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Ryan O'Meara (courtesy

Writing for The Harvard Crimson, Ryan O’Meara slams presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proclamation that an armed populace could have positively affected the outcome in Paris last week. “While preventing any tragedy is obviously important” O’Meara concedes, “gun control is about stopping criminals and the mentally ill from getting a gun in the first place . . . The attacks in Paris are what happens when trained soldiers from a terror state sets their sights on death and destruction.” Hang on. Gun control can stop criminals and crazies from tooling-up but not terrorists? Equally, if someone’s trying to kill you . . .

does their motivation matter?

While we’re at it, is a gun any less useful against a spree killer than a “proper” terrorist? I suppose that depends on how many bad guys are involved and what weapons they’re using. As we pointed out in a previous post, having a gun during a terrorist attack is way better than not having a gun, no matter what the odds.

That’s not a view Mr. O’Meara shares. The aspiring economist would leave Parisians unarmed against terrorists – for their own good.

As Paris has so tragically shown us, gun control cannot stop an act of terror. This tragedy is a perfect example of the unfortunate reality that no matter how diligently a country works to keep its citizens safe from senseless gun violence, a terrorist organization has the potential to make it all look insignificant in an instant. But if Trump wants to talk gun control, we must speak honestly. In France, the gun death rate per 100,000 people was 2.83 in 2012; in the United States, it was 10.69. One horrific ISIS attack does not undo years of successful gun control during which the death rate from guns was nearly four times lower in France than in the United States.

Pay no attention to the jihadi behind that curtain! Even if there was no garden variety “gun violence” in France, if all a Frenchmen ever faced was the remote possibility of a terrorist attack, don’t they have a natural right to arm themselves in their own defense? Apparently not.

One attack does not mean that a theater full of disoriented and terrified concertgoers should be expected to wield pistols in order to defend themselves against terrorist soldiers armed with AK-47s and suicide belts. It is astounding that Trump could possibly think that a theater full of armed vigilantes would have been able to prevent such a coordinated attack. More guns are not the answer, but gun control should not even be the question.

I have a question: what’s up with the condescension? O’Meara clearly doesn’t believe “disoriented and terrified concertgoers” have the right to make up their own minds whether or not they should carry and use a firearm (or two) to defend their lives. We can’t “expect” them to fight terrorists! That would be unfair!

Notice that O’Meara keeps talking about “preventing” terrorist attacks. In the main, that is the state’s responsibility. The real issue is responding to terrorist attacks. Again, for that job, civilian-held guns are good thing, not a bad thing. Évidemment.

Asking the French to become more violent versions of themselves is a victory for the terrorists seeking to create a more barbaric world. While we must not respond by arming Parisians, there is certainly a role for military intervention to fight ISIS. But on an individual basis, we must start not with guns, but with peace. The day after the shooting, an unknown pianist took his instrument to the Bataclan theater and played a chilling rendition of John Lennon’s pacifist anthem “Imagine.” How fitting that music was used as a defiant symbol of peace in front of a concert hall where terrorists attempted to destroy the spirit of a nation. We now have the opportunity to show just how badly they failed.

O’Meara’s assertion that terrorists win if their potential victims arm-up to defend themselves isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever reado But it’s certainly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. The obverse – that terrorists lose if civilians remain disarmed – is borderline insane. Anyone who holds that position, while also believing that a public rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine would give radical Islamic terrorists pause, is dangerously deluded.

O’Meara’s not the first student strolling through Harvard’s gun-free quad who answers to that description. Sadly, he won’t be the last.

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  1. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should not hire Ivy League graduates.

    They’re just stupid as a box of hair. And twice as useless.

      • Alright, I’ll give you a pass, even though I still see complete moron engineers coming out of the “more prestigious” schools, some people just know how to get through school without actually learning anything.

        Let’s put a qualifier on the 90%, that they are from an IL school AND have a BA/MA, not a BS/MS.

    • I always avoided hiring them. I had the misfortune of working for a Harvard MBA once. It was like dealing with a vegan-five minutes after meeting him he managed to work that fact into the conversation. Always.

