In The Aftermath of the Florida School Shooting
The opponents of the Second Amendment are out in full force, using the blood of innocents as cover for their anti-gun agenda.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know I’m talking about the tragic school shooting that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day.
Gun owners I know are gutted by what happened just as deeply as any anti-gun person.
But as a gun enthusiast, it can be difficult to stand up to them without seeming to be unfeeling, uncaring, and just plain evil.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: They know this. That’s why they use the death of children as their opportunity to push their anti-gun agenda.
I know that sounds very cold and calculating. And, truthfully, that’s exactly what it is.
Let me be crystal clear. Now is precisely the time that we need to stand together and make a hard stand for logic and intelligence, rather than irrational and emotional tripe.
In Light of School Shooting: We Need Change
We DO need change. But not by following the path the anti-gun folks are pointing to.
Trying to logically debate a hysterical anti-gun fanatic is next to impossible. But knowledge is power, so please don’t give up. There are many people who frankly don’t have an answer, so they turn to “guns being the problem.”
We all want an answer to senseless violence. Is it passing more gun laws to add to the ones that already aren’t enforced? I don’t think so.
Unfortunately, there are many who are having their feelings manipulated. Or they’re simply parroting wrong information about a tragedy that they heard from someone they hoped would have a viable solution.
They are being lied to by the politicians and the media. And they are buying the lies.
However, if you have a sensible, factual rebuttal, you might be able to enlighten these people. And find common ground for a real solution.
That means you need to truly listen carefully to their concerns – even if you don’t get the same courtesy.
The key is making sure these people understand that you too are saddened, appalled, disgusted, angered, and determined to do something about it!
You just want to do something that stands a chance of actually working…and that’s not adding more gun laws to the books.
Regardless of how much your heart breaks for the survivors of this madness, it’s ridiculous to give in to the idea that 15 and 16-year-olds are now going to dictate national policy.
It is up to us, as adults, to act like adults. And solve this problem.
So let’s look at some rebuttals to the arguments of the other side first. All of what follows are arguments I have heard – in person – when I discuss these matters with my “progressive” friends.
Argument: There are too many guns in our society.
Rebuttal: Define “too many.” What, exactly, constitutes “too many” guns?
The mere abundance of firearms can’t cause a tragedy like this school shooting. In fact, “too many guns” weren’t used in the FL school shooting. There was only one.
Many factors other than guns weigh into the equation. Interestingly, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, only 2% of the counties in the U.S. had 51% of the murders in 2014. And 54% of American counties had ZERO murders. That’s because in rural areas there is much less gun crime – even though there are more guns per capita than in urban areas.
Now you’re getting down to the real questions about what to do about America’s perceived problems with violence. We, as a nation, have serious and profound socio-economic problems that contribute to crime in general – including crimes involving firearms and the insanity of mass shootings.
Getting back to our debate, ask your opponent to please correlate how the mere abundance of firearms causes a tragedy like this school shooting. They won’t be able to give you a logical answer because one simply doesn’t exist.
An excellent source for rebuttal on this topic is the book, More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott, Jr. If you haven’t read it, add it to your reading list! This respected researcher and scientist began his research to prove the direct correlation between crime and the presence of guns. Being an honest researcher, he was forced, BY THE FACTS, to conclude the opposite.
Argument: No one needs an AR-15. It is only good for killing mass numbers of people.
Rebuttal: We are not a “need-based” society.
They may be confusing us with the former Soviet Union or North Korea or something. Americans live in a society based on individual rights and freedoms.
There is no reason anyone NEEDS a home with more than 100 square feet per person. There is no reason anyone needs more than one child. And, there is no reason anyone needs a car that goes more than 55 mph. It could go on and on, but you get the point. So “need” has nothing to do with it.
According to the NRA (National Rifle Association), there are 8 million so-called “assault rifles” in private hands in America. (By the way, AR stands for “Armalite rifle,” the original manufacturer. It doesn’t stand for “assault rifle” as many mistakenly believe.)
In 2012 FBI data shows there were only 322 people murdered using a rifle of any kind. That means significantly less than even 1% of murders are being committed by rifle, much less by AR-15s.
That means that over 99% of all of this evil, mass murdering death machines were used for…something else besides murder.
Can you name anything that has ever been lawfully and peaceably used at a rate of over 99.99%, by a large percentage of Americans – and been banned? Me neither.
