“You’re either with us or against us,” said one student attending the anti-gun rally in Tallahassee this week.
Today, as one wise relative recently expressed to me, "the opinions/biases of progressive, anti-gun parents and community organizers are being given national front page limelight attention through the ‘innocent’ voices of thoroughly-coached, so-called ‘non-political,’ highly emotional high school students, and to offer any countering arguments to these ‘voices’ is immediately broad-brushed as being anti-children, and not caring for their safety!"
Indeed. Just as Dana Loesch was lambasted by the Broward County Sheriff (“You are not standing up for them [the kids] until you say, ‘I want less weapons.’”) anyone who supports our Constitutional right to bear arms is automatically labeled as callous and cold-hearted.
I have two children. One of them—just two months old, is currently cooing at my side on the bed as I write this. My children’s lives are more precious to me than anything—and I would do anything to protect them … which means whatever I do better MEAN something.
It better ACTUALLY protect them.
To the frightened (and might I add, media-exploited) Florida high school students who worry about people like me, understand this: I care about what works.
A lot of people are mad, and rightfully so. Lives have been cut short in their prime—and it’s not wrong to be angry and want SOMETHING done. The question is—what?
We have a real problem in this country as it pertains to this entire debate—and that is that we’re not dealing with reality. We cannot address the evil embodied in people like Nicholas Cruz when we base our arguments (and our political action) on falsehoods; when we refuse to seek truth; when we stubbornly stay the course of something that is demonstrably ineffective while ignoring reality.
So here’s the deal:
Stop spreading false information.
When our society reacts to these shootings (and subsequently passes legislation to match), it often does so based on things that simply aren’t true; things that have the power to greatly influence decisions that ultimately affect our Constitutional freedoms. Let’s get a few things straight:
FACT: There is no such thing as a military “style” weapon. Just because an AR-15 looks like an M16 doesn’t make it an M16. FULL STOP.
FACT: “AR” does not stand for “Automatic Rifle;” it stands for ArmaLite Rifle—and it operates “like every other normal firearm—they fire only one bullet each time the trigger is pressed.”
FACT: Under the National Firearms Act, “it is illegal for any private civilian to own any fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986.” As The Federalist’s Sean Davis points out, anyone who wants one made prior to 1986 (and incidentally, they are approximately as expensive as a small car—and that’s on the cheap end) can only do so through a very, very limited and heavily regulated pool and MUST register it with the ATF, which entails an extensive process that can take over a year and involves great expense, DETAILED investigations into the person’s life and a requirement to register with the federal government when they move or EVEN when they set foot outside their state. It’s hardly something the average Joe can get their hands on, by a long shot.
FACT: There have NOT been 18 school shootings since January. Everytown for Gun Safety, which started peddling that out-and-out lie, included everything from suicides in school parking lots to accidental discharges of a weapon in a criminal justice class overseen by a police officer. (Really?)
FACT: So-called “mass shootings” are not on the rise. In fact, they’ve been statistically flat for the last 40 years. Does that make it any less tragic when it happens? No—but it affects how we look at solutions. Here’s a fact you probably don’t hear the media touting: far more children are killed every year simply riding their bikes or walking to school than in school shootings like the one in Florida, which are actually—believe it or not—statistically rather rare.
If you were looking for the cure for cancer and the data showed time and again that the method you’re using is ineffective, wouldn’t you be considered insane for continuing to pursue that path? Apply that same logic to gun control.
Take a gander at Chicago, which boasts strict gun laws and yet saw “2,785 shooting incidents and 3,457 shooting victims” in 2017. 650 people lost their lives in that city last year alone. (Incidentally, where’s the national outcry on that? Just because it didn’t happen in a nice school in a nice neighborhood it doesn’t get plastered all over national television?) Look at Australia, which carried out a mandatory gun buyback program, yet research out of the University of Melbourne indicates there’s little evidence to suggest it did anything to combat firearm homicides. Or take England and Wales, which have seen a 27% increase in gun crime, a 26% increase in knife crime, and a 19% increase in sexual crimes. For the record, that region has some of the “toughest gun control laws in the world”—and not only have they seen an increase in the crime that isn’t even supposed to exist, but violent crimes of other forms are alive and well there.
If we’re looking to protect our children, and gun control is clearly not doing it—doesn’t it behoove us to explore options that might have a better chance of protecting them?
Deal in reality
In order for gun control to have its desired outcome, we have to realize that the entire world would have to turn over every gun on the planet. Why? Because if they exist somewhere, criminals will find a way to get them. Even pro-gun control advocates who balk at using the city of Chicago as the poster child for why gun control doesn’t work admit that the “illegal guns fueling the city's violence mostly come from out of state,” which only makes my point further. You can put all the gun control measures you want in your city, state, or even country—but unless the entire world goes along for the ride (which isn’t going to happen, ever—and you can take that to the bank), the guns will still make their way into the hands of evil people.
Still, let’s suspend reality for a second and assume that we could eliminate all guns from the entire planet. We’re now a completely gun-free world.
So Nicholas Cruz decides he wants to go and hurt a bunch of kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School … and takes a pressure cooker bomb (like the Boston Massacre terrorists) or a machete (like the one that forever scarred my good friend’s brother’s face in the 2004 Valparaiso High School attack ). What then? Whose lives will we have protected?
We have to assume that regardless of any law we might pass, evil people will get a gun, or a knife, or a bomb—and they will try at some point to harm our children. What will protect those children more—more gun control laws (from a system that who very clearly failed us in the case of Nicholas Cruz) that criminals have a fondness for breaking or real actions to secure our nation’s schools?
Our government loves to spend money any chance it gets; why not use some of the copious government waste (like $1.1 million for [USAID] staff parties and retreats at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars” or the LITERAL billions that get paid out in Social Security and Medicare Fraud) to do things like equip our school doors with key card entry, and ensure no one has access who shouldn’t (that alone would have stopped the suspended Nicholas Cruz from entering the school); place metal detectors at the entrance to ensure NO weapon crosses the threshold; and ensure every school has trained security staff (whether that’s an ex-military security guard or School Resource Officers) that are ARMED with weapons capable of stopping anyone with a gun.
Seriously, how disingenuous is it that we somehow see fit to protect our politicians, government buildings, movie stars, singers—the list goes on—with guns, but yet, as one social media user brilliantly quipped this week, we protect our children by slapping a “Gun Free Zone” sign on the door, and proceed to call someone with a gun when evil raises its ugly head?
To the school children of Florida, and school children across the country: we see you. We ARE on your side. The difference is that our approach just might keep you safe.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree