The fallacy of Gun Free Zones

Whenever news breaks about the latest mass shooting there are certain aspects of the crime that you could guess based on the mass shootings that came before it.  More than likely the tragedy took place in a location that prohibits common citizens from carrying a self-defense firearm.  The prohibition is either a result of a state or federal law (schools, The Navy Yard or The Columbia Maryland Mall) or it is the policy of a private business (Aurora movie theater).  The idea that posting a sign that says “No Guns Allowed” will stop violent criminals hell-bent on mass destruction is simply incomprehensible to me.  That would be like removing your home’s doors and windows and putting up a “No Burglars Welcome” sign.  Would you be surprised if someone took all of your things while you were at work?  If criminals knowingly disregard the laws against murder, what makes any rational person assume they will follow the law that prohibits them from bringing their means to commit the murder inside?

Another reasonable assumption one can make is how the rampage ended. It’s a fair bet that some good guys showed up with guns and either killed the killer or he killed himself.  Seems to me that someone already figured out that the best way to stop a madman with a gun is to shoot him with a gun.  Or at least present the possibility that he’ll be shot and let him do it himself.  Oh, but you hear the cries, “The police are trained!  They know what to do!  Innocent people will be killed by an untrained concealed carry permit holder.”  I don’t know about you, but it seems to me 32 innocent people were killed anyway at Virginia Tech.  12 were killed in the movie theater in Colorado.  If a citizen with a gun would have accidentally killed 10 percent of those people while shooting at the bad guy, there would be 39 people still alive today.  I’ll take those odds.  The idea that people would choose to cower in fear and wait to put down like a dog rather than take a chance (a dangerous chance, yes) is beyond me.  Did you ever see the videos of a family dog ferociously barking at a bear that has entered his back yard.  Everyone knows the dog has no real chance in that fight, but his instincts will not let him be afraid.  He does everything he can to protect himself, his territory and his masters.  The difference between the dog and a CCP holder is that the good guy with the gun is on equal footing as the bad guy with the gun.  With instincts equal to the dog and firepower equal to the bear, the good guy and all the people who happen to be near him may just go home that night while the bad guy takes a ride in an ambulance wrapped in black plastic bag.

The last conclusion you can probably make when the story breaks is that the person doing the shooting wasn’t of sound mind.  In the recent past many of the shooters showed plenty of warning signs.  Many were on drugs from their youth to curb their mental problems.  Many were seeing mental health professionals.  Some lost themselves in a false sense of reality in the way of highly violent video games.  Now mental health is by no means my field of expertise nor do I propose any solutions to how to prevent these lunatics from getting their hands on guns.  But I will surmise if it’s not guns it will be something else.  Take the case of Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds.  His soon was turned away from an in-patient mental health facility and he went home and attacked his dad.  He didn’t shoot him, he stabbed him.  Or more recently, two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin decided to kill their friend.  Presumably they didn’t know how to use or couldn’t get a gun, so that stabbed her 19 times.  The Ted Kaczynski killed three people and wounded 23 more by sending bombs through the mail.  Whether a gun is available or not, crazy people are bound to do crazy things.  They key point is that when crazy or evil people kill with guns, it’s the person who is crazy or evil, not the gun.  A perfectly sane, loving person using a gun for self-defense or in the defense of others didn’t use a sane or loving gun.  It is still the same gun.  The only difference is the person who used it and the purpose for which it was used.

I heard a hypothetical question asked once in attempt to drive home a point.  It goes something like this, “If I laid a loaded gun on the table and left it there would you pick it up and shoot me?  Then why do you assume I will?”  It makes you wonder, do the people who don’t trust me with a gun really not trust themselves?  Are they projecting their lack of self-control onto me?  I personally have great confidence in my level of self-control and would assert that the great majority of people who have taken on the responsibility to keep a fire arm at home or carry one in public have evaluated their level of self-control and feel comfortable with it as well.

In closing, perhaps the best way to put and end to the senseless killing in America is to remove the ridiculous “Gun Free Zone” signs and arm the good guys.  Just like a bad guy is inherently bad, a good guy is inherently good.  A good guy with a gun in no more dangerous than a good guy without a gun.  Ronald Reagan dealt with the evil Soviet Union on the bedrock of “peace through strength”.  It’s high time we deal with rampaging lunatics in similar fashion.