      • Ryan P. O’Meara needs to plan on being very disappointed with the rest of his life after getting his LibSoc “education” (indoctrination) from ‘Haaavard’:

        Can You Have Too Much Education?
        Russell HR Consulting

        The received wisdom is that you can never have too much education, but is that always true? I’m not so sure. Education should at the very least provide students with the skills and information they need for their working and wider life. Ideally, education will also help students to develop a questioning outlook that encourages them to keep learning and developing long after they have finished their last exam.

        The poet W B Yeats said: Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire. Great words that resonate with me, but all too often it seems that the fire is not lit, nor is the bucket filled. In 2013 McKinsey researched the careers of recent US graduates and published the following figures.

        48% of employed graduates are in jobs that don’t need a four-year degree.
        42% of visual and performing arts students said college didn’t prepare them for employment.
        The average 2013 college graduates owe $35,200 in debt (and will probably be paying it off in a job they dislike).
        Six times as many graduates are working in retail or hospitality as had originally planned –because it’s the only work they could find.
        284,000 of college graduates will be working minimum wage jobs – like flipping burgers.
        75% of people say they aren’t living up to their creative potential.
        70-80% of workers are actively disengaged and don’t enjoy the work they do.

        While the research was carried out in the US, the findings echo the experiences of UK graduates.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that while developing a thirst for knowledge is generally heathy, that for some – perhaps many- students, getting a formal higher education qualification has no value. That may be in part because the market for that particular skill area is over-subscribed (just how many media graduates do you think the UK wants and needs?), but in part there are too many graduates who aren’t intellectually capable. In consequence the courses are dumbed down to accommodate them.

        Diluting complex technical training to accommodate weak students is pointless and has a predictable negative knock on effect in the workplace. Economic historian Dr Richard Vedder says: “The number going to college exceeds the number capable of mastering higher levels of intellectual inquiry. This leads colleges to alter their mission, watering down the intellectual content of what they do.”

        Research suggests that only a fairly limited number of students have the cognitive skills, work ethic and motivation to be able to achieve higher education. Well-educated people should be able to demonstrate rigorous analytical thinking in a sustained basis. It’s very clear to UK employers that the number of graduates fitting that description is severely limited.

        Instead Dr Vedder and others report that education is not stretching, exercising and refining our undergraduates. Writer Charles Murray found that in the first two years of their degree, 45% of a group of students surveyed showed no significant improvement in a range of skills, including critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing.

        It may also be because education bores the pants off many students while feeding their entirely incorrect view that having a degree makes them more employable (how I wish I was wrong about that last statement). A degree per se doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to me.

        Students don’t have to have a university education to succeed in working life. In our Build and Fly Your Own Rocket programme for schools, I always recommend that if they’re going to spend time at university do something that they enjoy and have the intellectual capacity to do, but also that has good transferable value. Even in good times, very few artists make any sort of living. In bad times it’s impossible. In other words, don’t follow your star if it puts you in serious debt and there is no prospect of ever being able to earn a living.

        The really important things for today’s students to grasp is that by the time they are ready to enter the workplace they have achieved a good basic educational standard and be prepared to learn, read, ask and keep questioning. That’s what employers want and any student who can really demonstrate he or she has achieved it will be snapped up.

        • Concentrating on a single narrow discipline, to the exclusion of a general education, can be a problem. Unfortunately, many PhDs mistakenly believe their mastery of that one thing confers expertise on everything else.

  2. Willful ignorance of truth and fact ?
    Blatant dishonesty to advance a cause ?

    It’s so difficult to tell sometimes.

    • That level of mental yoga implies commitment to”the cause” true believers are always ready to spill some blood ( preferably someone else’s) then they can wave the bloody shirt.

    • More like an obtuseness resulting from the inability to apply critical thought that contradicts his intensely held ideal to be nice to one another and categorically reject violence of all kinds.

