Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gun-Free Does Not Mean Safety

"Gun-Free Zone."  Sounds like a safe place?  My kids go to school in one.  I went Christmas shopping in one the other day.  I went to go see a movie at one a few weeks ago.  Wait a minute...

Can I just tell everyone how much panic and breathlessness I've experienced in the last few days?  Tim wants me to stop thinking about it--dwelling on it, and I don't blame him.  He loves me and doesn't like to see me struggling, especially with something so seemingly out of my control.  

I NEED to do something, though.  I have no idea what that means, but I can tell you where I'm starting.  Maybe some of you will want to join me.

Here are my initial thoughts: 

1. Gun-free zones are part of the problem.  I was reading an interview with Dr. John Lott, a national leading expert on guns, who calls them a "magnet for (these) attacks."  Think about it.  Connecticut, Aurora, Columbine, the Oregon mall, Virginia Tech.  All of these are gun-free zones.  All of them left their inhabitants defenseless and invited the type of cowardly violence  that seeks to take as many lives as possible before taking their own life and leave a legacy of monstrosity (which the media all but ensures).  Lott mentions that in the Aurora movie theater shooting, there were 7 theaters in the area showing the Batman movie, but only 1 with a "Gun-Free Zone" sign posted.  The killer didn't choose the theater closest to his home or the theater that was the largest, he chose the theater with the sign.  

2. I have to wonder what tightening down on gun laws would do.  If guns were banned, who would turn them in?  Would the bad guys with unregistered guns do it?  Or would it be the good guys--the law-abiding citizens who own guns in order to protect themselves against the bad guys?  And, just because guns would be illegal, would it mean that bad guys wouldn't get the guns?  Drugs are illegal, right?

3. Europe.  Again, to cite the Lott interview, there have been a similar amount of multi-victim shootings in Europe as in the U.S., yet European gun control laws are much stricter than here.  He cites shootings in Norway, Finland, Austria, Germany, and the U.K.

4. The "Safe School Zone Act" doesn't work.  I'm going to quote directly from the Lott interview on this one.  

Newsmax: Would it be a good idea to have teachers who have concealed carry permits in the schools, to better protect kids?
Lott: I’m all for that. I’ve been a teacher most of my life. I’ve been an academic. I have kids in college still, and kids below that. It’s not something that I take lightly. But it’s hard to see what the argument would be against it. 
People may not realize this, but we allowed permit-concealed handguns in schools prior to the ironically named Safe School Zone Act. And no one that I know has been able to point to a single bad thing that occurred, not one. 
We changed the law, and we started having these public-school shootings. So I don’t think they got the intended result that they were hoping for with that type of ban. Right now, [some jurisdictions] allow you to carry concealed-permit guns in the schools. There are not a lot of them. But there are no problems that have occurred with any of those states, either.
So, here I am.  I have a kindergartner and a 1st grader at a public elementary school.  They both have incredible teachers who I do not doubt for one second would throw themselves in front of a bullet for my children.  But, I feel like there is something amiss here.  I can't help but see that if that brave school principal at Sandy Hook Elementary would have had access to a firearm, she could have prevented many lives from being taken.  

The idea of guns is a new one to me.  I've never owned a gun, but I want to now.  Not because I am crazy or want to kill people, but because I want to be able to defend myself and my family against people who are crazy and want to kill us.  I will say this, though:  I want there to be a gun in my children's school.  I want it to be in a safe place near the front office and I want a number of qualified people to know how to gain access to it.  If some psycho decides that they want to kill my kids and their friends, I want their teachers and other people entrusted with their care to have the ability to defend themselves and my children with more than their supply closets, their own bodies, or a 911 call that can take as much as 10 or 15 minutes to respond to.  A lot can happen in 10 minutes.