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Beckman: You Have to Use a Gun to be a ‘Good Guy with a Gun’



By Hank Beckman - 

The only thing that seems to come faster than mass shootings these days is the proliferation of “experts” that know exactly what action will end the carnage.

The left didn’t even wait until the bodies were cold in Uvalde, Texas after the last school massacre to go straight to partisan attacks, the National Rifle Association being the obvious villain in progressive eyes. One after another Democrat scurried to the nearest microphone to tell us we had a moral duty to stand up to the gun lobby. Besides a national waiting period and a constitutionally dubious plan to raise the age for purchasing assault weapons to 21, they were woefully short on details.

Conservatives seemed to take a more practical approach, primarily calling for making schools a harder target for the criminally insane living among us. Considering the amount of guns loose in society and the obvious changes in our culture that have unleashed this torrent of violence, basic security improvements can only help. At the very least, school districts can quit bragging about how they are “gun-free” zones. Is any policy more lacking in common sense than to advertise to every nut in the vicinity that your building has no defense?

More striking are the basic questions concerning security almost no one is asking. There will always be time to talk about “root causes,” and “cultural rot,” and no end of credentialed people to argue that they, and people who agree with them, have the answer to stop the slaughter, if only everyone would just listen.

But first things first. The more immediate, short-term need is to prevent these horrific slaughters in the first place.

Has it ever occurred to the deep thinkers that populate newsrooms, think tanks, and government offices—people that discuss, study and ultimately make public policy—that these mass school shootings almost always happen in suburban or small town school districts? (Anyone besides President Trump, that is)

There may be exceptions, but it cannot be gainsaid that the crazy people who terrorize mostly public schools by committing massacres with firearms have to date not found schools on the West Side of Chicago a very tempting target.

With many city schools sitting in high-crime neighborhoods, there are almost unbelievable incidents of gunplay in the vicinity. But shootings in or around these schools primarily involve disputes between people who know each, many involving gang activity. Incidents of someone going into a school and inflicting mass casualties on students who are essentially strangers are, thankfully, almost non-existent in our inner cities.  

Why? Many find the answer in these suburban mass shooters being young, alienated people with troubled home lives; but young, alienated people with troubled home lives no doubt live in the inner city; likely more.  Some blame the easy access to firearms; but guns are as easy to locate (maybe easier) on the street in K-Town as they are in a store in Uvalde, Texas. Still others insist that the real culprit is mental illness; but anyone who uses public transportation in Chicago or the subway in New York—or is just exposed to news from any city in the nation—realizes that there is no shortage of disturbed, dangerous people in our cities.

So is it better security that prevents mass killings in inner city schools? Does the fact that most schools in suburban and small-town America are in statistically safer neighborhoods lull local leaders into a false sense of security? As often as mass shootings have occurred in recent years, and for as much publicity as they have received, when your environment is really more like “Mayberry,” than “The Wire,” the sense of urgency is hard to maintain on a permanent basis. It’s long past time that we take a good look at what inner city school districts are doing in the security area and find out what they can teach us about keeping our kids relatively safe.

As for that whole business about how “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” both sides of the debate need to rethink what that really means.

It implies that any honest, well-intentioned, law-abiding citizen that carries a weapon, whether they are law enforcement or not, will automatically prevent future mass shootings or violent crime of any type. In any discussion of crime or gun violence, staunch Second Amendment supporters trot out this argument on cue, sometimes even faster that the gun-grabbers can recite their talking points about common sense gun control or NRA members having blood on their hands.

The statement that good people with firearms can deter or even stop acts of violence can obviously be true. But what many conservatives seem not to have considered is that the person has to be willing—and trained—to actually use the gun in order to prevent the bad guy from harming anyone.

Predictably, progressives/leftists—whose real goal is an unarmed population—quickly point out this flaw in the good-guy-with-a-gun theory whenever there is an incident similar to the Uvalde massacre, where law enforcement failed to act. Although the facts of the case are still being revealed, they are apparently justified in pointing out that the good guys with guns’ performance was inadequate and likely cost the lives of at least some of the victims.

What our leftist friends leave out—and what fellow conservatives often fail to consider—is that if an armed person, whether a cop or private citizen, isn’t willing to use his weapon he’s not, by definition, a good guy with a gun. Now he’s just some mope with a Glock on his hip that makes him look cool; he’s got the name, but not the game.

There are any number of incidents that show armed law enforcement personnel saving lives by using their weapons; consider the incident last year when a Columbus, Ohio cop shot a teenager about to stab another girl in a street fight.

Similar incidents of citizens using firearms defensively happen regularly. Just last week, a West Virginia woman defended a graduation party by using her handgun to kill a man with a long gun firing into the crowd. In this case, it was a “good gal” with a gun that took out the bad guy with the gun.

As can be expected with an issue as emotional as gun control, formal studies of defensive gun use by citizens (DGU) reach varying conclusions, with conservatives and leftists using whichever study suits their purposes.

But even the Center for Disease Control, not exactly a right wing institution, produced a 2013 study that concluded incidents of DGU occurred anywhere from 300,000 to 5 million times annually.

So the fact that law enforcement in Uvalde fell down on the job last week only means that in this particular case, the good guy with a gun theory didn’t pan out.

And these people in Texas that failed 19 children and two adults are government employees and officials, as are the thousands of public school administrators and school board members who have failed to protect children over the last two decades since the modern beginning of this national disgrace.

Far from the Uvalde massacre permanently invalidating the good-guy-with-a-gun theory, it really showed that more often than not, government will fail to protect your children.

Don’t let anyone gaslight you into believing it can.


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