      Here’s a mind-bender for him: sometimes, under very special circumstances like, say, finding yourself in the presence of someone who categorically rejects your peace-love-and-understanding idealism and, against all reason, is slaughtering or torturing innocents, shooting that person in the face is an act of love not incompatible with the categorical rejection of violence.

  3. Listening to the text of Lennon’s “Imagine” can cause severe depression and suicidal thoughts – everybody the same, so challenges, no failures, nothing bright, nothing dark, no desires, no rewards – I believe that Mao had attempted that earlier, to a tune of some 100 million deaths.

    • 6 Ways Too Much Education, Knowledge And Information Can Hurt You

      1. The Curse Of Trying To Figure It All Out Before Getting Started
      2. Thinking All Education Has To Be Formal
      3. Overanalyzing The Wrong Things
      4. Knowledge Makes The Stakes Higher
      5. Knowledge Of News And Current Events Creates Anxiety
      6. Comparison To Others Becomes Easier

      “So information, knowledge and education are powerful and great to have, but they can also make you too smart for your own good. Sometimes, it’s best to just get out of your own way.”

  4. Umm, did O’Meara just suggest that the intended victims of terrorist violence should take their impending executions like a man? That peaceful nonresistance will disarm the attackers? But if the victims tool up, then they will kill the spirit of the nation?
    Yes, yes I think I did.

    He is also saying that it is fine for the police and the military to have guns, but not he populace, not realizing that though the State attempts to protect its citizens, it has no duty to any individual citizen to do so.

    And how, young man, will gun control, which is intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally deranged, have stopped these terrorists who bought fully automatic weapons on the black market (i.e. illegally) and whipped up homemade explosives and suicide belts? Do yo not know that France already has some of the strictest gun control laws in Europe? And that those laws did nothing to prevent this attack?

    I hope that Harvard teaches him the critical thinking skills he so clearly lacks.

    • “After a shooting spree, they (gun control-pushing LibSoc Democrats) always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
      –William S. Burroughs; Grand Street, no. 37 & The War Universe (1992)

  5. Whats killing me in all these multitudinous articles is how well trained these ISIS murderers are made out to be. These aren’t delta special ops types or even nasty guardsmen, nor are these organized commando raids. It’s a bunch of usually opium laden thugs with guns and bombs on a suicide raid. It takes all the organizational skill of going to the mall. I’m also pretty sure that some one who agrees that “kill as many as you can before your Die or when you blow yourself up” isn’t ranking real high on the intellectual totem pole.

  6. So gun control is about preventing criminals from getting guns, but you can’t really stop terrorists from getting guns because they are criminals hell bent on destruction.

    Do any of these people ever stop and actually read what they write?

  7. He thinks that suggesting the French arm themselves is a victory for the jihadis? I am imaging the confused look on a jihadis face as he reads that.

  8. 9/10 jihadists agree easy to kill infadels are the best kind!

    Prevention is great but all the prevention in the world doesn’t spare one absolutely.

  9. Well my Ivy League educated friend, let me school you a little on force protection and anti terrorism, you know from the University of Real World.

    At the heart of it, there are four phases to defense against this threat? And the bottom line is as the defender you unfortunately have to be successful 100% of the time, they only have to be successful of even lucky once.

    Phase one is deterrence. You have to present the image of a hard target. Prepared, trained, equipped and mentally ready to defend. Using the tools available to detect and deter. Even if you aren’t, the bad guy must think you are.

    Phase two is the actual defense. If you can’t convince him not to attack, or he’s determined, you enter the defense phase where you do you’re best to repulse the attack.

    Phase three is mitigation, because sometimes you can’t stop them or hold the line. You prioritize the immediate defense of the critical areas and control damage.

    And lastly you reset, rearm and repair as soon as you get the chance.

    So what does it have to do with gun control… Everything. Haji doesn’t want a target that might shoot back. He doesn’t want to go where someone might drill him as soon as he lets loose his first Allah Achbar. He want to go where a bunch of terrified liberals are peeing themselves and begging for mercy.

    In each of those four phases an armed populace is an advantage.

    • You forgot phase zero: stop committing mass murder all over the world and pissing people off.

