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Protecting High Value Civilian Targets

Most of what is being tossed around with regard to gun control and preventing mass shootings is nonsense, from both sides.

First the NRA. The NRA has advocated putting what amounts to designated shooters in schools. Not in the way the term is typically used, with regard to a marksman, but in the sense that a uniformed police officer is milling around the building someplace, just in case someone happens to pop in with mass murder on their mind. I could do a whole post on why this is a bad idea, but it should suffice to say, for the moment, that we might as well also hang signs around their necks that say “shoot me first”.

The anti-gun lobby has even worse ideas, ranging from various weapons bans to stricter limits about where guns may be carried. Again, I could do whole posts on why these are stupid ideas, but I ask that if you really don’t understand why these are dumb ideas, trust me that they are and do a bit of research.

Personally, I like the idea of allowing teachers to be armed. Possibilities range from outright offering training and providing weapons to school staff members to just allowing teachers with concealed carry licenses to carry weapons if they please. With regard to weapons security, teachers desks could have secure desk compartments (like airliners have in the cockpit, pilots don’t carry weapons on them) to simply concealed holsters of the type I routinely wear every day. However, the open carrying of weapons is a horrible idea.

Part of what makes military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan difficult is that everyone is a potential adversary. It isn’t traditional warfare where the enemy is conveniently wearing uniforms indicating who is playing war and who isn’t. This is exactly what we need to bring to schools and other ‘soft’ targets. We are not fighting a traditional war, we are dealing with what are little more than insurgents.

When a potential shooter makes the choice to walk into a school, office, or similar location, as far as I am concerned they should expect leaden death from every direction. Lets be clear, I don’t mean everyone need be armed, but the shooter should have no idea who may or may not be. At Sandy Hook, I expect things would have been different if the shooter walked into the school without the near 100% certainty that he was the only one there with a gun. It might seem like pure rhetoric when people say things such as “there’s never been a shooting at an NRA convention”, but it is true. The fact is that a shooter wouldn’t survive very long and these people are not often morons.

It’s naive to think that it didn’t factor in to the Aurora shooters planning that the theater he was going to didn’t permit weapons inside, just as it is naive to think the fact that guns aren’t allowed in schools didn’t occur to the shooter at Sandy Hook. It would be blatantly idiotic to claim a shooter wouldn’t consider the fact that at an NRA convention that everyone without a press pass or Code Pink sign is packing heat. As a rational person, I have to say that these facts play into the decisions of those wishing to kill others en masse, and I say every time, not just in those where there have been days, weeks, or months of planning.

When you get on an airplane today, it’s very possible that another passenger is armed, but you’ll never know who. This is how air marshals work, imagine how much less effective they would be if we stuck them up front in a kevlar vest and dark sun glasses. Hid them among passengers and they don’t even have to be there to be a threat.

If schools allowed licensed staff to carry arms, every school now holds a potential swift death to anyone who would choose to come and do those inside harm. No one in the school even need be armed to gain this benefit.

We do however need to understand that public shootings are a part of life. That is true in the US where bearing arms is a right and in Russia, where some of the worlds most strict guns laws exist, in Norway, the UK, Germany, France, all with strict laws, all unable to prevent those who wish to do so from killing piles of people. The one thing that might seem to set the US apart are the weapons used, the media claims that these “assault weapons” are somehow more deadly, when in reality the opposite is true.

The 5.56×45 NATO and 7.62×39 were both designed, at least in part, because they don’t produce wounds as devastating as other rounds. In fact, the ammunition commonly used for hunting and by law enforcement is illegal in warfare, while particular rifles and such have never been regulated. The reason is that ammunition has far more to do with lethality than the weapon it came from. For whatever reason, gun control advocates focus on weapons themselves. I assume this is because banning hollow point ammunition would cause an outcry from hunters and PETA as well as self defense advocates, even though it’s really the only legal control that would have a significant effect on the killing power of civilian weapons.

The focus is always on the wrong things. The gun instead of the ammo (not that I support ammo bans or controls), the gun instead of the culture, new laws instead of more effective enforcement of current ones. We need to face the fact that at Sandy Hook, no gun control law would have prevented the atrocity. The mothers negligent storage of her firearms is what allowed her obviously insane son to kill 27 people, not the fact that semi-automatic rifles are legal. What can you do about that?

Inspections by police? Gun control advocates might say that, “yes, police should be able to inspect how people store their weapons”, but what about other things? Between 2001 and 2008, over 450,000 under 5 were accidentally poisoned by medications, should police be able to inspect the way people store medicine in their homes? How about pool safety? Police have no business inspecting the way people do anything in their homes as far as I’m concerned. So as Michael, the Young, Hip, Conservative says, after arming school employees, plan B should be doing nothing at all. This is an issue of freedom, and not just one of being able to own this firearm or that magazine, almost all the things that would be most effective involve unacceptable intrusions into the private lives of individuals that are at least as justifiable, if not more so, in regard to things other than firearms.

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