The U.S. Constitution has the Bill of Rights, not the “Bill of Needs.”
Argument: We need to ban AR-15s.
Rebuttal: A good question to ask is…HOW?
It may feel good to say it. It may feel REALLY good to imagine it. But how, exactly, would this actually work?Could it work better than banning, say, cocaine?
Cocaine is TOTALLY banned. It’s illegal for ANYONE to manufacture it, sell it, or possess it. Yet it is plentiful in our society.
We couldn’t ban AR15s and the like altogether – unless you also want to disarm cops and the military. So they would still be around. And any criminal or nut case who wants one could and would get one. There’s no magic wand. The genie is out of the bottle.
And all of this assumes, I suppose, that the Second Amendment is first repealed. Let me be clear – the Second Amendment wasn’t created for hunting rifles or sports shooting. It specifically protects the right of the people to keep and bear sufficient arms to deter a tyrannical government. You know. ARs and the like.
In addition, (and this is a good place to bring this up), what difference does it make what weapon is used? Sure, an AR is more effective at killing en masse than a bolt action rifle. But it’s far less effective than a couple of box cutters and an airplane or two. And we sadly know what impact that scenario can have.
Any time our opponents talk about “gun violence,” you know they are driving an agenda more than a concern. Because violence is violence.
Would they feel better if a school shooter turned to a bomb instead? Or plowed a truck into an assemblage of kids outside the school?
Insanity pays no attention to the norms and desires of civilized society. That’s kind of the very definition of insanity. And, unfortunately, we can’t ban it. Or we wouldn’t even be having this “gun” debate today.
Argument: The NRA has lined the pockets of politicians with “blood money” by infusing massive amounts of funding for their “gun-crazy” agenda.
Rebuttal: Actually the NRA is one of the lesser lobbyist donors to politicians.
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote, “The NRA has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post…The NRA doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.”
The NRA is not the boogeyman. I know they are a convenient scapegoat for anti-gun supporters. But the truth is they promote gun safety and responsible ownership. They are a grass-roots organization made up of millions of 2nd Amendment supporters all over the nation. They are an organization defending the civil liberties of all Americans. Do people really think the NRA rejoices at gun-related massacres? Spoiler alert: the answer is NO.
The NRA actually runs a successful (but far too underused) gun accident prevention program to teach kids responsible gun handling. It’s called the Eddie Eagle program.
Argument: There have been 18 school shootings thus far in 2018 and we’re only 6 weeks in.
Rebuttal: Actually that’s an inflated number that is very misleading.
The website responsible for the wildfire sharing on social media, Everytown.com, defines a school shooting as “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.”
Their figures include:
- Someone firing several shots in a Michigan high school parking lot at 8 pm – no injuries.
- A man was shot at 1 am at a Wake Forest University sorority event – not exactly a “school shooting.”
- A suicidal man in Michigan killed himself at an elementary school that had been closed for 7 months. No students. No teachers…
Still, Everytown.com labeled it a school shooting. And the anti-gun agenda was all too eager to share the statistics without any cross-checking.
Even though anti-gun groups are using the survivors of the horrific Florida school shooting to try to politicize it, it’s important that it doesn’t appear that those of us who support gun rights are to pushing an agenda – that’s for us to expose on the other side of the debate. It is important to make clear that we are in this discussion to STOP these terrible shootings. Period. Not to attack or defend inanimate objects. But to find real and workable solutions.
The truth is that those solutions lie outside of the narrow politics of the wedge issue of gun control and that the longer we continue to argue and divide the nation with it, the longer our children’s blood will run in the streets.
Now that we’ve hamstrung some of their primary arguments, let’s look at some real solutions.
Solution #1: Improve Mental Health Screening and Reporting
It is tricky, but it can be a workable step toward a solution.
We must investigate methods for determining those among us who are a threat to society, while still being cautious to not overstep the bounds that restrict government interference in a free society.
We can argue all day long about whether “this or that” gun control measure would have had a chance of preventing the FL school shooting. But it is a simple fact that if the FBI had acted on the credible information they were given, one month in advance, this mass murder (and who knows how many others) could have been avoided.
When I hear the gun control crowd blaming the NRA, I can only shake my head at the disingenuous use of these bloody deaths to villainize their political opponents.
If any three letter organization harbors any blame at all, it’s not the NRA. It is the FBI.
