More on the Horrors in Connecticut


Amplifying on this post from last week, I wrote a longer piece for PJ Media, which was posted yesterday. A sample:

I am neither a member of the National Rifle Association nor an avid shooter. But I have carried a gun as a tool of my trade for more than 30 years, and have come to appreciate the advantages of being armed in those moments when a deadly threat presents itself. That said, I am not among those who would place a weapon in the hand of every teacher. For one thing, not every teacher is qualified to handle one. There is no shame in this. Using a firearm for self-defense requires a certain mindset and level of proficiency that few teachers — indeed few people in most professions — possess. (Though I suspect the number of teachers hoping to achieve that mindset and level of proficiency has just increased.)

But the mere possibility that one or two staff members at a school might be armed may offer just enough deterrence to inspire second thoughts in any but the most determined assailants. And if such a determined assailant proceeds with an attack, is it beyond the pale to hope for intervention by an armed teacher? Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) appeared on Fox News Sunday on December 16, and he was widely derided (here, for example) for expressing the wish that the principal at Sandy Hook, who died in the attack, had “an M-4 [rifle] locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.”

For those who find that absurd, a question: is that scenario not preferable to what actually occurred?

It’s appalling to see so many people seeking to cloak themselves with cheap grace for having “done something” in response to the Newtown massacre regardless of how ineffectual the “something” might prove to be. 

There’s been a lively exchange of comments to the piece, but I’m always keen to hear from my friends in the Ricochet community. Read the whole thing here.

There are 18 comments.

  1. Inactive

    I agree with everything you wrote in that article. The Soledad O’Brien video is a clear example of the liberal mindset: O’Brien’s emotions against Lott’s thoroughly researched facts. It’s really bad.

    • #1
    • December 28, 2012 at 4:13 am
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  2. Contributor

    Excellent piece, Jack. I’m still waiting for someone on the left to stop name-calling long enough to explain the virtues of defenselessness.

    • #2
    • December 28, 2012 at 5:17 am
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  3. Inactive

    Jack: a sober article and right on as far as the coastal media disconnect with reality.

    Ms. O’Brien was honest: she doesn’t understand; she really can’t wrap her mind around the argument. In a more self-reflective person, that moment of confusion might give them pause and occasion to reconsider both positions. But I hold out no such hope for the denizens of anchor-desks around the country–their isolation and self-righteous mythology (Arbiters of Truth, Bringers of Light: just watch The Newsroom) is worse even than academe’s.

    I admit, LaPierre could have more effectively tempered his call for an armed person in school zones during his initial press conference by noting that: everybody recognizes the danger of militarizing school zones with armed guards everywhere, or metal detectors and TSA-style pat downs; nobody wants to see too-big-for-their-britches administrators roaming the halls with shotguns strapped to their backs and Desert Eagles prominently displayed on their hips.

    But, regardless, the numerous other appearances by NRA staff in the media has addressed this issue with the proper tone and seriousness–even in the face of incredulous and often belligerent questioning from reporters. 

    • #3
    • December 28, 2012 at 7:02 am
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  4. Contributor

    Now that I think about it, using the logic of the left, the presence of armed Secret Service agents only increases the likelihood of assassination attempts, right? The left would disagree of course, but on what grounds? If it is noble and right for a law abiding citizen to be defenseless, why wouldn’t it be equally noble for politicians? The left knows the answer to these questions, which is why they would rather engage in ad hominem attacks than explain the ramifications of their prescriptions, which do little more than rob the individual of his liberty and independence from centralized authority.

    • #4
    • December 28, 2012 at 7:42 am
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  5. Member

    What we have seen in the wake of the wake of this recent tragedy is something I call “vicarious terrorism.” A terrorist creates a tragedy to further his political ends. A vicarious terrorist waits for someone else to create a tragedy, and uses that to further his political ends. (Never let a good tragedy go to waste.)

