11.1 million ways to stop a massacre: the Second Amendment Effect

October 6th, 2015     Opinion

Islamic radicals targeting Christians, Christians shooting abortionists, drug-fueled criminals seeking money, social outsiders seeking revenge, mentally deranged killers seeking 15 minutes of fame–they all become terrorists when they pick up a weapon and select a target.

Since the school shootings in Oregon, the media has been highlighting various lists of past shooting incidents, beating the drum for gun control in this country. “Gun control” means different things to different people.  Some believe we should strictly control who may have a gun; some believe “the government” should take up all the guns; some favor strapping guns to our waists in the style of western gunslingers.

What argument can possibly stand against the need to pass and enforce laws about who cannot own a gun. Institute workable waiting periods for background checks. Then see that the data is kept up-to-date from all sources, and checked before selling a weapon. Done correctly, this will highlight criminals, terrorists, and persons with emotional and mental health issues, etc. But will these actions protect the innocent?

A strong arguement can be made for the deterrent effects of the Concealed Carry Permit.

A report by the Crime Prevention Research Center  in July 2014 found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, which are up from 4.5 million in 2007. This 146 percent increase parallels a nearly one-quarter (22 percent) drop in both murder and violent crime rates during the same time period. Additionally, murder and violent crime rates are lower in the 25 states with the highest permit rates compared to the rest of the U.S.

Statistics being touted far and wide show that since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, we have endured a continuous onslaught of these scenes. Counting all incidents involving guns (accidents, arguments, love triangles, etc.) there has been about one school shooting per week. Ruling out the accidental and spontaneous, we are left with an incident every five weeks involving an armed individual, minor or adult, actively shooting at others.

Though it is an “unthinkable” scenario, it can happen anywhere. Tupelo had a “near miss” situation recently when a young off-campus shooter came to school with his gun.

What do all of these events have in common in the minds of potential mass murderers?

In all of these situations, there are trapped, unarmed victims–hostages in the path of an armed madman. Along with all our gun-free zones, we have created thousands of killing zones where crazies of all stripes know they will have free rein until some branch of law enforcement arrives upon the scene. Most of them are prepared to die at the scene, even leaving behind their pre-planned press releases, and they want the highest possible body count to go along with their manifesto.

While it is generally true that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the question becomes “how many die before the good guy gets there?”

Former Marine, Chris Mintz, now recovering from seven gunshot wounds received as a result of his efforts to protect others from the Umpqua Community college shooter.

Former Marine, Chris Mintz, now recovering from seven gunshot wounds received as a result of his efforts to protect others from the Umpqua Community college shooter.

Had former Marine Chris Mintz not been there to confront the shooter at Umpqua Community College, there may have been many more dead and injured. Had Chris Mintz (or some other trained and responsible person) been armed when the shooting broke out at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, there may not have been nine innocent dead people there today.

In fact, there were some armed persons on the Umpqua campus, because Oregon is one of seven states that allows concealed carry on postsecondary campuses.* However, there was no designated response team on site, so “good guys” with guns feared that they would be mistaken for “bad guys” with guns by the swat team answering the 911 calls.

Aye, there’s the rub: guns alone are not the answer. There must be a procedure that allows the armed “good guys” to intervene without fear they will be mistakenly killed. Those procedures may vary from location to location depending upon a variety of circumstances, but they should spell out the requirements for being armed (concealed carry permits, training, etc), and they should be enforced.

Law enforcement and security experts, from local policemen to the Secret Service, all admit that it is practically impossible to detect and prevent the single madman working alone.  We cannot prevent madness, but looking at the past several years has made us able to predict its increasing intrusions. We must be prepared to deal with it quickly as soon as it shows its hand.

All over this vast country we have young children in daycare and schools, young adults in colleges, people of all ages shopping in malls and hospitals, etc. that are “gun free” zones. In other words, millions of potential targets there for the taking. If there is any protection at all, it often falls to elderly, out of shape employees, most of whom, even if they had a gun, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

A good starting place in slowing down the occurrence of these “copy cat” massacres is to stop the overwhelming amount of publicity about these killers, since that is often their main goal. Next, do something that will really make it  impossible for these “misfits” to get guns legally. Then we must take it a step further by eliminating the strictly enforced “gun free” zones.

A strong Second Amendment can actually serve to “control guns” in conjunction with concealed carry permits.   It should be known far and wide that any large congregation, particularly a school, is likely to contain trained individuals carrying weapons.

Dealing with madness will not be easy, cheap or even 100% successful. Wanna-be terrorists may not be as likely to seek their fame among large groups of innocent targets if they know that the targets themselves may be bearing arms, trained and prepared to shoot back. We will never be able to save everyone, but maybe we’d never again lose 20 first graders and and six staff members, as in Sandy Hook.

By all means, lock the school doors, set up the “pick-up” codes, establish codes and protocols for “alerts” and have security drills.

And consider utilizing the Second Amendment effect– responsible adults trained, armed, and prepared to respond when the unthinkable happens.

*Oregon is one of seven states that allows concealed carry on postsecondary campuses. This was based on a 2011 state court decision invalidating efforts to ban guns at public universities in Oregon. Public colleges like UCC are permitted to exclude concealed weapons from certain buildings and facilities but not the campus in general.

For two very different takes on how to deal with massacres, see the videos below.




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