Sadly, this intuitive correlation was again exploited recently at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, where an individual with likely mental problems took the lives of nine (at the time of this writing) innocent American lives. Sadder still, is the fact that this correlation is both easy to identify and practicable to address. For many in this country, however, this association goes unrecognized – or, at least, unacknowledged – and consequently goes ignored in many cases, to the benefit of such individuals and their evil designs.
I purposefully delayed commenting on this tragedy to allow time for at least some of the facts to become available and to avoid the appearance of making political hay off the backs of the victims. I have a high degree of distaste for politicians, pundits, and special interest groups or individuals – regardless of their relative positions – who jump to ill-informed conclusions or purposefully decide to exploit the deaths of Americans in pursuit of their respective agendas before the bodies are even cold, so to speak.
I also will not identify or mention the perpetrator’s name, for sake of doing my part to negate his apparent desire for post-death infamy, but it appears quite clear now that he had a motive to inflict as high of a body count as possible before taking his own life (or dying at the hands of police, whichever came first). This is a typical side, if not main, objective of modern mass murderers; like terrorists, they wish their evil deeds – as manifested through the quantitatively measurable destruction they wreak – and names to live on after they are gone, in a twisted form of modern martyrdom.
The reality is, if not for government interference1 in the basic human right of self-defense and the preparation for it, these sorts of mass murder events would very likely be far less common (they already are quite uncommon to begin with, but there is certainly room for improvement). It is precisely because certain areas in this country are advertised as so-called “gun-free” zones, which effectively become nothing more than “good guy-free” zones, that bad guys with the intent to rack up high body counts seek these places out.
The removal of such prohibitions on firearms possession, be they state or private, would introduce not only an immediate ability for potential victims to react to such violence with appropriate counter-violence, rather than forcing them to hope and pray for salvation while passively awaiting the police to arrive minutes later and provide this response in their stead, it would also introduce an element of uncertainty to the killer’s objective which could offer a deterrence. While there is no guarantee, of course, that an armed civilian on a given premises will prevent all mass shootings, or that at least one person in any and all environments will have decided to arm themselves that particular day, and there is no way to quantitatively prove how many lives are saved when armed civilians do provide resistance, documented examples nonetheless exist of armed civilians stopping shootings before they could occur or grow worse (however often they go ignored by mainstream media sources). Indeed, some data suggest this phenomenon is broadly occurring in America already over the last ~35 years as gun restrictions for the populace have slowly and generally been eased. This entire premise of having access to the means to provide immediate resistance to violence is most certainly supported by the State’s individual arming and deployment of law enforcement personnel. But, of course (and thankfully in some ways), the police cannot be everywhere at all times; the only person guaranteed to be available for you to rely upon at all times and in all places is yourself.
As previously stated, it is intuitively clear that such criminals seek out advertised “gun-free” zones like moths to flames. For every school shooting that occurs, there is a noticeable absence of mass shootings which take place at police stations. For every movie theater event, there are virtually no purposeful shootings that take place at shooting ranges. For every church shooting, gun shows take place across the nation without violent incident. The pattern here is very clear and the hoplophobes who refuse to recognize this correlation enable and invite such horrors in their own ironically tragic ways.
Nonetheless, prominent Americans – including the president – continue to advocate for infringing policies that are demonstrably ineffective, while simultaneously ignoring policies that are at least correlated (if not outright causative) with positive outcomes. Some push for these policies because they have ulterior motives they wish to achieve, but many others do so simply because they are woefully ill-informed, despite their apparent good intentions.
It is simply not factual that the United States is “the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings,” as President Obama continually asserts. Background checks generally present no appreciable effect on violent crime, and expanding such background checks under the so-called “gun show loophole” would have had zero impact on this specific case at all (as all of the assailant’s weapons used in the attack were reportedly purchased legally and within the scope of current law, including the National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks). In fact, even if background check legislation were expanded, there is no logical reason to expect the government’s enforcement of them to catch the “needle in the haystack,” while all of its attention is instead focused on the millions of law-abiding citizens caught in the bureaucratic morass. Magazine restrictions, as are applied in many states, also did not limit this event because the shooter simply brought multiple (legally obtained) firearms with him and had plenty of time to reload with impunity, since no one on scene had immediate access to a firearm of their own for self-defense.
Most modern gun control policies are solutions looking for problems and tend to exacerbate undesired outcomes far more than the opposite.
- Sometimes, “gun-free” zones are a product of private property owners’ wishes, vice State restrictions. While I respect and support the right of property owners to use and restrict the use of their property as they see fit, this is still an ill-advised policy and I will not typically provide patronage to such businesses, organizations, facilities, etc.