    The ideologues who flooded the news channels before the bodies were even cold, yapping up their preconceived ideas about gun control, did not even bother to find out whether their ideas would have done anything to prevent what happened. There were, for example, no military assault weapons involved in this attack. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been an attack by a gunman on American soil using an AK-47 or any other military assault weapon. Yet, there they are – dozens of ignorant pundits and politicians, yapping about banning “assault weapons.”

    • #5
    • December 28, 2012 at 7:43 am
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  6. Member

    Two sentences from your piece perfectly encapsulate the gun prohibitionists’ irrational position. The fact they refuse to grasp:

    There are limits on what the law and government agencies can do to protect the public.

    And the very essence of their “thinking:”

    Everything else is wishful thinking.

    Thanks for writing such a cogent response to the (non)-conversation.

    • #6
    • December 28, 2012 at 8:01 am
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  7. Moderator

    @Larry – you’re not right on the usage of the AK or its semi variants, or the use of similar weapons in crime on American soil. They are rarely used (handguns are far more likely to be used), but are not unused.

    See Here for example. This, known as the “North Hollywood Shootout”, the thugs used semi-auto AK’s and AR’s which had been illegally modified to full auto configurations. This incident led to California’s own draconian “assault weapons” ban, but the thugs had real body armor, against which the police pistols were ineffective.

    These were already felons and could not legally buy guns and this happened during the Clinton AWB.

    There have been other encounters like this, but these represent “worst case scenarios” and have usually come about due to the first responders being under-armed at the start of the encounter relative to the thugs.

    This goes back to Ixian’s remark earlier about a real terrorist attack beign a potential massacre. Police officers are not in the habit of carrying rifles, but any armed resistance will buy time for heavier firepower to arrive.

    Forcibly disarming us all won’t stop the real bad guys.

    • #7
    • December 28, 2012 at 8:18 am
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  8. Member


    I take your point, but I would distinguish between bank robbers who wind up in a shootout with police, and the kind of crazed, suicidal killers who walk into a school or a McDonald’s and start massacring innocents. The gun-ban people don’t talk about preventing bank robberies as their goal, because even the useful fools of the left wouldn’t buy anything that ridiculous.

    • #8
    • December 28, 2012 at 8:57 am
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  9. Moderator
    Larry3435: @skipsul,

    I take your point, but I would distinguish between bank robbers who wind up in a shootout with police, and the kind of crazed, suicidal killers who walk into a school or a McDonald’s and start massacring innocents. The gun-ban people don’t talk about preventing bank robberies as their goal, because even the useful fools of the left wouldn’t buy anythingthatridiculous.

    Ah, but in this case they did use it. And it led to gun confiscations too as CA left the definition of prohibited weapons to the discretion of the Attorney General of the state.

    Remember, their end goal is total disarmament, they will use any excuse. Why else push for another AWB if most gun crimes are comitted with handonguns, not “Assault Weapons”?

    We should always argue from knowledge of the facts. Know your crimes, know your stats, and you won’t get a Candy Crowley moment in an argument.

    Bring up the shootouts before they can, you take the wind out of their sails, especially if you know more about it than they do and and cite why things played out, or how they could have gone differently.

    • #9
    • December 28, 2012 at 9:10 am
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  10. Member

    This seems to be yet another case of the perfect being the enemy of the good. In order to pursue a world of perfect gun-free peace, they act against a better world where fewer die.

    • #10
    • December 28, 2012 at 9:12 am
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  11. Inactive

    What I don’t understand is that putting aside the issue of these lone-wolf style massacres-for now- in our post-9/11 era why are schools & similar places generally left unguarded?

    As horrible as these school shootings have been there are precedents for worse incidents which demand increased security and armed school personnel at our schools & other places. I’m principally referencing the Beslan school massacre and the Moscow Theatre massacres. My great fear is that at one point America will see similar terrorist attacks and will have been caught completely unprepared-again.

