As pundits across America continued to trip over one another, rushing to write article after article about the horrific Texas elementary school shooting, I held back. So much to think about, so much to say. Yet, maybe not enough. Toss in the redundancy and “solutions” from pundits and politicians alike? Call it what you want, from political expediency to writing for clicks. I’ve never been interested in either.
So, I decided to wait. Until Wednesday night, that is, after I had a thought-provoking conversation over dinner with a good friend, who also happens to be a smart-as-hell guy, a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and a law-abiding gun owner who is extremely knowledgable about firearms of all kinds— many of which he owns and has a clear purpose for why he owns the guns he owns.
Anyway, my friend — let’s call him “Al” — shared with me his strong opinions on actions he believes should be taken and changes he thinks should be made after yet another unconscionable mass murder by an out-of-control madman. Not among those actions and changes, as you might assume, is further restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. “Evil finds a way,” said Al:
You can enact all the gun-grabbing laws and Second Amendment-threatening laws you want. Guess what? Evil does not follow laws. Remember the theater shooting some years back? The shooter drove 10 or 15 miles to get to a theater that had ‘gun-free zone’ signs posted, outside. Evil finds a way; laws are meaningless to these people.
Al, cool as a cucumber, looked me in the eye:
Michael, if I was as crazy as that son-of-a-bitch and that determined to commit an evil, unconsciounable crime, I could have killed all those kids with a hunting knife. Or, I could have thrown a bunch of fertilizer or gasoline into that classroom, tossed in a match, and did the deed, as well. And that’s just off the top of my head.
As awful as it sounds, Al was right.
Conservatives know that. Perhaps some liberals know it, as well — but even if they do, the gun grabbers seemingly cannot wait to capitalize on tragedy as they arrogantly and ignorantly call for stricter gun legislation.
So what do we do? What do Second Amendment advocates do; beyond repeating what we always repeat, much of which I’ve said in this op-ed regarding Second Amendment rights? Given the impossibility of having an intelligent, fact-based dialogue with the left about “solutions” to mass shootings, we must take the lead and offer our own solutions — beyond “just” the Second Amendment argument.
Certainly, improving the detection, monitoring, and adequate response(s) to people who appear to be troubled — particularly, young men, statistically — who clearly should not have the ability to purchase firearms. Clearly, people who make dark or menacing comments on social media should not only be flagged; they should be promptly contacted by authorities. Also clearly, there are those among us who should not be allowed to move freely in public without supervision. I know; easy to say, hard to implement. But we must do better.
My friend Al also talked at length — as I and others have, as well — about hardening access to our schools. All doors must be fortified and deadbolted. Armed guards must be posted at the main entrance, in supervision and control of entrance and egress. Operable security cameras must be placed around the building(s) and monitored at all times. The list goes on, as it should.
To me, this is no-brainer stuff and must be viewed, if nothing else, for now, as a last-resort stopping of evil in its tracks before evil does evil things, while we continue the same ol’, same ol’ arguments.
As Al asked me, rhetorically: “Is it more important to have armed guards at banks — when the money they protect isn’t even that of depositors — those funds are guaranteed by the federal government — than protecting our children when we cannot?
Finally, at one point, Al again looked me in the eye and said:
Michael, I don’t love guns; I love my family and I love our freedom. Don’t get me wrong. I like my collection, but I’ll be damned if I’ll make it easy for anyone to take my loved ones or my freedom away from me.
Incidentally, you ever notice that many of the liberals who rush to TV cameras to exploit the death of children while calling for a ban on “assault rifles” or “weapons of war” also support the murder of unborn children — right until birth? Me, too.
We must do better.
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