      Even Tony Blair admitted ISIS was the direct result of the Iraq invasion. No amount of “kinetic action” will change that fact.

        • >implying Obama isn’t Bush v2.0

          I do find it amusing that some GOP’ers are saying Obama needs to kill even *more* people with drones even though Obama has vastly expanded the drone assassination program.

        • Drones, manned aircraft, artillery, MLRS, naval gunfire, small arms, sharp sticks…whatever it takes to arrange their meeting with Allah. I’m okay with it.

          Pedophile Barney’s trolling doesn’t bother me. Pretty much amatuer hour as far as trolls go.

        • Well, let’s just call it a mulligan then.

          Oh, we don’t get to do that? Ah, well, let’s see… So we screwed up in the past and this hive of enemies hell bent on killing us and anyone allied with us claimed some territory in the Middle East. What to do… I guess we could just hang our heads in shame because it was our mistakes that put us in this situation, and roll over and wait for them to kill us. That is one option. Or we could solve the situation as it exists, and try to figure out how to keep the psycho death-cult fanatics from killing too many of us.

        • For one, the US government should stop doubling down on their failed play to oust Assad. ISIS was not formed because of gun control, it was formed by insane American militarism.

          And besides, the mortal threat to American liberty is from the US government, not a bunch of kooks in the Syrian desert.

        • Pedophilo-soreass…You need a history lesson son. The roots of this conflict started well before US involvement in the late 20th Century.

          But nice try. I’ll give you a C+ for trolling effort. Now run along to your little SJW safe place echo chamber….

          • Before you make such accusations, do take a look at any of the ISIS photos where they are posing next to any military vehicle or heavy equipment and you may notice that each one of those was made in the USA. Should make you wonder, shouldn’t it?

        • You sound mad. Stop moving the goalposts, ISIS is the topic at hand.

          In any case, the US government hasn’t exactly been trustworthy or honorable in its regional dealings even before ISIS. But no doubt you just forgot about all of those sorry episodes too. 🙂

      • ISIS Wahabists were created long before by the Saudis. Look to Kim Philby’s progenitor for that when he assisted in the king making. The just resurged in the vacuum created by the withdrawal.

        • Don’t be mad that your militarist/drug-war garbage is getting criticized. You supposedly defended free speech when you murdered for politicians, now act like it.

          • “Free speech” doesn’t confer immunity from criticism or rejoinders, just from governmental interference. Chris T from KY enjoys the same right to comment as you.

        • >that’s the joke

          He is certainly free to talk about his sexual fantasies on this board, after not defending free speech by murdering people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • You are 100% wrong on that, dangerously so. The jihadists don’t hate us because of what we do, they hate us because of what we are. We are infidels. They will kill us and keep on killing us until every man, woman and child on the planet submits to Islam.

        • Ever wonder how radical islamism became so popular in the last two decades, as opposed to the vanishingly small fringe movement that it was after WW2?

          Oh right, because of the vile crimes of western governments and their totalitarian puppets in the region.

          • What “crimes” did the French government commit again? The terrorists WERE French, for crying out loud!!! They didn’t commit those atrocities because the US deposed Saddam Hussein. They did it because they believe that infidels must necessarily be put to death. That’s it.

        • You really should read about France and its sorry and criminal attempts at colonialism in Africa.

          >The terrorists WERE French, for crying out loud

          Implying nationality means anything at all.

  10. So instead of killing terrorists we should just sing them John Lennon songs. Got it.

  11. Just another example of the pussification of the American male. He’s even wearing a pink shirt! Grow a set junior. A future woman’s studies professor if there ever was one.

  12. Let me paraphrase: “Shooting back would have caused more carnage”.

    Tell that to the pregnant chick hanging 2 stories up outside the club. A nice guy finally pulled her back in. Hope she made it.

    Yes, there is video. Worldstar, Liveleak, youtube has it.

    Those who want to disarm you, are arguing for it because they want to do bad things to you. End. Full stop.

    Feel free to quote me endlessly on this, TTAG folks…. “The cheetah would argue that gazelles don’t need 4 legs to live. Just 3.”

