Reader Hawkeye Forge writes:
Recently an opinion piece, ‘If my sister was armed: The reality of guns in schools,’ by Colorado resident Jane Dougherty appeared on the Denver Post’s website. Sadly, Ms. Dougherty cannot complete a paragraph without exposing some form of bias:
This week, the Colorado House is scheduled to consider a bill that will let anyone with a concealed carry permit carry a gun in our state’s public schools. House Bill 1168 would actually force schools to allow guns on their property and in their buildings. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville and his son, Rep. Patrick Neville — big supporters of Colorado’s extremist gun rights organization, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).
Apparently an organization cannot simply be a “pro-gun rights organization” or a “civil rights organization,” it must be an “extremist gun rights organization.” Any gun owner will gladly tell you that guns do not have rights and thus do not need lobbying organizations. It’s the people who own guns who find themselves in need of organizational support, almost always in response to organizations who wish to strip those people of their rights and property.
And it’s mutual; RMGO is a big supporter of the Nevilles. So it should come as no surprise that their answer to the gun violence that has plagued our state is more guns.
I see the word “answer” in that paragraph, but I don’t see a question. However, the paragraph raises a couple: where are the data tables showing this “gun violence that has plagued our state”? And didn’t Colorado recently pass “common sense [ick] gun legislation” that was supposed to wrap everyone in a blanket of safetyness?
According to data taken from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (and complied by disastercenter.com), the total number of violent crimes in 2013 is 700 lower than the number of violent crime in 2011. 700 may not exactly be cause for celebration, but it’s far from the “plague” that Ms. Dougherty decries.
Additionally, Ms. Dougherty seems confused. The proposed legislation would neither manufacture nor import more firearms. It would not force educators (or anyone) to carry firearms. It simply removes the crime of carrying a firearm in a school. Here’s the bill summary:
“With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, and high school grounds. The bill removes this limitation.”
This author believes the Denver Post’s website editor was remiss in not including the text of the bill.
It’s taken right out of the gun lobby’s playbook, along with the popular saying, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The Nevilles believe that putting guns into the hands of good teachers will stop bad guys from committing mass shootings in our schools.
Ms. Dougherty has used a very simple yet very powerful trick of deception here; she has told you a truth immediately followed by a lie. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is absolutely true, which is why almost everyone who experiences a bad guy with a gun calls the police. (Hint: the police don’t bring silly string canisters. They bring firearms.)
The lie that immediately follows is that the Nevilles (or anyone) are attempting to force teachers to carry weapons. That is simply not true. If an educator with a concealed handgun license valid in Colorado wishes to carry a firearm at work for the protection of the students today, the only way to do so is illegally. This bill would change that.
If you ask me, that seems a little over-simplified.
Occam’s Razor definitely applies.
The last thing we need is to force guns into our elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
This misguided idea of arming teachers is the gun lobby’s answer to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and at Columbine High School in Colorado.
I have sat through committee hearings and listened to gun lobby activists avow that my sister Mary, the school psychologist at Sandy Hook, should have been armed. I have heard and read ad nauseam that if Mary had a gun she would have been able to shoot and kill the disturbed young man that blasted his way into her school killing her, 20 children and five other educators.
The entire nation (including the gun community) mourned the loss of your sister as well as the five other adults and the twenty children. I’ll never forget where I was, what I was doing, who was near me, what we were all wearing, and even what the weather was like when I heard. All our hearts broke when we heard the news.
We must, however, set our emotional reactions aside when dealing with legislation. If Connecticut has passed an identical law to the one proposed in Colorado and your sister was anything like you ideologically, then she likely wouldn’t have been armed anyway. If the murderer (whose name does not deserve mention) had followed the same course of action, then your sister might have still perished alongside five other adults and twenty children.
Or, perhaps not. Perhaps one of her colleagues had armed himself or herself in accordance with the law and had confronted the shooter. The tragedy of a school murder would still happen, but could the numbers have been five and nineteen as opposed to six and twenty? I would even prefer six and nineteen.
We even have evidence of something like this happening. In 1997, there was another tragic shooting in Pearl, Mississippi. A student came to school with a stolen AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and shot his girlfriend, then six other students. He had free reign of the school until the Vice Principal retrieved his handgun from the glove box of his car and returned to the school, holding the student at gunpoint until officers arrived. The murderer capitulated at the first sign of armed resistance. There is a pattern in this that ranges from Aurora to the Clackamas Town Mall.
The Vice Principal violated the Federal Gun Free Safe Zone Act just by storing his handgun in his vehicle. Retrieving the firearm took precious time, and during this time the murderer was free to exert his will upon the school and claim six more victims.
If Mississippi had passed an identical law to the one proposed in Colorado, then the response would have measured in seconds instead of minutes. That universally results in lives saved.
There’s another phrase that’s popular with firearms enthusiasts: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”