There are people in this world who would hurt anyone, including children, if the whim so moved them. They have a great variety of weapons available, including firearms, knives, clubs, motor vehicles, fertilizer, bleach and ammonia mixed, oxygen and acetylene (or propane, MAPP gas, or gasoline), airliners… in short, almost anything. No law ever devised can stop these people from doing whatever they mean to do. No law. The police can’t do anything unless they just happen to be in precisely the right place at precisely the right time. The FBI and DHS can take preventative measures, but rely on intelligence-gathering, and it can take months before they can take action.
Similarly, there are people in this world who would risk or sacrifice their very lives to protect others, most especially children. Unlike the other group, they have a very limited choice of weapons. Things like bombs or poison gas are not suited for defense because they are too indiscriminate, and might very well injure those whom they are trying to protect. Clubs and knives are selective, but are of very limited utility if there is more than one attacker, or if the attacker is much larger and stronger than the defender. Against motor vehicles and airliners there is very little that can be done because of the speed with which an attack can develop and the overwhelming force of it. There is only one class of weapon that will give the defenders of your children a chance to achieve their goal: firearms, specifically, high-powered semi-automatic firearms.
A rifle or pistol, when employed by a skilled person, is very selective. They can stop a threat at some distance, rendering bombs and most poisons harmless. There is an old saying, “If you have no reason to think there will be trouble, take your pistol. If there’s a good chance of trouble, take your rifle.” A pistol is very effective within a certain envelope of range and conditions. A rifle has much greater range, making it practical for stopping threats at a safe distance, and it is much more powerful, enabling it to defeat light armor and motor vehicles.
There has been much discussion of passive measures, like metal detectors and better locks. Locks can be defeated in a matter of seconds, and should be considered only as part of an alert system; in breaking through them, an attacker would alert the defenders and give them time to respond. Metal detectors are much less useful. Consider, for example, an armed attacker approaching his target, and seeing a metal detector. Will he simply turn around and go home, or will he think, “Ha! They’re gonna bloody well know I have a gun here in a few seconds, anyway!” Metal detectors are notoriously unreliable, horrendously expensive, and generally require an attendant. Unless the attendant is armed and armored, he or she can be quickly dispatched, leaving the stupid detector sitting there with a red light on it. If the detector had a very loud alarm it could be used, like the lock, to alert the defenders, but other than that, the metal detector as a serious security measure is an urban myth. (“Well, then why to courthouses, jails, police stations, and airports have them?” Such places use metal detectors effectively because they are backed up by gunfighters, just as I suggested!)
An immediate response force, such as a SWAT team, is powerless in the face of a rapidly-developing attack. They can give the attacker a chance to kill himself, as all of these cowards do when faced with armed resistance. Other than that, they can close off the crime scene, administer first aid, and escort ambulances to the hospital. Police protection, by and large, is another urban myth. In fact, the Supreme Court of the US has stated that no police force is obligated to protect anyone, in particular, but only, “society at a whole,” whatever the hell that means. In other words, the police, for all their courage and commitment – which I do most emphatically recognize and respect – are limited by their mission and charter to post facto clean up and prosecution.
The attack at Sandy Hook developed in a matter of seconds. The only way to have defeated that attack would have been someone standing between the attacker and his victims – and I mean someone other than a heroic but doomed young woman who was willing to throw her flesh and her life between her children and death. (I have no respect for Adam Lanza, but I have a deep, burning, furious hatred for the liberal bureaucrats who made it operationally impossible and culturally unacceptable for that young woman to do something more than mix her blood with that of the children. Those politicians are guilty of complicity in mass murder.)
The idea that such attacks would be possible only by use of firearms is preposterous. The presence of armed defenders would make them more difficult without firearms, but impossible? Absurd. It is also true that an armed defender might be defeated. Life holds no guarantees, and all we can do is hedge our bets – stack the odds in our favor. Things like the World Trade Center attack can’t be defeated on the ground by any known means, but maggots like Adam Lanza sure can be! Would you refuse to inoculate your children against polio because there is no cure for cancer? Would you refuse to have them belted into your car because it won’t save them if you are hit by a semi at 90 miles an hour?
Firearms can never be eliminated, or even much reduced in our society. Consider these facts:
1. Guns are easy to make, and I’m not talking about zip guns – though they can be very effective. Semi-automatic arms of considerable power and range can be produced in a basic home workshop. Banning guns would certainly increase the financial incentive to invest in a cheap mill.
2. Guns were originally invented because they were a very good idea for defeating sword-swinging thugs. That has not changed. It was a good idea then, and is a good idea now. People will act on good ideas. (With, of course, the exception of those who voted for Obama.)
3. If the expense of having armed guards in schools in daunting, compare it to the expense of confiscating guns from the public. In fact, compare it to the cost of administering a registration program.
4. I would not compare the life of a child to the financial cost of anything, but if you can do a half-assed job of protecting a few kids for a100 billion dollars, or a terrific job of protecting millions of kids for a few million, that seems an easy choice.
5. The government can’t even win a war against drugs when the vast majority of the population hate drugs! How, precisely, would one go about eliminating guns? I have never heard a coherent plan to make any sort of gun ban work. How would you do this? Wave your magic wand? Confiscation? How many lives are you prepared to spend? How many children will you deprive of their fathers and protectors? Whose son are you going to send to get my guns?
6. The cry that no citizen needs to own a semiautomatic firearm is based on the Hollywood myth that we are never attacked by more than one or two thugs, that our combat shooting is as effective as our range practice, and that the police will be there to stop the attack in a millisecond, anyway. What a contemptible lie. In my home town, Albuquerque, NM, there are thousands of gang members, and they run in packs of up to 50. Some of them are your run-of-the-mill Crips, Bloods, West Side Locos, etc., and some of them are MS13. Some are soldiers of drug cartels. A huge number of them have been arrested (by the valor and commitment of the police) tried and convicted, then turned loose by liberal judges and an absolutely criminal parole system. Here’s a fact: more than 80% of all violent crime is committed by people with a previous conviction, and one more: it’s already illegal for them to have guns, in the first place!