As we watch our policymakers ramp-up the rhetoric on gun control, no one is likening the events in Newtown, Connecticut to the feared result of a nuclear Iran, or tyrants in Libya or Syria, but the two situations are eerily similar & yet, vastly different in scale.
There is no doubt that the school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was one of the most heart wrenching events we have experienced in a long time. The only event that rivals this in this writer’s memory was the bombing of the Mura Building in Oklahoma City, and most vividly portrayed by the Oklahoma City firefighter, Chris Fields carrying the lifeless body of Baylee Olman out of the rubble.
Yet a studied observer should want to look at the logical inconsistencies employed by the very policy makers we are entrusting our children’s safety to. One after another, conservative Democratic lawmakers are jumping over to the side of gun control advocates. Among them are Senators John Warner (D-Va) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Warner touts his National rifle Association “A-rating”, while Manchin points out his membership in that organization.
There is no doubt that a firearm was used to murder 20 defenseless children, and that that firearm had visible cosmetic similarities with weapons carried by our soldiers. And undoubtedly the fact that he had 30 rounds in each clip that he used made his task more convenient, but frankly, pumping multiple .223 rounds into a child didn’t make them “deader”, it made the assailant just more evil. I certainly question the wisdom of taking a young man to the gun range to increase his proficiency with firearms, while warning babysitters “not to turn your back on him.” We certainly need to be more cognizant of who our enemies might end up being.
But a larger policy question looms over this. Our government, in partnership with other world leaders, is in the process of allegedly staring down a pre-nuclear Iran, basing its diplomatic efforts on a platform of willingness to bear arms against despots. Why don’t we simply go to the United Nations and offer to give up our nuclear arms, and urge our nuclear allies to do the same? If we ban nuclear arms, Iran won’t have any, right?
Or, let’s look at our actions in Libya. Did we oppose Moammar Qadaffi by disarming citizen rebel forces as a means to secure freedom from violence perpetrated by the other side? Of course not, we armed those rebel groups, secured the overthrow of that government and are now struggling with the aftermath of having armed the wrong guys. We ended up arming, inadvertently, the very people who ended up attacking us in Benghazi. (Is this eerily similar to taking a socially challenged young man to the gun range to improve his firearms skills?)
Now, we are apparently using the same theory in Syria. Through Turkey and Qatar, we are arming rebel forces to overthrow a government we have deemed brutal. Yet we have sensible intelligence that many of these rebel groups are aligned with Al Qaeda and we are arming them through Muslim Brotherhood sympathetic governments. (Are we back at the gun range?)
Yet, our first line solution to the act of a single madman in Newtown, Connecticut is to use exactly the opposite theory. We are ramping up efforts to take arms away from our citizens to preclude events like those happening at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We are imposing a diametrically opposing theory on our own people than we are the rest of the world? Or are we? One would think that were we as worried about “school peace” as we are about “world peace”, we would either offer to disarm ourselves, or we’d make an effort to arm citizens.
If one were to give those governing us the benefit of the doubt and assume they are not so stupid as to hold two diametrically opposite theories of arms control, then we need to look at the different outcomes they expect to get from using the same theory. Here is one very plausible explanation that does not include our lawmakers being stupid.
We are arming rebel citizens to ensure they overthrow their government while we disarm our own citizens to make sure we don’t overthrow them. And that casts very sinister plans for our future, to say the least.
If we really wanted to protect our children, we encourage private citizens to arm themselves and offer effective training in their safe use. We might look at the ranks of our teachers and see how many are veterans, and politely ask them again to carry arms. And, if we find that we don’t have sufficient veterans of our military teaching our children, we need to take action on that. Who better to teach our children than those who were willing to give their lives for children everywhere.
And how sad is it that we listen to the stories of at least three educators who, for want of the ability to return fire, lost their lives putting themselves between a madman and our children.
Sandy Hook can teach us things. But those lessons might be in the reverse. Rather than disarming our schools, we need to re-arm them. In the ‘50’s it was not uncommon to have shooting and firearms training as an extracurricular. It’s time to put it back, and to employ folks capable of teaching it, and simultaneously keep our children safe.
And as we take the lessons of Sandy Hook back to our Middle Eastern policy, we need to make damn sure who we are “taking to the gun range”.