    • Shooting back would have caused more carnage…maybe, maybe not…that’s a pretty much a SWAG. More likely it would have confused the attackers and drawn thier attention from killing civs to where the shots were coming from…

      But, just because you are armed doesn’t mean you have to run to the fire or maybe even should, but it does give you a chance at defense for you and those around you you don’t have unarmed.

      • Be careful with comments like this in these parts…someone may start calling you “Rambo” or insinuating that you’ll only make matters worse. It’s happened.

        • Not insinuating anything really. Anybody’s guess how it would turn out. I think you could play it out a number of different ways, depending on a number of different variables. Anti’s will always go for worst case. I think history has proven that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict the outcome of these kind of events.

  13. Ryan O’Mera, when (not if) the terrorists strike America, again, and you and I happen to be there, I volunteer you to be cannon fodder for them while I circle their flank and light them up. Think of your sacrifice as a heroic gesture. It’ll go down better for you.

    • There will be a marker for him at the tomb of the micro-aggressive, over-privileged social justice warrior.

  14. Can someone please remind me: those terrorists who were detained or otherwise stopped: how was it, exactly, that they were stopped?

    Oh, that’s right: good guys with guns.

    • ███████████████████████████████████████

  15. I’ll agree to never mention the Paris attack in an argument against gun control if the anti-constitutionalists all agree never to mention it in an argument for gun control.

    Go ahead, I’ll wait.

  16. There’s that word again. Guns are “barbaric”. It’s not about saving people, defending yourself, or making people safer. It’s just that guns are “barbaric” and detract from the vision of utopia.

    Society will have a shot at not being “barbaric” when groups like ISIS are eradicated. And that’s not going to be done through “song”.

    I know people who, up until now, called ISIS a “paper tiger”, of course waxing on that the real problem is the US military.

    They’re oddly quiet now after Friday. But some people cling hard to their idealism..

  17. Notice his use of statistics: He mentions total gun deaths in the U.S.. But he does not parse out suicides, accidental deaths, homicides and murders. What he is doing is using the one statistic that makes the total deaths the highest. As suicides are typically about 60% or more of all gun related deaths that cuts the number down considerably. As his discussion has little to do with suicides and the fact that there are many other ways to kill yourself if a gun is not available that figure needs to come out of the total. But he leaves it in to support his argument. Homicide is not always bad, as in if a bad guy is killed in an act of self defense. That is not murder so he uses the homicide number, which is always higher than the number of murders to inflate the total numbers also. Murder is a subset of homicides so the homicide number will always be higher. Which is why the anti-gun crowd almost always uses that figure instead of the murder statistic. Numbers don’t lie but there are many ways that liars can manipulate numbers to fit their agenda.

  18. ” In France, the gun death rate per 100,000 people was 2.83 in 2012; in the United States, it was 10.69. ”

    What is the source for the numbers Ryan O’Meara is using? His numbers do not pass the smell test for the US based on Dean Weingarten article yesterday, FBI Crime statisitcs, or CDC statistics for causes of death.

    83% of all stastics on the internet are made up on the spot. /sarc

  19. >when trained soldiers from a terror state sets their sights on death and destruction

    Is he talking about the US government invasion of Iraq?

  20. Be happy, Harvard Man. Every single person who was shot responded peacefully to the attack: they died, they got wounded, or they ran. Nobody had to enact any harmful violence while they were being made helpless victims.

    And didn’t the U.S. send James Taylor after the Hebdo killings to sing “You’ve got a Friend”? I guess Taylor is no Lennon.

  21. I find it interesting that O’Meara uses the phase “a theater full of armed vigilantes” in reference to innocent people being murdered. He feels compelled to vilify those who would prefer to fight back than be shot down like the proverbial “fish in a barrel”. He wants to make the reader infer it is somehow wrong to resist being murdered. This guy is bent beyond belief!

    • I noticed that, as well.

      You’re a lesser person for not laying down like a dog and accepting your own death.

