by Marshall Lewin
It has now been more than a year since the terrible crimes committed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A week after the tragedy, while many in the press and political class tried to exploit the nation’s horror and sorrow to sell their anti-gun agenda, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre stood up in Washington and called on the country to immediately safeguard America’s schools with the only protection proven to work when nothing else can—through armed, trained security.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. “Would you rather have your 9-1-1 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or a minute away?”
Predictably, the Washington press corps and political elite reacted with outrage and ridicule. The name-calling and slandering were nearly unprecedented.
Yet all across the country, Americans were saying, “Wayne LaPierre was right.”
And over the past 14 months, through their words, their deeds and their legislative responses, parents, lawmakers and police took steps to protect children in schools through the guaranteed protection of armed good guys.
Yet despite all of the evidence they print and broadcast themselves every single day—stories proving that armed resistance saves innocent lives—the anti-gun media perpetuate the lie that we’ll all be safer if we surrender our means of self-defense.
And despite the public’s clear support for that freedom, politicians continue pushing to take that freedom away—even as they retain armed security for themselves.
That’s not just hypocritical—it’s supremely arrogant, too. Because it says that their lives are more important than yours. It says that their kids deserve more protection than yours. And it says that their freedoms are off-limits, but your freedoms are fair game.
“That’s why this year’s elections are so important,” LaPierre said. “Too many politicians deny the truth, deny their own hypocrisy and deny their constituents’ wishes by pushing the same dangerous gun-ban agenda. And Election Day 2014 could be the turning point in their war on your right to keep and bear arms.”
For a look at what’s at stake, let’s revisit a few events from the past year.
You may not have heard about the following three stories from the media amid their coverage of Sandy Hook, but they provide even more proof of what LaPierre and the NRA have been saying all along.
Armed Good Guys Save Lives And Prevent Tragedy
Three days before Sandy Hook, near Portland, Ore., a 22-year-old man wearing tactical gear and a hockey mask ran into the Clackamas Town Center shopping mall and began firing at employees and customers with a stolen rifle. He killed Cindy Ann Yuille, a hospice nurse and mother of two, then wounded 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenko before shooting Steven Forsyth in the head, killing the youth sports coach and father of two.
The killer, who carried several loaded magazines, moved throughout the mall firing, but when he stopped to reload, 22-year-old Nick Meli, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, saw his chance to act.
“He was working on his rifle,” Meli said. “He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side.” Meli drew his concealed Glock 22 and aimed it at the killer, but didn’t fire out of concern that he might hit an innocent bystander located beyond his target. But when the killer saw Meli, he ran down a flight of stairs, where he committed suicide.
In other words, an armed good guy stopped an armed bad guy, and in so doing, he very likely prevented a much deadlier mass shooting.
It happened again, just two days after Sandy Hook, near San Antonio, Texas, where a 19-year-old walked into the China Garden restaurant and began firing. When employees fled, he chased them outside. Along the way, he fired at a policeman in a San Antonio patrol car. Then he entered the Santikos Mayan Palace Theater, where he continued shooting.
The only thing that stopped him was Sgt. Lisa Castellano, an off-duty sheriff’s sergeant working security in the theater. Hearing gunshots, she ran toward the gunfire, confronted the shooter as he exited a bathroom and, when he refused to drop his firearm, shot him four times. The shooter lived, but so did everyone else in the theater—unlike those at the theater in Aurora, Colo., where a so-called “gun-free zone” had disarmed everyone except the mass murderer.
Finally, consider the case of Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. On Dec. 13, 2013, most national media outlets were too busy previewing the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook to bother reporting a very similar story that had a drastically different outcome, thanks to an armed school resource officer.
It started when an 18-year-old student—armed with a shotgun, a bandolier, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, three Molotov cocktails and a machete—entered the school and began shooting. He shot 17-year-old student Claire Davis in the head (she died a few days later), then lit one of his firebombs and continued firing.
But before the killer was able to fire more than five shots, a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer ran to intercept him and—just 80 seconds after his rampage began—the killer committed suicide before he was able to take more lives with him.
Contrast that with what happened in 1999 just eight miles away at Columbine High School, where two students had more than 40 minutes to rampage—murdering 12 students and a teacher—before a swat team arrived and the murderers committed suicide to avoid capture.
“Gun-Free Zones” Give Madmen And Terrorists A Monopoly On Force
These three stories—at a shopping mall, a theater and a high school—prove yet again the truth of what LaPierre said: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
And the only thing that so-called “gun-free zones” accomplish—whether at schools, malls, airports or military bases—is to guarantee that evil people will have plenty of disarmed and defenseless victims.
For proof, just look back at last summer’s shootings at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard. Thanks to the ill-advised ban on military personnel carrying firearms for protection, that facility was yet another so-called “gun-free zone” that allowed a deranged killer to murder 12 people and injure three others on Sept. 16, 2013.
Or look at the massacre just five days later at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where—thanks to the mall’s ban on security personnel being armed—terrorists allied with al-Qaeda were free to commit four days of murder, torture and terror, killing 22 people
and wounding 200 more.
All of these stories raise important questions:
• How many more victims would have been murdered if it weren’t for armed good people who cut these killers’ shooting sprees short?
• How many more victims will be murdered in the future as a result of gun bans that do nothing except disarm defenseless victims?
• And how many more deranged madmen and terrorist killers are—even now—choosing which of America’s many so-called “gun-free zones” will be the site to stage their next massacre?
After the Westgate Mall massacre in Kenya, even the head of the global law enforcement agency Interpol admitted that an armed populace is the only deterrent and defense against such atrocities.
“Ask yourself,” he said, “If that was Denver, if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?”
The Interpol chief continued: “You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?’ This is something that has to be discussed.”
Americans Know Firearm Freedom Saves Lives
Despite the outrage and ridicule the press and political class directed at LaPierre for issuing a call to protect schools with armed security, public opinion polls show a majority of Americans agree with the NRA.
A Pew Research poll taken less than a month after Sandy Hook found that 64 percent of Americans supported putting armed security guards and police in more schools. In fact, in Newtown, Conn., the school board voted unanimously to put armed guards in all of its schools, and Right-to-Carry permit applications more than doubled over the previous year.
That same month, the School Improvement Network surveyed 10,661 educators from all 50 states and found that 95 out of 100 teachers agreed that having an armed guard on campus would improve school safety.
Over the past year, legislatures in all 50 states have considered bills to increase school security. Several states have passed laws allowing, if not requiring, more armed security. And in city after county after school board after statehouse, teachers, parents, police and legislators have put more armed security safeguards in place to protect schools.
All of this has occurred because they know that when all else fails and the unthinkable becomes unavoidable, the only thing that can meet force and prevail is the certainty of equal force.
Police know it. Criminals fear it. Common sense confirms it. History proves it. And headlines around the world witness it every day: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
2014: Survival Or Surrender For Second Amendment, Self-Defense
Yet even now, politicians continue pushing new anti-gun laws that would not have prevented the tragedy at Newtown, but would leave more Americans disarmed and helpless to defend themselves from the next madman or terrorist killer.
“That’s not just cynical,” LaPierre said. “It’s sinister—because it’s dangerous. And it’s why this year’s elections could be the decisive turning point for Second Amendment freedom.”
As LaPierre pointed out, recent proposals on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures from coast to coast run the gamut from outright gun bans to ammunition bans, magazine bans, gun owner licensing, gun registration, government lists and nearly anything else imaginable.
“That’s why every gun owner needs to get involved and get informed by joining the NRA,” LaPierre said, “And it’s why, on Election Day, every gun owner needs to vote as if their life depended on it—because it does.”
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