Guns and Schools – Part 1
By: George Noga – December 27, 2012
The staccato drumbeat of claptrap and counterfactual blathering by the brain-dead state sycophant media and their progressive
camp followers roused me from my holiday torpor. It impelled me to write this unplanned 2-part posting. First, an elegiac: my thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all the victims and their families and friends. Although predictable, it nevertheless saddens me that so many are so quick to politicize every gun related tragedy by advancing their anti gun political agenda.
“The two worst school mass murders in America didn’t involve guns.”
This first of two postings is a presentation of facts and perspective which thus far has been largely absent from the pubic debate. In part 2 (next week) I advance a principled approach for the future to address guns and schools including measures for prevention.
Correcting Media Errors and Bias
It is falsely asserted Sandy Hook was the worst school killing in America, or at least second to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Agitprops for gun control conveniently forget about the deadliest school mass murder in 1927 Bath, Michigan in which 44 were killed. They forget because guns were nowhere present; the perpetrator used dynamite. Moreover, 500 pounds was found unexploded; had it detonated, the death toll would have been far, far worse.
Nor does anyone mention what arguably is the second worst school related mass murder in America, i.e. the Janet Reno approved attack by agents of the federal government in Waco, Texas in 1993. In that attack (spearheaded by tanks for crying out loud) 28 school children and 55 adults were killed. Again, guns did not play a role as the casualties resulted from fire.
“The guns used in Newtown were not assault rifles.”
The litany of media misinformation continues. For starters, there is no such thing as an“assault rifle“; that term was created from whole cloth in the 1990s by gun control advocates to frighten the low information crowd. Connecticut has an assault rifle ban and the guns used in Newtown were legal and would have been so even if the federal ban were still in place.
Firearms are used 2,500,000 times a year in the USA to prevent or to stop crimes; this fact is never reported because the number of lives saved often is indeterminable. Many mass murders have been prevented by citizens with legal guns; these include Shoney’s in Anniston, Alabama 1991, Pearl, Mississippi High School 1997, Edinboro, Pennsylvania school 1998, New Life Church in Colorado 2007 and just a few weeks ago at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon.
The most disgraceful media coverage was the 2002 shootings at Appalachian State in which 3 students retrieved legal guns from their cars to stop the killer. Over 400 media outlets covered the story, all knowing the role guns played in stopping the tragedy. Yet 99% failed to mention that guns stopped the killing; instead, they used terms such astackled and subdued.
The Real Causal Factors
Undeniably there is a copycat effect that is caused or exacerbated by the media; the very same folks who want you to believe the cause is guns are themselves an integral part of the chain of causation. This is well documented and explained in the 2004 book “How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines“. Media coverage is much more pervasive today than in the past because of the ubiquitous, 24/7 in-your-face news cycle. And don’t expect any mea culpas from the media; they are too busy flogging the story.
Another real casual factor is the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill – including those who are violent. Recall this was a liberal shibboleth from the 1960s and 1970s. In earlier times the violently mentally ill would have been in a state institution. The New York Times(ugh) did a study that found 47% of “rampage murderers” were mentally ill. Pursuant to the liberal diktat to release all the mentally ill, hospital beds for mental patients have plunged to the level of 1850 – over 160 years ago. Don’t waste your time waiting for regrets from liberals; they are too busy deflecting the blame from their failed policies; it’s not their fault; they meant well.
“If your home had a ‘gun free’ sign, would you be more or less safe?”
Yet another real cause is ersatz gun-free zones; it is no coincidence that most of the recent mass killings have taken place in schools, movie theaters and shopping malls, all make-believe gun free zones. A sign proclaiming a gun free zone is like a welcome mat for perpetrators. If you put a “Gun Free Home” sign outside your house, do you believe you would be more safe or less safe? Memo to progressives: This is not a trick question. People who engage in mass killings are not hardened criminals, they are weaklings and cowards who dissemble when an armed citizen materializes. At the Clackamas Mall, the killer, who just had begun his rampage, was confronted by a citizen carrying a legal handgun; His next shot was to kill himself.
Surprise! Government is a cause, the same government that gives families no choices about where to send their children to school and then dictates gun free zones making it impossible for anyone to defend them. John Lott in his books “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns” proves to any reasonable reader the efficacy of an armed population. States that adopted right-to-carry laws experienced a 78% drop in deaths from rampage attacks.
Finally, the intellectual climate is to blame including university professors, journalists and politicians who evangelize a new culture where the long established rules of civil conduct no longer apply. We have drastically lowered the barriers on acceptable political and personal conduct. The most vulnerable and marginalized among us lose all self restraint. If we truly want society to have no restraints then we must be prepared to reap the whirlwind.
“Workplace shootings are down 70%; prevention is possible.”
Next week in Part 2 I present a fact-based and principled plan to prevent future mass shootings at schools. Preview: workplace shootings are down by about 70% in the past 20 years and without any added gun regulations. This occurred because businesses implemented real world solutions instead of phony political solutions. Stay tuned.