What happened in Newtown, CT is, and always will remain, a tragedy. The horrific murders of school children blasted across millions of television screens across the nation and the world will not be forgotten. Nor should they.
Now, people everywhere are asking how this happened, and what can be done to prevent it happening again. The kneejerk, emotional reaction that I am hearing everywhere is that this could have been prevented with stricter gun control laws, and that it was easy access to guns that was the cause of this sad episode in American history.
Nothing, not one thing that anyone can do now will bring those children and school faculty back to their families and friends. Rash action brought on by a desire to do something, anything, to attempt to prevent this in the future will be no help to anyone in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Unfortunately, it seems quite apparent that various members of the mass media and government officials of all levels see in this tragedy an opportunity to further their agenda to restrict law abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights by pushing for a new Assault Weapons Ban and limits on the ammunition capacity of firearms, among others.
Gun control would not have prevented this tragedy. In fact, it safe to say that gun control failed Sandy Hook Elementary. Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, including an Assault Weapons Ban. The murderer, denied the purchase of a firearm, was forced to steal his mother’s legally purchased and AWB compliant firearms which he then used to murder her and every other victim that day. Guns are prohibited on school property and yet he just walked right in to commit his crimes because such restrictions only serve to bar the law abiding. Why would someone intent on murdering children follow any law regarding firearms?
Gun control advocates will still insist that stricter law on law abiding citizens would have made it harder for this disgusting monster to carry out his attacks. I will concede to the point of saying, “Maybe,” but I’d ask you to look at the simple fact that nations will much stricter gun laws than the United States still suffer from gun crimes. Just look at Mexico!
Great Britain has a near total ban on the private ownership of firearms and yet, on an island no less, has seen gun crime rates sky rocket. In fact, Great Britain, with much stricter gun control laws has a violent crime rate higher than that of the United States where we have loosened our restrictions on arms and seen violent crime drop every year since 1992.
For a decade the United States had a federal AWB and restrictions on gun magazine capacity. There was no measurable effect on violent crime and it did nothing to prevent the Columbine Massacre. Violent crime in the United States was falling before it became law and has continued to fall since its sun setting in 2004. That’s 8 years with a massive proliferation of what were defined as assault weapons (the AR-15 type rifle is the most popular rifle in America) and magazines holding more than ten rounds and yet violent crime is still falling.
Even a total ban on firearms, including confiscation of existing guns in private hands, would not prevent murderous madmen from carrying out vicious attacks. On the same day as the attack in Newtown a madman in China injured 22 school children in a knife attack, and it’s not the first time. The worse mass murder of children in the United States was the Bath School Disaster in 1927. In a time when machine guns could be purchased at the hardware store with no background checks or questions asked 38 children were murdered by a madman not with a gun, but with bombs. And have we forgotten September 11, 2001? The terrorists on that day were armed with box cutters, yet used them and our own complacency about airplane hijackings to murder thousands.
Can anyone honestly say it would have been better if the murderer in Newtown had used gasoline bombs? Would there be calls for restrictions on the amount of gasoline a person could purchase at one time? Background checks every time you pull up to the pump? Of course not. The idea is ludicrous, and so is the idea of placing further restrictions on gun owners that will only affect the law abiding.
I agree that something must be done to protect our school children. I believe it’s time we took a hard look at the way we deal with violence in our schools. The best place I can see to start is by following the advice of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and admitting that the enemy is denial. What we are doing and have done is not working. It’s time to try something new, and Lt. Col. Grossman offers it in his Five Ds, as presented in the article “Active shooters in schools: The enemy is denial” on PoliceOne.com:1. Denial — Denial is the enemy and it has no survival value, said Grossman.
2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero
3. Detect — We’re talking about plain old fashioned police work here. The ultimate achievement for law enforcement is the crime that didn’t happen, so giving teachers and administrators regular access to cops is paramount.
4. Delay — Various simple mechanisms can be used by teachers and cops to put time and distance between the killers and the kids.
a. Ensure that the school/classroom have just a single point of entry. Simply locking the back door helps create a hard target.
b. Conduct your active shooter drills within (and in partnership with) the schools in your city so teachers know how to respond, and know what it looks like when you do your response.
5. Destroy — Police officers and agencies should consider the following:
a. Carry off duty. No one would tell a firefighter who has a fire extinguisher in his trunk that he’s crazy or paranoid.
b. Equip every cop in America with a patrol rifle. One chief of police, upon getting rifles for all his officers once said, “If an active killer strikes in my town, the response time will be measured in feet per second.”
c. Put smoke grenades in the trunk of every cop car in America. Any infantryman who needs to attack across open terrain or perform a rescue under fire deploys a smoke grenade. A fire extinguisher will do a decent job in some cases, but a smoke grenade is designed to perform the function.
d. Have a “go-to-war bag” filled with lots of loaded magazines and supplies for tactical combat casualty care.
e. Use helicopters. Somewhere in your county you probably have one or more of the following: medevac, media, private, national guard, coast guard rotors.
f. Employ the crew-served, continuous-feed, weapon you already have available to you (a firehouse) by integrating the fire service into your active shooter training. It is virtually impossible for a killer to put well-placed shots on target while also being blasted with water at 300 pounds per square inch.
g. Armed citizens can help. Think United 93. Whatever your personal take on gun control, it is all but certain that a killer set on killing is more likely to attack a target where the citizens are unarmed, rather than one where they are likely to encounter an armed citizen response.
In addition we should look at what other countries have done to protect their schools. In our conceit as a first world nation I feel we sometimes fail to realize that sometimes the people outside our borders have good ideas. In both Israel and the Philippines school children are protected by people who are both armed and trained to use those arms.
Banning guns, or certain types of guns, will not prevent future tragedies. The only sure way of stopping a madman from doing harm is to physically incapacitate him before or at the start of his malicious actions. The quickest, easiest, and safest (to you and to those you’d protect) method for doing so is to use a gun. Making it harder for good people to do just that, setting up barriers to where and when they can do it, and reinstating restrictions that had no effect in the past will only make it more likely that madmen will not be prevented from wrecking havoc.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope it makes my position on the matter clear and I hope you will contact me if you have any questions regarding what I have had to say.
I'm gong to start at the top and work at my way down. No one will be safe. Feel free to copy any or all of it.