The 2012 mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut has eerie similarities to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School, where two angry youths massacred a teacher and twelve students.
Since all actions have visible and invisible consequences, an effective response to reduce the incidence and mitigate the effects of such massacres requires careful consideration. Invisible repercussions can often drastically make a situation worse. Economists now know a lot about moral hazard, for example.
The response to such massacres
Many people have emotional responses that ignore such consequences. Brian Giattina, a member of the school board in Birmingham, Alabama, is reported to have said the guns send the wrong message. “It tells them that we have to have a weapon to protect them. It is a complex problem that must involve mental health, education, law enforcement and the community.”
Yet for the past fifty years, with only one exception (the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords), every mass shooting involving more than four victims has taken place in a supposedly gun-free zone.
Your right to protect yourself
Unfortunately, Giattina himself is giving the wrong message. His second sentence is indisputable, but encouraging learned helplessness is morally corrupt.
Improvement is definitely needed in all of these areas, but that no it means that responsible adults must stop protecting themselves. If the school teachers had been armed, how much lower would the death toll have been?
Brian Rohrbough, whose 15-year-old son was killed in the Columbine shooting, has a thoughtful response rather than an emotional one. He acknowledged that “it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have someone armed, even a teacher, who has the courage to protect children in schools.”
As Larry Correia, Utah concealed weapons instructor, police and military training teacher, competition marksman, Utah State Legislature expert witness, owner of a Title 7 SOT gun shop, firearms expert from elite:
“The average number of people shot in a mass shooting when law enforcement detained the shooter: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting when civilians detained the shooter: 2.5. The reason is simple. Armed civilians are there when it started “.
So what was the government’s response? They set up an investigation that instead muddied the waters and overlooked the real causes of the problem: the inability of responsible adults to protect themselves and their children. The failure of the government in the most fundamental of the governmental tasks: to protect its citizens and students.
The government concealed its inaction
In this particular case, the government had received many warnings, but not only did it not act, it tried to hide its failure for many years.
Former Rocky Mountain News reporter Jeff Kass, author of the book, Columbine: a true crime story, found that the police ignored the complaints and explained what actually happened.
A year earlier, the mother of one of Harrris’s friends had filed a formal complaint: Harris, one of the shooters, had threatened her son on his website and bragged that he had been building bombs. Police created an affidavit for a search warrant at Harris’s home, but did not take it any further.
It took county officials five long years to acknowledge that they had met after the attacks to discuss the ignored 1998 affidavit to obtain a search warrant. However, the police had also found a small bomb near Harris’s home, but no one had bothered to present the affidavit to a judge. The search was finally carried out, but only after the wave of gunfire.
Defensive uses of weapons
In this shooting, as in many others, the slaughter of innocents by deranged individuals was exacerbated by the legal prohibition of weapons. Laws designed to prevent the law-abiding from having guns inexorably lead to responsible citizens being unarmed.
However, guns in law-abiding hands stop many murders and criminal mayhem. A study by Kleck and Gertz found between 830,000 and 2.45 million uses of defensive weapons per year in the United States. The National Firearms Private Property Survey study found approximately 1.5 million uses of defensive weapons per year.
Mass shootings increase dramatically
The Wall Street Journal reported that there were 18 random mass shootings in the 1980s, 54 in the 1990s, and 87 in the 2000s. In just one year, 2012, rather than an entire decade, the Washington Post lists 14 cases of mass shootings.
This increase in the number and severity of massacres suggests that the increasingly stringent gun laws already on the books are having an understandably negative effect. Would new restrictions on the possession of weapons by those responsible and respectful of the law make things better or worse?
It seems that those who want to tighten gun restrictions are simply ignoring the consequences of previous actions. What is the most effective way to discourage any criminal activity? Is it really to disempower the law-abiding?
Food for thought
“The bad guys with guns, the bad guys and the good guys with guns, good!”
Harrold School District Superintendent David Thweatt and many others
© Copyright Worldwide Cris Baker, LifeStrategies.net. The republication is welcome under a non-commercial Creative Commons license without derivatives, keeping all links intact. All rights reserved.