Last Friday there was another massacre. The details do not matter. The reason for this latest murderer killing a bunch of innocents does not matter. The only thing that matters is the ease by which this was done. It was the latest of many “fish-in-a-barrel” shootings where victims have no way to fight back.
The perpetrator started shooting knowing he was the only person armed because he was in a gun-free zone. The attraction for the shooter was that these victims were defenseless. The predictable political response after each of these “fish-in-the-barrel” massacres is that guns should be outlawed.
Calls to disarm our population ignore that in Mexico guns have been outlawed yet Mexico is overrun with gun violence. Like our massacres, the citizens of Mexico are exterminated without recourse by criminals who smuggle in drugs and guns from all over the world. The Mexican government cannot stop them.
Picture this: in the Old West a group of citizens are in a theatre when a gunman bursts in and starts shooting. What happens? The perpetrator is turned into a human sieve by the return fire from the audience. People in the Old West were armed. Do we have any Old West examples of someone attacking a group of people similar to our current massacres? We do not.
Let us be clear the problem is not that law-abiding citizens are running amok with firearms, rather, they are being murdered in gun-free zones. Now do not be a burro and think that if everyone had a firearm at the ready there would never be another shooting. All criminals are not alike. But a better question would be: if there were no gun-free zones where would the next attack happen? It would happen where people shot back.
I come from a culture of guns, receiving my first firearm, a 1935 Iver Johnson Model X .22 rifle at a young age. I still have it and was never a hunter after our family had enough money to buy meat in the store. Firearms are a tool to me. Shooting is only marginally interesting. I practice regularly as I have done throughout my life because it is the only way to retain small muscle ability in a crisis.
Recently I went through a conceal carry class where I shot not the required 150 shots, rather, I was somewhere north of 1500 rounds so that every angle and every situation including in limited light was addressed multiple times. I recommend that kind of training and regular practice.
Have I ever used a weapon with deadly force? Only on varmints at the ranch. It does not bother me that I have not been called upon to use firearm force. I hope I go the rest of my life just practicing. It has been close a couple of times years ago but luck and my guns were with me.
The problem is I obey the law and do not ever take a firearm into gun-free zones. So that means that I am as defenseless as everyone else if a criminal shooter decides to break the law and kill some people. So far that attitude has just gotten lots of people slaughtered. Perhaps we should rethink gun-free zones.
It seems especially important to protect our public schools. A few years ago I asked in a column why not train some of the personnel in a school to conceal carry? A fourth grade teacher at the time was just back from Iraq as an infantryman and probably was good with firearms. Would it not be better to have him quietly armed?
The problem is not the guns; it is the people of evil intent. Passing more and more laws will not stop them. Outlawing guns will not stop them. As in Mexico the only way to stop evil intent is with force. Do we have the means and will to fight for our lives? Some of us do if we are allowed to do so.
Dr. Michael Swickard is co-host of radio talk show News New Mexico 6 to 9 a.m. Monday - Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org