The details on the Nevada School Shooting yesterday have started to emerge. Unfortunately, the story is all too familiar. A 13-year-old showed up at school with his parent’s gun and opened fire on fellow students wounding two of them. A teacher, Michael Landsberry, who is a former Marine and served two tours in Afghanistan (but who was unarmed) attempted to intervene and was killed for his trouble. The adolescent shooter then turned the gun on himself. Unfortunately for the gun control community, this event lacked some of their favorite elements; no “assault weapon”, no children killed (yet, other than the shooter who saved the state some tax dollars by dousing his own lights) and it remains to be seen whether or not a “large capacity clip” was used . . .
The murderer (yes, let’s use the proper word here) was described as a nice, shy kid and everyone was surprised he did this. “He may have been bullied,” the conventional wisdom suggests – possibly by the the people he shot. This is neither justification nor a proper excuse. Like most kids at one point or another, when I was growing up, I got bullied once and a while. Our options for dealing with them were decidedly more pedestrian. We either fought them the old fashioned way or got our asses kicked, but no one was running around killing people. But I digress.
This sad circumstance will result in the usual actors reading from their rote scripts on how to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The real tragedy is that this sort of thing is totally preventable. The fact that this kid got his hands on a gun from his own home is simply unconscionable. Now, I know that there are plenty of 13 year olds who would never do this. We even have the occasional story of the teenager who shoots the home invader and saves his siblings. The fact is though that those types of kids are the exceptions not the rule. Teenagers as a group and male teenagers in particular are not renown for their judgement. There is a reason why auto insurance rates for 16-23 year old males are higher than for any other group and its not just because they are new drivers.
Seriously folks – what’s it going to take before we all learn to lock our damn guns up? The murderers in both this recent shooting and last year’s Newton massacre used their parent’s guns to commit their crimes. In the case of Newton, the murderer was almost 21 years old, but his mother knew he had psychological problems so she should have used better judgement keeping her guns secure. If you have the money to buy a gun, then you have the money to buy a safe to keep the gun in.
I’m not talking about one of those stupid lock boxes they sell at gun stores or one of those mini-safes the office supply stores sell. Those can be easily broken in to. My guns are stored in a real 500 lb safe that no teenager is going to crack in a hurry. If you must keep a gun handy by the bedside, then make the extra effort and put your gun in one of those quickie gun safes each night before bed, then move it back to secure storage in the morning. Yes, I know it’s a pain in the ass, but trust me, it’s a lot less trouble than it will be if your offspring (or one of his friends) gets a hold of your gun and kills someone with it.
The simple fact is that if we as gun owners can’t be responsible on our own, the state is going to legislate it for us. This is why some states have secure storage laws and others are looking at mandating firearm owner liability insurance. If the People of the Gun did a better job self-policing, we wouldn’t have the government butting in.
One of the arguments we sometimes use is that if kids don’t have access to guns, then they’ll use another method (ex: Tim McVeigh). Okay, fine, let them do that. I’d rather they not kill or hurt anyone, but if they are going to do it, then stop letting them do it with guns. These ass clowns and their careless parents are going to cost everyone their rights. If this keeps happening, we WILL see restrictions on all of us to prevent the stupid ones from being stupid. Which is impossible because you can’t fix (or legislate) stupid.
So, besides locking up the damn guns, what else have we learned (again, still)? Well, we have still more evidence that even a trained marine with combat experience without a gun is no match for an untrained 13 year old with one. If a highly trained, but unarmed marine can’t handle a kid with a pistol, what chance will some teacher with a weekend “negotiating skills” class have? The right way to have handled this problem would have been for someone with a gun to have put this mad dog down the minute he started shooting. We need to establish a precedent that pulling a gun out in proximity to our children is going to get you a dirt nap. I really don’t care what “issues” the murderer has. Pull a gun, start shooting, and you get dead. Fast. Zero f=ing tolerance.
The really sad thing here is that this is going to keep happening. And we have no one but ourselves to blame. Psycho murderers like this are not the “typical” criminal. They are not using black market guns bought on the street, they are not stealing guns from people they don’t know. They are using improperly secured guns from their own homes or those of their friends. This is generally the road map many of these sorts of things follow. Granted, Columbine was different, but it was different in a lot of ways and the handwriting was clearly on the wall long before it happened. As gun owners, we can all take a few simple steps to make it more difficult for kids to get their hands on our guns.
So, the two lessons here:
1. If we don’t take steps to keep guns out of the hands of our kids, then others will take steps to keep guns out of everyone’s hands.
2. We need people with guns protecting our kids. I don’t care how we do it, but unarmed protectors are nothing more than noisy, moving targets.