  22. Proving yet again, useful idiots believe unarmed victims to be far nobler than armed survivors.

    Ryan “Caitlynn” O’Merde would be perfect to chair the interfaith welcoming committee when ISIS victors parade their armed Toyotas into Cambridge, without having fired a round.

  23. He is an imbecile and idiot for saying that the terrorists failed because some pianist played Imagine in the scene of a horrific encounter. They did not fail. They killed 130 people (about 7 dozen in the theater alone). That is not failure; that is a lot of dead innocent people. Those victims were someone’s daughter, son, mom, dad, brother and sister. For those people that lost someone their world is shattered – forever.

    Whenever this type of thing occurs, I hate it when people say “Paris will become a stronger city because of this massacre”. Or, insert UCC, or Aurora, or Columbine, or Va Tech, or Sandy Hook. Those people will NOT be stronger. They have lost loved ones. It’s easy for the people that haven’t lost someone to the lunatics to say their community will be stronger, because they are detached from the real horror of having just lost their loved one.

    AND, to say that a theater full of good guys with guns could not have done anything to thwart the attacks is asinine. Imagine if every 3rd person carried a firearm for self defense in that theater. That would be way more firepower than a few guys with AK-47s could muster, simply due to the sheer number of people that would be fighting back. And it wouldn’t be hard to distinguish between the enemy (the lunatics with the AKs), and a good guy (someone carrying a pistol or revolver). Sure, some people would still have died, but not 90 in that theater.

  24. I’m a little confused… did the terrorists have guns or not?

    Asking the French to become more violent versions of themselves is a victory for the terrorists seeking to create a more barbaric world.

    Defending yourself is barbaric people! Barbaric. Be more evolved! Just sit there take it and die.

    I also noticed he implied guns “cause” violence. It’s settled. He is insane.

  25. The man’s agenda is to outlaw guns because it is a necessary step for centrist control. After guns it’s water and medical treatment. He doesn’t care about who gets killed because their lives don’t matter. Your life doesn’t matter. My life doesn’t matter. The state of control matters.
    God is the state. The state is god.

  26. “….Theatre full of armed vigilantes…”

    How is defending yourself from certain death “vigilantism?”

  27. Weenie. I’ll leave it at that. Hey- where’s Grindstone wagging his finger at all us evil “fascists”?

  28. He sure tells us how we ought to live our lives the right way (his way), that we should all be proud to believe that for peace, it is ok to forgo having the ability to defend ourselves. Why is it that people like this think that peace is possible in a world where aggressors exsist without a personal means of defense blows my mind. I doubt he has ever been in a situation remotely like the one he is pontificating on….I know! He could get an expert opinion from one of the victims to back up his argument. Oh, wait! They are dead, having been denied the tools to try to survive. Maybe they would not have made it, but there is no way to know, although I bet that if 1/10th of the crowd had been armed, the toll could have been much less. 150 people with .380s vs 3 AKs? My money would be on the crowd. Oh well, wave the bloody shirt. At least it makes headlines.

  29. Why doesn’t he just come right out and say what he plainly meant, that it’s immoral to do anything other than scream and die?

  30. The Harvard Crimson! OMG, there is no more authoratative publication on the planet!

    What could these children possibly know about the real world?

  31. If this guy and his ilk want to curl into a ball and wait to be summarily executed, then let them die on their knees. I, for one, and I KNOW I’m not alone, would rather stand and fight then be slaughtered like so many sheep.

  32. “O’Meara’s assertion that terrorists win if their potential victims arm-up to defend themselves isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever reado But it’s certainly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read.”

    But it’s a common belief among people who, for various reasons, can’t bring themselves to believe in the right of self defense. This is also a belief that is not in any way recent. The monks on Lindisfarne, for example, steadfastly refused to arm themselves and fortify their island when the Viking raids began in the year 793. It’s the stuff of speculative fiction but I’ve often wondered how different history might have been been had the Knights Templar order been on Lindisfarne instead of Irish monks from Iona when the Vikings first came ashore. Running into a bunch of armored, warrior monks would have been quite a surprise, I think.

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