THE ISSUE OF CURBING VIOLENCE IN OUR SCHOOLS DOES NOT DEVOLVE TO SIMPLY BANNING GUNS. IT IS MORE COMPLEX, ELUSIVE, NUANCED.
STUDENTS MUST BECOME CRITICAL THINKERS, NOT “PARROTS” OF THOSE WHO HARBOR ULTERIOR MOTIVES.
Peaceful protest isn’t a bad thing. The youth of our Nation, as citizens of the United States, have a Constitutional right to do so as the right of the people to peaceably assemble is a fundamental right, specifically codified in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, along with freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the right to the free exercise of religion. These rights are broad in scope and critical to the maintenance of a free Republic. The danger of protest rests when there exists a hidden agenda behind the protest, unbeknownst to those that take to protest.
On March 24, 2018, hundreds of thousands of young people, including adults, turned out to protest violence in our Nation’s schools. The horror that took place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School served as the impetus for the protest. Last February 2018, a deranged young man, Nikolas Cruz, whom School Officials had expelled for multiple serious disciplinary violations, walked unimpeded into the School, and proceeded to murder 17 students, including teachers, using a semiautomatic long gun, modeled on the “AR-15” platform.
Organizers of the March 24 protest on our Nation’s Capital on Saturday, March 24, 2018 called it, “March for Our Lives.” The New York Times banner headline on Sunday, March 25, 2018, says something different however: “With Passion and Fury, Students March on Guns.”
Students across the Country are furious—and rightfully so—at the failure of Government, to protect them, as students are vulnerable to violence when in school. How it is that a seriously disturbed individual, Nikolas Cruz, who was on the radar of both the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and who, on several occasions, had openly expressed a desire to kill, could gain access to a firearm and ammunition, and who then could act on that desire, speaks of gross incompetence and glaring ineptitude, on multiple Governmental levels? Then there is the failure of an armed Broward County Deputy Sheriff—a Resource Officer, assigned to the School, and of other Broward County Deputy Sheriffs, who shortly arrived on the scene—whose actions or, rather, inactions, must be singled out. Broward County Deputy Sheriff, Scott Peterson, and other Broward County Deputy County Sheriffs failed to confront and stop Nikolas Cruz. They all consciously, intentionally, refrained from entering the School building to confront Nikolas Cruz, even though they heard gunshots in the School, and knew or had every reason to conclude that, every time they heard a gunshot, an innocent person had died. Bald-faced cowardice, cannot be ruled out.
Students have a right to ask of Government, that is charged to protect them, why Government failed them. This failure must be addressed and then redressed. Action must be taken to protect our schools with appropriate security. Competent, armed individuals, both physically capable of action and psychologically predisposed to act in a life-threatening situation, must be a component of an effective school security program.
FIREARMS, OF THEMSELVES, DO NOT CAUSE VIOLENCE BECAUSE THEY ARE OBJECTS, NOT AGENTS.
As for the root cause(s) why more violence occurs in our schools, this is a complex issue, with no simple answer or remedy. Unfortunately, in the face of overwhelming horror and tragedy, there is a normal tendency to look for a “quick fix,” and there are those who jump at the chance to funnel through the mainstream media, to the public, a simple answer—more stringent gun laws, commencing with an outright ban on civilian ownership and possession of all semiautomatic long guns, defined as ‘assault weapons,’ including a ban on large capacity ammunition magazines.
Antigun advocacy groups have argued, for decades, for further restrictions on civilian access to semiautomatic firearms, defined as ‘assault weapons.’ Of course, the definition of ‘assault weapon,’ is amorphous, as the phrase is a political invention, not an industry or military term of art. Those jurisdictions that generally ban possession of “assault weapons” in the hands of the American civilian citizenry, have defined the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ in different ways. In fact, under New York law at least one category of weapon, the revolving cylinder shotgun, is defined in law, an ‘assault weapon,’ even though, given the revolving cylinder shotgun’s method of operation, as the name makes plain, the revolving cylinder shotgun isn’t a semiautomatic weapon at all.
Antigun advocacy groups have an agenda and that agenda does not necessarily equate with ensuring a safe school environment. In pursuit of that agenda, these groups have successfully harnessed the anger, hurt, frustration, and legitimate concern of students. The “March for Our Lives” didn’t just happen. It happened for a reason: Antigun advocacy groups and other liberal advocacy groups quietly, behind the scenes, harnessed student anger and redirected it. They redirected student anger, hurt, and frustration away from an attack on the failure of some State and local governmental authorities to provide students with a safe and secure environment, where student anger, frustration and hurt should have been focused, or should rightfully have remained, to an attack on “the gun” qua “assault weapon.” Thus, instead of encouraging young people to take part in an open, frank, and intelligent discussion on the root causes of violence in our society and how it is and why it is some people erupt into an orgy of horrific violence and how State and local governments, in the interim, may implement reasonable security measures in schools, to protect students, we see antigun advocacy groups, and other advocacy groups in agreement with them, ratcheting up student anger to the point where that anger explodes into a paroxysm of rage launched specifically and solely against an inanimate object.
