Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gun Control

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It had to happen: in the wake of the bloodiest rampage in US history, the media and politicians have turned off the grief taps and opened the hydrant of blame. These 32 students and educators haven't even been dead for 48 hours and already we're getting the full brunt of gun-control and what-did-VT-administrators-do-wrong.

And it's not a discussion, either. I read an article on Yahoo! last night detailing what all the important foreign governments of the world thought of Americans' access to weapons. The world evidently thinks we're an embarrassment to ourselves because we have a culture of violence, and yet they don't hesitate to call us when things go bad in their own back yards.

We all know about Christian Trejbal's indictment of gun ownership in the Roanoke Times a few weeks ago, and now we're hearing it from all quarters: gun owners are evil people, and the only reason to have a gun is to defend yourself from "the king of England".

And now some of the presidential candidates are expected to weigh in and maybe even Congress. So now, in the wake of this tragedy, let me propose an alternative view to what happened on Monday, and what might have been done to end the carnage.

On October 16, 1991, Dr. Susan Gratia watched in horror as her parents were gunned down by a madman in Killeen, Texas. She had no choice but to watch because she had left her gun in the car, fearful of violating a law prohibiting her from taking it into the restaurant. The madman, George Hennard, had no such fear.

Virginia Tech has similar prohibitions, as do most public institutions, restaurants, and places of business. But the nutjobs of the world don't usually look down the long list of laws on their way to a killing spree. Or do they?

A couple of years ago, the world watched in horror as events unfolded in the Amish community. A nutjob there picked a school, lined up girls, and shot them execution style. Why? He knew it would be an easy target.

My point is this: Monday's tragedy could have been cut short if the people we trust to handle guns had the right to handle them. Concealed-carry permit holders are registered, they are trained, and they are trusted by the State Police to not do anything stupid with a gun. Virginia Tech, however, did not trust them, and made every victim's choice the same: flee or die.

When Cho chained the doors shut, he took the flight option away.

I don't know for sure that anybody in that building was a concealed-carry permit holder, but I'm absolutely certain that at least one victim in that bloodbath owned a gun.

Weapons, and an armed populace, are absolutely essential to the security of a free state.

Gun-control lobbyists will argue that there's no standing militia, but that argument is absurd. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Mexico were to invade while our military is deployed in the Persian Gulf. They are able to put the full force of their military to our borders, and quickly take control of the southern US. Who's left to fight them? Are we to wait until an enemy is within our borders before we establish a "well-regulated" militia? At that point, where is the militia to get guns?

It is my belief that our founding fathers expected us to come together with our weapons, form a militia in times of need, and repel any enemy like free men should.

And here's your gun-control law: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". Yeah, obviously nobody foresaw cheaply available bazookas, .50-caliber tank-mounted machine guns, or tanks, for that matter.

I also think our founding fathers understood law enforcement better than the general public. Yes, the police are there to stop crime, and yes, the laws and punishments are there to deter crime, but the police cannot be everywhere at all times, and by their very nature can only respond to crime. An armed populace is everywhere, all the time, and has the ability to stop a crime in commission. An armed populace is a greater deterrent to crime than any police force: if you don't know who's armed, whom are you going to rob?

I know one thing that will come of this: I'm going to bump up my plans to get my concealed-carry permit, and make it a very high priority.

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