Monday, December 31, 2012

Loss of Innocents

     At year’s end, we cannot avoid some somber reflections on the Sandy Hook children. The actual deaths of the children and staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, were only the first notes in a cacophony of pain and despair. For the parents, it will be unending. We should expect the parents of the children to be beyond consolation for months; many of them will be barely functional in life for years; I cannot imagine any of them will ever fully heal. If I were among them, I would find unforgivable the fact that no one at the school was prepared to stop the shooter.

     Apparently, Principal Dawn Hochsprung did confront him. It was an act of unusual bravery. Of course, she was unarmed. Of course, she was also killed. Had she been armed and trained herself, some number of dead children might now be alive. This is the heart of the argument for the concealed carry permit. Concealed Carry saves lives.

     The only state that could prevent all mutual harm among its citizens would be a totalitarian police state—and I rather doubt any of them historically has done so. Background checks are already required in most states, and Connecticut is likely not particularly permissive in its existing gun control legislation. If we go further, if we ban the weapons or the magazines, we simply strip the law-abiding of their ability to defend themselves against the law-breakers and the insane. People bent on mass murder will find the tools they need, whether box-cutters on an airplane or fertilizer in a truck. Police cannot be everywhere at once. What is left? The only option that has a chance of working in the world as it is, rather than in the Land of Innocence, is to allow the school staff to obtain the training and the firearms required for self-defense and defense of their charges.

     We cannot waive a magic wand and make guns disappear or make all people nice. The second best solution, but the only realistic one, is to allow citizens of the republic to arm themselves. Yes, we should continue to enforce the existing laws, such as background checks and training requirements, but if we want to live in liberty, we must accept the responsibility of defending ourselves. Further, if we send our children to a public school, we have the right to expect school officials to defend them in our absence.

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