An undertaking of this magnitude requires, money, organization, and coordination well beyond the capacity of young people to engineer. The billionaire Michael Bloomberg, through his antigun advocacy group, “Everytown for Gun Safety,” organized, funded, and coordinated the rally. This isn’t supposition, it is fact, as reported by CNN, and as Bloomberg’s group itself readily admits.
WOULD A WHOLESALE BAN ON SEMIAUTOMATIC LONG GUNS, MODELED ON THE ORIGINAL AR-15 ARMALITE SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLE, PREVENT A RECURRENCE OF GUN VIOLENCE IN OUR NATION’S SCHOOLS?
An outright ban on an entire category of weapons in common use would not prevent further gun violence. A federal ban on so-called ‘assault weapons,’ implemented in 1994, was tried. That ban failed to prevent many mass shootings. The ban expired in 2004 through a sunset provision, and Congress did not reauthorize it. We have seen, since, violent acts committed, not only with so-called “assault weapons,” but with other objects, including, knives, bombs, and even trucks.
“Everytown for Gun Safety,” and like-minded antigun advocacy groups argue that violence in our schools, and in public spaces generally, can be prevented or significantly reduced if Government, local, State, and Federal, would simply prohibit civilian access to firearms. Whether these antigun activist groups truly believe that, is unlikely. Their goal, if achieved, would not eliminate or even reduce violence in schools or in the greater society. They must know this. Their goal, if achieved, would have the negative effect of leaving the civilian population of this Country essentially defenseless. The tacit but obvious impetus of these antigun advocacy groups is to effectuate Government control over the citizenry. The goal of these groups is not to promote public safety, express claims to the contrary, notwithstanding.
The fact of the matter is that, even if antigun advocates were successful in removing every firearm presently in the possession of honest, law-abiding, average, rational American citizens who desire to exercise their fundamental, inalienable, natural right to keep and bear arms who comprise the vast civilian citizenry of firearms’ owners in this County, that would do nothing to curb violent acts. A simplistic fix that happens, not unsurprisingly, to cohere with the personal agenda of antigun advocacy groups—destruction of the Second Amendment—isn’t the panacea for effectively dealing with a culture of violence endemic in our Nation, contrary to the supposition of antigun activists and contrary to their rhetoric. It is a recipe for disaster. First, the antigun activists’ simplistic fix leaves the American citizenry defenseless. Second, the abridgement of the American citizenry’s fundamental rights and liberties—reflected, first and foremost in an armed citizenry—is inconsistent with the continued conservation and preservation of a free Republic, rooted in our Nation’s history. Third, such abridgement of our fundamental rights and liberties is inconsistent with the basic principle upon which those sacred rights and liberties rests: the sanctity, autonomy, and inviolability of the American citizen.
Until Americans, including the youth of our Nation, are willing to look deeply and seriously at the true root causes of violence that infects and infests our Country, rather than excoriating guns as the salient cause of violence and mischief in our Nation in accordance with the dictate of antigun advocacy groups, violence will not appreciably be forestalled or constrained; for violence, ultimately, exists in the heart of individuals, not in such inanimate objects they happen to wield. Any object—a gun, a knife, a vehicle, a chainsaw, or any other tool—can be used by a sentient being for good or ill.
Young people, especially, must learn to think through an issue calmly, not rashly. Unfortunately, those individuals and groups that have a personal agenda to serve, have irresponsibly coopted the rightful anger and hurt of young people to assist them in pursuit of a singular goal: divesting the civilian population of this Country of their firearms. The young people must resist the urge to serve antigun groups as their servants or proxies. Antigun groups are very good at coaxing young people to join them in service to a personal agenda: gun control, culminating in gun confiscation. Instead, the young people of our Nation might more effectively use intellectual rigor to explore the root causes of violence in our society. In the interim Government at the federal, State, and local levels, can and must design and implement plans to secure our schools from threats of harm. Violence is, unfortunately, persistent in our Nation. But, violence is endemic in many other Western nations, too, even as those other Western nations have rigidly suppressed individual ownership and possession of firearms.
A viable security plan to protect students from harm never existed in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But other Schools across the Nation that have implemented effective security, have been free from deadly threats to students and to teachers. That means all schools must embrace a proactive, not reactive, stance to threats of violence of any kind. A sound plan to protect students is doable and helpful. Going after guns is not.
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.