I wrote something short on the Facebook page of an old friend who called for more “gun control.” He wrote back. I wrote this response.
I actually live on the “West Side” near [omitted.] My first comment on the Newton matter was to wonder why the events in Newton & Aurora get big news while we can’t get any real media attention about Chicago killing 450 black (and brown) children ever year in this city. We may not live near Fenger but we’re touched by violence. My wife was out walking our baby (now six) in a buggy when a block away a kid was shot by Crane H.S. The wife and kid were nearly trampled in the ensuing stampede of children away from the scene. She was also out walking with the baby the day that they beat a kid to death with a baseball bat or golf club or something literally on the steps of the H.S.
And that my old friend is the telling part – if the gang wants you dead they don’t need a gun to make that happen. The same day as the tragedy in Newton some wacko killed 20 kids with a sword at a school in China. Banning guns will not prevent crazy & will not stop mass killings.
There are many many things that went wrong in Newton. Mom should have been a better gun owner and kept her guns in a safe (I keep my guns in a safe.) It appears that access to the school was through a broken window. Perhaps the physical infrastructure needed to be improved. Having talked to people “on the job” I know that CPD policy in Chicago is that 1st on the scene does NOT go into the building b/c they don’t know what they’re dealing with. I think this is a bad policy. You cannot have cops literally 30-40 feet away standing around while kids are getting shot. My guess is that L.E. took a long time to “secure” the building which delayed EMS from getting to the victims. And my guess is that EMS in Newton is simply not equipped to deal with gunshot wounds the way that we deal with them here (I believe the Army still trains field surgeons at County.)
It’s just easy to blame the firearm. There are about 250 million vehicles in the country. There are about 310 non-military firearms (via CNN Aug. 9, 2012.) According to the CDC in 2010 children ages 5-9 were 6 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than by a firearm. Children are over twice as likely to drown and 1.5 times as likely to die in a fire over being killed by a gun. These are facts at the second link in my previous post. So if you’re serious about saving kids lives look at making cars and pools safer.
As for who as access and training, perhaps you raise a point. However I have been trained. I’ve completed a 4 hour class on gun safety. A 10 hour NRA class on safety and marksmanship. 40 hours on the laws in Illinois (despite already being an attorney.) I train regularly at a local range which costs $70-80 per visit (fees + ammo.) I’m fully prepared to stop anyone who should attack me or my family yet I pray everyday that I never need to. But I’m lucky; I have the means to make this happen. It is very expensive.
Self defense is everyone’s right. Recently there was this story: http://abcnews.go.com/US/kendra-st-clair-oklahoma-girl-12-shoots-intruder/story?id=17524438#.UM9OU3fzEyg This girl had no training and my guess is that her family did/does not have the means to send her and the rest of her family to training at $200 a head. This type of situation plays out everyday (the old man in the FL internet cafe also recently made news b/c there was security video.) Guns are used defensively far more often than offensively. There’s a good chance that Kendra St. Clair would be dead if she didn’t have her mother’s gun.
And that is where the NRA and the so called “Gun Lobby” is coming from. Yes, the events in Newton and VA Tech and everywhere else are tragic. But for every Newton there are 50 or 60 or 100 Kendra St. Clair’s. Battered wives and girlfriends who are able to protect themselves from abusive men. Store owners who use their guns to prevent a crime from happening simply by not being an easy target. What about these people?
When seconds count the police are just minutes away. A few years ago some kids were popping off a few shots out of a revolver in the alley beside my house. I called 911 and reported “shots fired.” It took over 15 mins for CPD to arrive. That’s the response time in an urban area to shots fired. If these kids kicked-in the door to my house we’d all be dead by the time CPD arrived… if I didn’t have the ability to shoot back (well that and our 145 pounds worth of dogs.) You can imagine what the response time would be out in the sticks. I sleep better knowing that if someone’s in the house odds are nearly perfect that I won’t need to actually shoot them. I can put two rounds into the bathroom shower and the intruder will not stick around to see where the next ones go.
Your experience at OTSC is common. I know of parents who made their kids sleep in the bathtub for fear of a stray round coming through the wall or window. But no law is going to take those guns out of the hands of gang-bangers. A good start would be to get the Democratic machine that runs this town to turn over all felons w/ guns to the feds. 5 year min law is on the books but Ms. Anita Alveraz refused to send them over to the feds. Why?
Ya see… there are a LOT of gun laws on the books that are simply not enforced. I truly believe this is b/c Rahm, Obama, Holder, and the rest of the Democrat cabal actively choose not to enforce them so they can demand new laws. It’s a sham.
So to recap:
– Guns are not the single cause of the tragedy;
– Guns are not as deadly to kids as cars, pools, or fires;
– Guns are mostly used defensively and save thousands of lives each year;
– Most gun violence is caused by illegally held guns; and
– We should start by enforcing the laws already on the books and insisting that violent offenders do real time.