Newtown massacre: Gun-free zones and other such measures ineffective in stopping mass murders

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- On Friday, Dec. 14, a terrible tragedy occurred. Twenty very young and innocent children were gunned down by a mad man in their Newtown, Conn., school classrooms. The lunatic also killed his mother, school staff and, when law enforcement showed up, himself. The unspeakable horror of the event, at school where parents should be able to assume that their young ones are safe and with the principal and other school staff losing their lives trying to shield the children from the murderer, has every parent, grandparent and any person with natural empathy in our nation deep in grief.

And as always when a crazy person goes on a suicidal rampage in which they want to take innocent lives at random before killing themselves, the usual suspects begin screaming for stricter gun controls, confiscation of certain types of (or all) arms or ammunition (generally showing how ignorant they are about that which they are trying to ban) or expansion of gun-free zones.

It brings to mind Rahm Emanuel, who famously said as President Obama’s chief of staff early in his first term, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He meant that laws and agendas could be pushed through during a time of fear and emotional distress that otherwise could never pass.

Those who believe in the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution and the right to keep and bear arms push back against these proposals. Just the demands for new gun laws, and their accompanying diminishing of our civil liberties, send the sales of guns and ammunition skyrocketing.

Whether one is anti- or pro-gun, there are a few things that must be kept in mind as people try to make sense of actions by maniacs that make no sense to a sane person. Some of these are so often stated that they have become clichéd, but that doesn’t make them any less true.

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. There has been murder of humans by other humans since the human world began. Those who know even a little of the Bible recall Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve.

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. There has been murder of humans by other humans since the human world began. Those who know even a little of the Bible recall Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve.

No access to a gun? Get on the Internet, get a recipe for a bomb, cook it up, strap it on or toss it in a crowded building. Voila! You’ve killed many people, including, maybe, yourself. Rocks, clubs, spears, knives, arrows and so forth; there is always a way to kill if you are so intent on doing so. Anyone remember the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing? How about all the Jihadists who strap on explosives and become suicide killers?

If you outlaw guns, then only criminals will have guns. Criminals don’t respect or follow the laws, so law-abiding citizens will be left unable to protect themselves from them. Please don’t allow yourself to indulge in the absolute fantasy that there are enough police to prevent someone intent on killing, no matter how heavily guarded. Think President Kennedy’s murder and near assassinations of Presidents Ford and Reagan.

Gun-free Zones are an open invitation for mass murder. It was not by accident that the Aurora, Colo., theater shooter selected the one movie theater that was absolutely “gun free” out of six near his apartment to take out total strangers before turning his weapon on himself. The “No Guns Allowed” rule only invites a crazy person intent on killing to destroy as much life as possible because it blatantly advertises that law-abiding citizens will not be able to defend themselves. Why did the Newtown, Conn., shooter choose a school? Duh. Gun Free Zone.

In fact, in the last 50 years every mass shooting with more than four deaths has taken place in a Gun Free Zone but one. That was the incident in which a nutcase severely wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and killed several others in her home state of Arizona, a state with very liberal gun control laws.

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy (or girl) with a gun.

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy (or girl) with a gun.

I suggest if we really are intent in “doing something,” as our President has stated, we need to examine some of the root causes of the violence rather than delude ourselves into thinking that the problem is solvable with more gun control laws.

Our ability to diagnose and treat mentally ill people – the ones who engage in these random/murder/suicide binges – have been woefully diminished over the years due to privacy laws, the shutting down of institutions that protect sane society from the mentally ill who could become a threat and a backlash to cruel policies from the past.

Furthermore, our culture is inundated with violence on TV, in the movies and through video games that glorify murder and mayhem. A mentally stable person might be able to be exposed to this trash and not gain a lust for killing or see it as a rationale behavior, but a mentally unbalanced person? I laugh every time I hear some “authority” in the entertainment field claim that the barrage of these images doesn’t have an effect on peoples’ brains, sensitivity and empathy. If that were true, why do they spend so much on advertising their products?

And then there is the news media. Remember the old newspaper/TV news adage “if it bleeds, it leads? Our television, print and on-line news sources have been non-stop on the coverage of the Newton tragedy, often reporting falsehoods and intruding on the grief and shock of those personally grappling with the tragedy. Does anyone think that a crazy person intent on killing himself and who is bombarded with the 24/7 coverage of each murderous rampage would NOT fantasize that he could go out in a blaze of glory if he takes as many innocents with him as he can? Ever heard of copy cat crimes?

Are weapons in the hands of crazy people a threat? Of course. But why are certain peoples’ and groups’ first course of action the dilution of honest, sane citizens rights? Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York City have the most rigid gun laws in our nation. They also lead the pack with their murder rates. Criminals, gang members and nuts have no problem getting illegal weaponry while the rights and abilities of honest people to protect themselves, their families and the homes are totally eroded.

Are weapons in the hands of crazy people a threat? Of course. But why are certain peoples’ and groups’ first course of action the dilution of honest, sane citizens rights? Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York City have the most rigid gun laws in our nation. They also lead the pack with their murder rates. Criminals, gang members and nuts have no problem getting illegal weaponry while the rights and abilities of honest people to protect themselves, their families and the homes are totally eroded.

Do we need a national discussion? You betcha. But let’s make sure the topics of conversation are honestly dealing with what’s gone wrong in our society, not pushing certain political agendas that will leave us worse off rather than safer.

Headline Sufer, Central Florida's 24/7 Internet newspaperHeadline Surfer is Central Florida's 24/7 award-winning Internet newspaper in New Smyrna Beach with emphasis on breaking news and investigative reporting. Headline Sufer is the recpient of four awards in the Florida Prss Club's 2012 excellence in journalism contest for general news writing, public safety reporting, blog writing and best online presence. Access to Headline Surfer, a registered trademark, is free via HeadlineSurfer.com, NSBNews.net & VolusiaNews.net. Its stories, blogs & images are indexed in Google News Directories and place at or near the top of the major online sarch engines. Launched April 7, 2008, Headline Surfer is accessed  around the clock by thousands of online users globally.

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Ellen Darden's picture

Ellen Darden, an active Realtor, is immediate past president of the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors. She and her husband, Frank, live in New Smyrna Beach. She is a former educator and a life-long student of and participant in public policy, governance and politics. The blog, "Politics and policies" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer, a registered trademark.

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