    • #11
    • December 28, 2012 at 10:15 am
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  12. Member

    Jack: The sure sign that your ideas will have no currency is that they’re animated by common sense. Can’t have that in modern America.

    • #12
    • December 28, 2012 at 10:23 am
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  13. Inactive

    I don’t worry about putting forth such a horrid idea because we have seen it done elsewhere, but I’m amazed like Jim that terrorists have not struck an American school or university. Imagine 100 Newtowns in one. It could be accomplished with only a handful of diabolical men. For my part, I have taken to simpy ignoring gun free zones except for the military base, in which there is always the slim chance of a vehicle search. Everywhere else, I carry at a minimum a snubnose if not additionally a 9mm. Going on runs ,hikes, family reunions, and the like. A great positive to come of this is that by not being able to imbibe spirits, I have cut back my once heavy drinking to virtually zero.

    • #13
    • December 28, 2012 at 10:46 am
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  14. Member

    Nice, Jack. 

    It occurs to me this evening that a single gun with a single bullet is a discrete advantage over no guns in sight. The gun is truly “the great equalizer.” 

    The gun – no gun dichotomy is a large cliff of difference, isn’t it? 

    It breaks my heart to think of what that principal had to contend with in going into that room. She probably could not stop herself from entering yet without a gun she was at a tremendous disadvantage. 

    Really, that step advantage occasioned by the gun in the hand of a madman can only be addressed by raising ourselves to that level and we have to stop thinking that we can level the playfield downward where we can assume there are no guns available anywhere. It simply isn’t realistic. That principal should not have had to make that call. 

    • #14
    • December 28, 2012 at 10:57 am
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  15. Member

    I’ve been prosecuting for over twenty years and I’ve reviewed numerous cases where a firearm was used in defense of self, another, or a domicile. In each case there was no prosecution for what was a justifiable (and sometimes praiseworthy) homicide. Whether civilian or police, the user of the firearm generally stopped something far worse from happening.

    • #15
    • December 28, 2012 at 11:26 am
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  16. Inactive

    Your point about the proper mindset & proficiency is very germane. The reason that there was very little petty crime in the Old West was not only a different attitude toward obeying the law, but the fact that a large percentage of the settlers had survived the horrors of the Civil War. Some yahoo with a pistol was very unlikely to intimidate or rattle somebody that had survived Shiloh or Gettysburg. Criminals may be evil, but they generally aren’t stupid enough to go after a hard target (or if they do, they regret it quickly). More hard targets + fewer soft ones = better deterrence.

    Some friends of ours in Montana got a great deal of amusement when we came to visit a few years ago, because we were so careful to lock our cars, etc. Why? Montana has the 2nd highest rate of gun ownership in the country. Very few are going to risk their head getting blown off while trying to jack somebody’s Camry in that environment.

    By the way, thanks Jack, for being part of the line that stands between civilization and chaos.

    • #16
    • December 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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  17. Member

    Oops — wrong thread.

    • #17
    • December 29, 2012 at 5:04 am
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  18. Inactive

    Gun Control

    Howard Sachs

    Chevy Chase



    After savagery like this in Connecticut the American Left always brings out the gun control issue. Is it possible that the Left is, as many Right believe, a material- based ideology that brings with it poor solutions to most human problems? In this case it’s the gun or the lack of money, or the lack of a job, lack of hope, drug companies charging too much for anti- depressants, or not enough social workers that brings out the evil in man.


    Is it possible that the conservative Right is correct, that the material is not the fundamental issue. It’s a human soul issue. It’s likely the lack of control of the darkness in the Adam Lanza’s that bring us such bestial behavior. It’s the lack of control in someone that likely knew what he was doing was a powerfully evil act.


    When talk of good and evil, controlling oneself, building character, talk of the Ten Commandments, ultimate rewards and consequences and a fear of God recede from society as it has from America, our religious institutions, and schools isn’t this type of behavior more likely to occur?

    • #18
    • December 29, 2012 at 9:16 am
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