Our thoughts and prayers need to go out to all affected by the recent fatal shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon. However, let us always in moments like this always beware of government “solutions”.
A few observations:
• I graduated from high school in 1979. In those days, you never saw a police officer or “resource officer” on campus. School lock downs were absolutely unthinkable. And you never heard of a school shooting. Indeed, there were a grand total of two school shootings in that academic year.
• Our “psych med” in 1979 was marijuana. The psychotropic medications that have been a common denominator in almost every mass shooting in recent years had not yet been developed.
• “Gun-free schools” did not become federal law until 1990, and were signed into law by a Republican president. All “gun-free” means is “nobody is going to shoot back”.
• 77 million students are enrolled in educational institutions in America. In the last 12 months, there have been 46 shootings and 28 fatalities. Switzerland only wishes it could have such a low murder rate.
• There are, on average, 40 murders per day in America. Why are school shootings given so much more media coverage than non-school murders?
• Violent crimes are down significantly in the last two decades. This is largely attributable to the relaxation of laws regarding carrying of weapons. Bad guys are a lot less reckless as they never know who might be packing a gat.
- In 2010, about 26,000 people aged 10-24 died of various causes. Only seven of them died in school shootings. Hence, this is totally unnecessary.
- To this day, the bloodiest school massacre ever occurred in Bath, Michigan, in 1927. Andrew Kehoe detonated explosives outside the school killing 44 people and injuring 58 others. No guns were involved. And this was at a time when you could by Tommy Guns in the Sears catalog.
- You can turn schools into mini-Alcatrazes and still not protect students and teachers from being killed. You don’t have to carry a gun or any other implement of destruction into a building in order to kill a lot of people. Can anyone here say Tim McVeigh?
- In the recent aftermath of three bomb threats at Wantagh High School on Long Island, school authorities sealed all lockers and banned backpacks on campus. No this does not protect anyone. Why not? See the above bullet point.
- You can also do a lot of damage with a knife. Consider what happened at this community college near Houston and this high school near Pittsburgh.
Undeterred by gun laws.
• And please don’t tell me how the survivors and family members of those killed by gun violence feel about gun control. It is extremely arrogant to speak for other people. In the aftermath of Columbine: Tom Mauser, who lost a son on that horrible day supports more gun control while Darryl Scott, who lost a daughter that horrible day, opposes more gun control. John Green, who lost his daughter in the Tucson supermarket shooting, says “we don’t need any more restrictions on our society”.
• And yes, I myself have lost two friends to gun violence.
• To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are lies, damned lies and gun control statistics.
Utopia will never happen. There are lots of things I would love to see eradicated from this world. However, whenever you clamor for more laws in order to prevent future tragedies, you entrust your safety and security to the most dangerous, murderous entity in human history: the state.
Doug Newman is the writer at Food For Thinkers Blog and a frequent contributor to the Free Thought Project