Today’s shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut was a tragedy. But it was a tragedy that could have been either entirely avoided or at least mitigated substantially. How? Well, it’s time to stop thinking of this as a political issue and to start thinking about this as a tactical, safety issue and apply some very straightforward logic. To do this, we’re going to ask a 5th grader. After all, who better to ask than a person representative of the victims targeted?
After he’d seen the news all over the TV, I simply asked my 5th grader how this tragedy could have been averted. What could have been done differently? First, I presented him with a piece of paper and we drew a bad guy and a potential victim. I labeled the location as a hardware store.
Then I told him to draw whatever he could think of that would have stopped the bad guy. He drew this without a second’s hesitation:
Hmm. He gave the store clerk a gun. That, he said, leveled the playing field. He said that the clerk would have had just as much chance of stopping the bad guy as the bad guy had of injuring or killing the store clerk. Fair enough. That fulfilled my request.
So, then I gave him this picture. I merely changed the location. I told him everything was the same, except now we’re at a school and instead of a store clerk, we had a principal sitting in his office.
He thought for a second and started to draw a gun in the principal’s hand. I had to stop him. I then explained that Connecticut had laws about guns that stated the following were gun-free zones (meaning no one could have a firearm at these locations):
In typical 5th grader fashion, he argued, ‘But the bad guy just broke the law!’
I said, ‘I see that. But did it stop him? He’s still there in the picture, right?’
‘Yes,’ he conceded. ‘Now what?’
I said, ‘That’s up to you.’ What can be done?’
‘Well, the principal can call the police; I’ll draw a phone….,’ he said.
‘Good idea! How long will it take the police to get there compared to how fast that bad guy can shoot?’ I responded.
‘Arrgh! Okay….he can duck behind the desk….no….that won’t work; bullets could go through that and the bad guy could run around really fast. A knife? Not so good against a gun. Arggh.’ Then silence. ‘I don’t know. I can’t think of anything else that will work! A gun is tough to beat. Everything I’m thinking ends up like this.’ And he drew the following:
‘And that’s what happened today at the school in Connecticut,’ I said. So, then I asked him who those gun laws prohibiting firearms in schools, churches and courts protected.
‘Duh, mom….the BAD GUYS! They don’t care about laws. They weren’t going to follow them anyway.’
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
We shall soon see if Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan is smarter than a 5th grader as he considers whether to sign SB-59, which essentially eliminates these ‘gun free zones’ or as my son calls them, ‘easy target zones.’ However, one thing of which Michigan citizens should be aware, we really do not have ‘gun free zones’ in Michigan. These zones are merely concealed carry-free zones.
As my friend Rick Ector, of Rick’s Firearms Academy points out:
CPL (Concealed Pistol License)-Holders Carrying Guns in School: In Michigan, it’s going to happen regardless of whether Governor Snyder signs SB-59 or not. You see, a long time ago before our conceal carry license process became “shall issue,” we had a discretionary process. Under that system, each county could hand pick who they wanted to have conceal carry licenses. These “good” folks had an exemption written in law for them to carry in pistol-free zones, such as schools. Well, a funny thing thing happened about 11 years ago. The law was changed such that anybody who met the criteria could get one. The CPL law however designated made places, like schools, to be off-limits while concealed carrying. So, the only other way to carry in a place like a school was to do so openly – if you had a CPL. Long story short: if the governor does not sign the bill, CPL-holders can only carry guns in restricted areas, like schools, if they do so openly. It’s the law. If you don’t like it, call the governor and tell him to sign HB-59. If he does, we will have to get more training and hide them from your eyes so you’ll “feel” safe. True story.
The timing of this bill’s debate is certainly ironic in light of this horrible tragedy, but the fact remains, we must approach this problem from a tactical perspective. There is no place for emotional reaction when it comes to our personal safety or the safety of our children. As my 5th grader showed you, the answer to the problem is NOT to further disarm law-abiding citizens. Nothing about what this mass-murderer did was ‘law abiding’ and it is my understanding he didn’t buy the guns or own them. He stole them (so he didn’t follow that no stealing law). Then he shot their owner (and he didn’t follow that no killing law). Then he proceeded to find targets that were the most vulnerable and ones that would put up no resistance and had no way to defend themselves. This is what criminals do. They prey on the weak and defenseless. They don’t follow laws! So, what makes anyone think he’d have followed gun laws any more than he did the laws against theft and murder? They don’t and they won’t. That’s why they’re called criminals.
Gun laws merely make it more difficult for those who are law-abiding to defend themselves against those who don’t care one bit about following the law. Criminals will ALWAYS find a way to accomplish their crimes, whether it is stealing, killing, raping or obtaining a firearm.