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The Government Response to the Previous School Massacre – Part 1 in The Right Response?

The 2012 mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut bears disturbing similarities to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School, where two angry young men slaughtered a teacher and twelve students.

Since all actions have both visible and invisible consequences, an effective response to reduce the incidence and mitigate the effects of these massacres must be carefully considered. Invisible repercussions can often significantly worsen a situation. Economists now know a lot about moral hazard, for example.

The response to such massacres

Many people have emotional reactions that ignore these consequences. Birmingham, Alabama school board member Brian Giattina reportedly said guns send the wrong message. “It tells them we need to have a gun to protect them. This is a complex issue that needs to involve mental health, education, law enforcement and the community.”

Yet in the past fifty years, with one exception (the Gabby Gifford assassination attempt), every mass shooting that has killed more than four people has taken place in a supposedly weapons-free zone.

Your right to protect yourself

Unfortunately, Giattina himself gives the wrong message. His second sentence is indisputable but encouraging learned helplessness is morally corrupt.

Improvements are certainly needed in all these areas, but this not mean that responsible adults must stop protecting themselves. If the teachers at the school had been armed, how much lower would the death toll have been?

Brian Rohrbough, whose 15-year-old son was killed in the Columbine shooting, has a more thoughtful than emotional response. He acknowledged that “it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have someone who is armed – even a teacher – who has the courage to protect children in school”.

As explained by Larry Correia, Utah concealed weapons instructor, senior military and law enforcement trainer, competitive shooter, expert witness for the Utah State Legislature, owner from a Title 7 SOT gun store, elite firearms expert:

“The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when the shooter is arrested by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when the shooter is arrested by civilians : 2.5. The reason is simple. Armed civilians were there when it started.”

So what was the government’s response? They set up an investigation that rather muddled the issue and missed the real causes of the problem: the inability of responsible adults to protect themselves and their children. Government failure in the most fundamental task of government: to protect its citizens and students.

The government hid its inability to act

In this particular case, the government had received many warnings, but not only failed to act, but tried to hide its failure for many years.

Former Rocky Mountain News reporter Jeff Kass, author of the book, Columbine: A True Crime Story, found that the police ignored the complaints and explains what really happened.

A year earlier, the mother of one of Harris’s friends had filed a complaint: Harris, one of the shooters, had threatened her son on his website and bragged about building bombs. Police created an affidavit for a search warrant at Harris’ home, but went no further.

County officials even took five long years to acknowledge that they had met after the attacks to discuss the ignored 1998 affidavit for a search warrant. Yet police had also found a small bomb near Harris’ home – but no one had bothered to present the affidavit to a judge. The search finally took place, but only after the shooting.

Defensive uses of firearms

In this shooting, as in countless others, the killing of innocent people by deranged individuals was exacerbated by the legal ban on firearms. Laws designed to prevent law-abiding citizens from having firearms lead inexorably to disarming responsible citizens.

Yet guns in law-abiding hands stop a lot of murder and criminal mayhem. A study by Kleck and Gertz found between 830,000 and 2.45 million uses of defensive weapons per year in the United States. The National Survey of Private Gun Ownership revealed approximately 1.5 million defensive gun uses per year.

Mass shots increase significantly

The Wall Street Journal reported that there were 18 random mass shootings in the 1980s, 54 in the 1990s, and 87 in the 2000s. In just one year, 2012, rather than an entire decade, the Washington Post lists 14 cases of mass shootings.

This increase in the number and severity of massacres suggests that the increasingly strict gun laws already in place are having an understandable negative effect. Would new restrictions on gun ownership by law-abiding and responsible people make things better or worse?

It seems that those wishing to tighten gun restrictions are simply ignoring the consequences of previous actions. What is the most effective way to deter criminal activity? Is it really to disempower the law-abiding?

food for thought

“Bad guys with guns – bad guys, and good guys with guns – good guys!”

Harrold School District Superintendents, David Thweatt, and many others

© World Copyright Cris Baker, LifeStrategies.net. Republishing is welcome under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial License with no derivatives preserving all links intact. All rights reserved.

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