear, present, and demonstrated danger posed by terrorism. Civilians were introduced to that reality with the 2004 Islamic terrorist attack at Beslan [Russia] that killed over 380 people, 186 of them innocent children. It is likely that members of Congress knew of that kind of threat well, before Beslan, and it is highly likely that our intelligence community and select members of Congress knew well before that. Captured battlefield intelligence has pointed to operational planning by al-Qaeda targeting specific US schools, including bus routes and building blueprints. The threat is real and ongoing. Congress has known about it for more than a decade. It is unconscionable that nothing has been done to fortify our schools. I’m no security expert, but with today’s technology it’s easy for me to envision remotely monitored, hardened points of entry with automated locking mechanisms that could be triggered instantaneously to deny entry. Had a simple system like that been in place at Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza would never have gained entry to the building.
I agree that we must do something to protect our children, but let’s do helpful things. We need to take our collective heads out of the sand and recognize that there is evil in the world. We need to recognize terrorists as terrorists, criminals as criminals, and the insane as insane and we need to accept that none of these gives a tinker’s damn about any law we might create. Instead of passing useless laws, we need to address the problems in our society. Eighty-percent of gun violence originates with gang violence — fix that. Harden our schools. Train and equip the people closest to the threat to deal with it quickly and effectively. Pressure the press to recognize their role and minimize their coverage to de-sensationalize these acts. We need to deal with substance abuse, terrorism and mental health issues as the real challenges our society faces. We need to recognize and deal with “How things are” not simply legislate “How we think things should be.”
Unless we have abandoned our founding principles we must recognize that an inalienable right to life must, of itself, convey an inalienable right to self defense, a right extended by the Second Amendment to the defense of our families, our property, our community, out state, and our Republic. That right shall not be infringed. Wasting time or treasure on the preposterous notion that more restrictive gun laws will somehow make us safer is senseless. I implore you to exercise the full powers of your office and oppose any restrictive gun legislation that makes its way to your chamber, and to work diligently to propose real solutions to the problems facing our great nation.
Sydney G. Mills