Details about the horrible school shooting in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Connecticut, are still emerging. According to some reports, the shooter had “a dispute” with his mother, and so targeted her and her kindergarten class. As of this writing, it seems that 20 children and 7 adults, including the 20-year-old mad man who murdered them, are dead.
What can one say? The horror is particularly close to home for me and my family if only because until this year our son went to school in Newtown (but not at Sandy Hook). Mute horror seems appropriate as a first response to such obscene displays of malevolence. But already one is hearing the predictable homilies about “gun control,” as if depriving people of their liberties would somehow contravene evil. Some wacko loads up some firearms and murders a couple score innocent people, ergo certain moralists conclude that they must confiscate guns from the rest of us. Had a few teachers been packing heat, the twisted soul who murdered his mother and those school kids might have been stopped after getting off but a couple of shots. Who knows how many lives might have been saved?
I had similar thoughts a few years ago when another wacko killed some 30 people at Virginia Tech. At the time, I had this to say:
Of the many things that can be said about the horrible shooting at Virginia Tech today, one thing that we have already heard too often is that the shooting is offers a compelling argument against citizens owning guns. Right on cue, Jim Sollo, representing Virginians Against Handgun Violence, told reporters that “We live in a society where guns are pretty well accepted. There are 200 million guns in this society and obviously some in the wrong hands.” Well, yes. And that means? That we should concentrate all instruments of violence in the hands of an increasingly bureaucratic and meddlesome state, thus rendering ordinary citizens even more defenseless? I don’t think so, but that is what well meaning people like Mr. Sollo, appropriately horrified by such slaughter as we have seen today, conclude. My own feeling is that if a few responsible students and faculty had been in possession of the requisite firearms they might have made the death toll a lot lower, or even–had they been especially alert–eliminated it altogether, or at least reduced it to the gratifying number of one, that of the perpetrator. A famous Roman military historian noted that si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war. Good advice, that. And if you want domestic tranquility, an armed and responsible citizenry ready and able to protect life and property is not a bad way to start.
As you prepare for the inevitable onslaught of efforts to exploit this tragedy in order to curtail our right to defend ourselves, it is worth pausing to remember that Roman’s words of wisdom.
Also read: Evil Is to Blame