It would be easy to be unaware of this (since the media downplays anything that doesn’t advance a radical anti-gun agenda), but the FBI was warned a month in advance of the shooting. By a person with intimate personal knowledge of the facts. That the young man had lots of guns and was saying he was going to use them to shoot up his school.
The kid was even posting specific threats on Facebook. And showing animal killings. WTH?!
And nothing was done to stop him. Nothing. The FBI apologized. They said it “slipped through the cracks.” They said their “protocol wasn’t followed.”
Since their announcement of this shocking revelation, we have heard….crickets.
In this particular case, there needs to be a serious investigation of how this happened – or, actually, why things didn’t happen. Why they took no action. Especially if this recent tragedy is to be the catalyst for “change in America.”
What is the point of the often touted “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” mantra if nothing will be done when you do?
Our first line of defense is to have people close to the problem recognize it, report it, and have it cut off before it destroys lives. When it comes to this sort of thing, Hillary Clinton was right – “It Takes A Village.” We ALL have to be responsible.
But even with a vastly improved system of identifying citizens with mental health problems, and a plan for isolating them from society, the fact is that someone with a clean background can snap and become homicidal. So once we implement this first line of defense, and it fails, what then?
Solution #2: Hardening the Target
Many on the other side of this debate hate to hear this, but it is a fact: signs reading “This Is A Gun Free Zone” don’t work.
Well, actually, they do.
They identify soft targets where an attack will be met with little or no defense.
We don’t protect our money at the bank with a simple sign. We protect it with armed guards and a wealth of security measures.
So let’s take the moral high ground here. Without equivocation, our children are more precious than our money. They deserve, at the very least, EQUAL protection, yes?
Then why not armed guards, armed teachers, or other responsible adults who desire to invest the time and get proper training? One suggestion is to tap our veterans to monitor the schools.
How about closed-circuit monitors to watch the school perimeter? Let’s add a Rapid Response Officer in each school, while we’re at it.
Metal detectors? Why not? You can’t even enter a major sporting event these days with a regular purse. You’re required to sport a clear plastic bag of 12” x 12” x 6”.
Now, I’ve heard the arguments. These acts will traumatize the children.
If implemented properly, it will actually help them feel safe and secure.
When I was in grade school, we had drills every month to prepare for a nuclear Armageddon. We learned to hide under our desks, and shield our eyes from a nuclear blast.
I don’t remember being traumatized.
What it helped teach me was that it truly is a big bad world out there. And no one ever suggested signs on the outskirts of town declaring our city a “Nuclear Blast Free Zone.”
If we’re going to be serious about protecting our children, we need to get seriously to the business of protecting our children.
All the sound and fury over gun control does nothing for them. Schools have become targets…despite all our wishes to the contrary. We must harden the targets so they aren’t so vulnerable. Let’s stop this cycle of insane violence.
Remaining Calm and Rational
It can be difficult to listen to otherwise intelligent and rational people become incoherent on the subject of gun control and school shootings. For the most part, it’s not their fault. There has been a constant and relentless onslaught for decades now from people we used to hold in esteem – teachers, college professors, elected officials, and journalists, etc. So we can’t really blame the average person for being misinformed more than uninformed.
But we can teach them.
With calm, rational discourse. That is what we have in our favor. Even the rather hard-liners on the other side can be brought around with logic.
Here’s the common ground…if we define the goal as one of protecting the innocents, thoughts make a subtle shift. None of us wants to see any more death at the hands of crazy people.
If you can avoid it, don’t get into a “Gun Control” debate. It’s frivolous. And it’s counter-productive to ultimately solve the problem.
Use strong rebuttals when they try to discuss gun control.
And always bring the focus back where it needs to be – on the innocent lives taken in these horrible events.
The sophomoric idea that banning guns will stop these acts is a waste of energy. It won’t. Never lose sight of the passion any feeling and caring adult has for this issue. You have it too! But remain the voice of reason and rationality. And you will win the hearts and minds of your friends and neighbors. And maybe, just maybe, we can find and implement real solutions that will protect the beautiful lives of the most innocent among us. And, in doing so, also protect the Constitutional rights so many brave men and women have died to defend.
What is your take on the whole gun control issue? Would stricter gun laws prevent the Florida school shooting or any school shooting for that matter? Shoot your thoughts in the comments section below!
Up Next: Is President Donald Trump Reneging on Second Amendment Plan?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 26, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.