I was planning to post a bit more about how the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious had led to just about zero with regards to repercussions for the perpetrators, and how their criminal enterprise that armed Mexican narcoterrorists had led to the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who died two years ago tonight, killed by a gun smuggled by his own government.
And then today, a lunatic in Connecticut went out and killed his mother, some teachers, and a class full of kindergarteners. There are no words available to console the families, and even stating that one can cannot convey sorrow sounds trite and cliche. There really is no way to convey the unfathomable sorrow and grief and shock that the families are in right now, or to convey aid in any words. There is nothing that can be said to console them. With time, perhaps one could offer a shoulder to lean on, arms to cry in, and ears to listen. Today, there is nothing.
Mary Katherine Ham over at HotAir has a good rundown on today’s news, for the rare few who haven’t been glued to their TV, radio, or the internet today.
The reactions, beyond shock, sorrow, and disgust, have been the immediate knee jerk leftist desire to dance on the graves of the victims to push their anti-gun, anti-rights agenda. It would be nice to live in a world where that wasn’t the case, but sadly it is.
Today’s lunatic criminal is on the level of the Port Arthur Massacre, in which an Australian man, who was reportedly driven in part by the media reports of the Scottish Dunblane School Massacre, to go out and commit a greater act of violence. Already a madman, he identified another madman and sought to outdo the lunatic in Scotland. By the end of the Port Arthur Massacre, 35 people had been murdered and 23 more wounded.
The effects would be long-lasting, as the Australian government reacted in knee-jerk fashion by going after their citizens’ gun rights. Some classes of firearms were outright banned, others regulated and regulated until they drove out hobbyists, competitive shooters, and those who believed in Orwell’s statement that the rifle on the cabin wall insures democracy. Today, Australia has incredibly strict gun control laws, which, as usual, only have an effect on law-abiding citizens. The end result was that one madman’s rampage and a knee-jerk reaction from government resulted in harm for the entire nation.
Today, with the president, already known to be vehemently anti-gun, crying and saying that action MUST be taken, we stand on that same precipice, under threat of loss of rights.
When I was in college, I took many Russian culture, history, and language classes. One day in early 1999, a professor told us of how when she was a student in Russia decades before, she had a professor who spoke of US aid to Russia during WWII. The professor had spoken well of lend-lease and of how the United States had aided the Soviet Union during the war years. The professor was soon gone, whisked away by the government.
In April of 1999, two lunatics at Columbine High School in Colorado shot up their school, killing classmates and teachers and eventually themselves. In class, my professor spoke about it, wistfully noting how it was terrible that kids could get guns and how that would never happen in the old country.
I reminded her of the story of her professor that she had told us just a few days prior, and how he had been “disappeared”, along with hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of people by the state. In a moment, she understood, and replied simply with “oh”.
None of the lives lost at Columbine were any less important than those sent to camps to die – all were human lives killed by malevolent forces. The difference is that one malevolent force – that of a murderous madman, can never be truly contained or completely mitigated. Every single death at the hands of a madman is tragic, but ultimately a madman is limited in scale. In contrast, the malevolent force of a murderous government is nigh unlimited in scale, and can last not merely for the course of a single rampage, but can last for years, decades, and generations, committing murders on a scale that no lone madman or pair of lunatics can possibly match.
With that simple comparison, she understood in an instant that the power of a government can be held in check by an armed populace (and even a madman can sometimes be held in check by an armed populace, as seen at the New Life Church in Colorado, the Appalachian Law School, and even at the University of Texas tower shooting). The loss of life from a government with monopoly of force vastly outweighs that of individual criminals across the history of mankind; and the good citizen being disarmed enables criminal and evil men, and criminal and evil governments.
None of this is consolation to the victims of an individual madman or criminal, but it needs to be brought up as a reminder that any knee-jerk response to blame tools of a massacre cannot stop future massacres; but that denying free men the right to bear arms can ensure that there will be future massacres.
If you’ve never seen this before, please take a few minutes to watch. The woman speaking is Dr. Suzanna Hupp, who survived the Luby’s Massacre in Kileen, TX. Both of her parents were murdered there.
“The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting, and I know I’m not going to make very many friends saying this, but it’s about our right, all of our right to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there.”
-Dr. Suzanna Hupp
Update: The written word has no tone, only that which a skillful writer can imbue, and an adept reader can discern. Upon rereading this post, I want to make sure it isn’t read in a tone that sounds harsh or callous. The first part is to those suffering; and to them I would say little else. No one can. The second and following parts are to everyone else, standing back from the situation even if a bit, and beginning to think about the longer view. Even that in and of itself may sound callous.
In 2005, friends in my platoon were hit by an IED and injured. Two received Purple Hearts for what we would ultimately learn were minor injuries, but that was unknown to us at the time. My response to their injuries was to push on, repair damage my vehicle had incurred and address what I could do. I had no control over what happened to my injured friends, as I have no control over the injured, traumatized, and grieving here. Nothing I can do can aid them (prayer may help, but I don’t wear that on my sleeve). The only thing I can perhaps do is offer some perspective and prevent greater tragedy in the very long run.
Any knee-jerk response against guns may be well-intentioned by some, but is purely controlling, malicious, and calculated by others. Any knee-jerk response towards greater control by mental health professionals as an attempt to prevent madmen from going on rampages needs to address the fact that the mental health profession lives in a glass house.
There will be time to understand what all went wrong (some reports note that after classes began, the school was locked down, which leads to wondering how does a madman in tactical gear carrying guns get buzzed in), but there will be some more eager to “never let a good crisis go to waste” in the words of Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Update 2: Port Arthur revisited.
Update 3: Sebastian at PAGunBlog sums up the feelings of most rights supporters.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice?
As gun owners, if we could just experience the grief and sorrow along with the rest of the country, instead of having it intruded upon by that impending feeling of doom about what the media, the politicians, and the people in society who don’t much care for civilian gun ownership are going to do to our lives, liberty and often times livelihood? If we could go through something like this without worrying how much we’re going to be the scapegoats? I know that’s the thought that’s been crossing my mind as this entire horror story is playing out in the media. I don’t want to think about or deal with politics right now, but that’s precisely what I have to start getting ready for if I don’t want to risk that America, and the politicians who claim to represent her, in their rashest and most impulsive worst instincts, pass a knee jerk law that will overnight turn many Americans into instant felons. There are times I believe we all deserve a break from politics. This is one of them, but we will never get it.
I believe we will not leave this horror unscathed, either mentally or politically. Our liberties and beliefs will be called into question, ridiculed, beaten, and we’ll be told to get in line for the good of everyone. This could very well be the point as which the pendulum swings back. The narrative that’s been driven home is that NRA is beaten up and bloodied, and is no longer relevant. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, what matters is what the powers that be believe. We may not believe the time now is for politics, and it shouldn’t be. But as a variation on an old saying goes: we may not be interested much in politics, but politics is very interested in us.
Reposted in its entirety, because it’s so much worth reading to understand the sentiment.