Within minutes of reports that another madman had opened fire on innocents at Umpqua Community College, the never ending gun debate roared back into national consciousness. Proponents of both sides quickly took to airwaves and social media, touting the merits of their positions, while they demonized opposing views.
I found these knee-jerk, finger pointing, self-serving diatribes, especially before police had secured the scene and accounted for all casualties, the best examples of the worst in America. Enter John Correia of Active Self Protection (ASP), who posted the following on his facebook page.
I have been asked what I think is the way to minimize the mass shootings that we see far too often. Here are my thoughts. I welcome yours in respectful dialog.
There’s no way to legislate away crazy. You can minimize risks, but the only way to completely prevent people misusing freedom is slavery, plain and simple. China has mass murders, though they have strict gun control. Norway had the worst gun-related mass murder in history. Our worst mass murders in history were perpetrated with airplanes. So we know that banning guns is not the answer, and the reality is that our approach has to be nuanced and thoughtful.
First, I think the big solution is to once again instill in the American ethos the inestimable value of human life. We treat life as unbelievably cheap, and that has to change at every level. From care for the poor and immigrants to the unborn and people of every race, to stopping the scourge of objectifying people as pleasure objects (yes, I am talking about pornography), to care for struggling veterans and the elderly, we have to believe again that all lives matter. All people matter. And then we have to instill in our hearts the value of getting involved in people’s lives and saying something when we see red flags, and providing the interventions that stop these events.
Most of them are stopped, actually. People hear plans and call the police. People see warning signs and get folks to psychiatric help.
I think that mass murders like this are beginning to also see that we minimize them by not giving a platform to the murderer to get the attention that he craves, to focus on the heroes and to let the perp languish in obscurity. I won’t name any perpetrator for that reason.
I also think that we minimize these by minimizing easy targets. We either invest in armed security in every school in America, or we decide as a society to encourage good people who value human life to be the first line of defense and protect their schools by protecting themselves and their loved ones. I think the latter is the better approach, and would even welcome a requirement of an enhanced permit and additional training for those who would be that on school campuses.
Correia went on to explain his very personal interest in that last point, expressing sentiments felt by every parent who has sent their most precious family members off to school.
My kids’ schools had armed resource officers last year and I was glad for that. Neither could renew the grants to keep them, and I would love it if I could go in and train every teacher in every school in our district in firearms use and security to protect our kids. If I don’t trust a teacher with a firearm, I certainly don’t trust them with my children.
One commenter raised honest concerns held by many who struggle to reconcile defensive firearms and personal safety.
I have a question, and I’m looking for an honest answer and not hostility. I ask out of being curious.
Do you think, in any shape or form, gun control legislation could do anything to minimize gun violence? Even a little bit?
[… ] I’m not biased. I’m in the middle. The way I view it, one side is attempting(and for the most part failing) to stop a gunfight from happening at all, while the other is trying to give the good guys the best tools possible to win the gunfight.
Now we can all agree it’s better to not have to fight for your life at all. While unavoidable in certain situations, it is possible to minimize the possibility. Sure, criminals CAN ignore laws and go through loopholes. It happens frequently. Doesn’t mean every criminal has the capability or knowledge to do so. Not all of them have illegal connections that will sell them a gun. Some just might be to lazy or scared to put in that much of an effort. Human Psychology is a weird thing, but that might just save a life or wallet. It’s impossible to tell how many crimes have been stopped because of current legislation in place, but it’s safe to assume a fair number have been. I think it’s asinine to completely mark of legislation as a useful benefactor to the reduction of gun related violence..
Correia answered by reminding the commenter of the founders’ intent behind the Second Amendment. as compared to concerns offered by those opposed to private gun ownership.
I would say that the side of gun control fears murders like this which happen in the tens. The side of gun rights fears government murders, which happen in the millions. Could some of these be lessened? Probably. But at what cost? Look at Libya and Syria as recent examples of the cost of life of despotic government. If we make a change we have to consider not only what we will prevent, but what that prevention also allows.
Therein lies the basic conundrum for gun control advocates. Could more restrictive laws, or even implementing an Australian model of a total ban on private ownership, mitigate the damage wrought by a deranged individual bent on mayhem? Perhaps. But at what cost?
Dennis P. O’Neil
About Active Self Protection (ASP) from their facebook page:
“Active Self Protection (ASP) educates and trains others in armed and unarmed self defense. Our Motto: Cover your ASP!”
ASP describes their basic philosophy as being one of “self-defense, before, during, and after an encounter: Attitude, Skills, Plan. Having the proper Attitude, appropriate Skills, and a good Plan mean everything in a defensive encounter.”
I should note here that John Correia does not promote having an “O.K. Corral” mindset when faced with a tenuous situation, but rather one of deescalation and disengagement if possible. However, he acknowledges there may be circumstances where that is not an option, and having the Attitude, Skills, and Plan can help carry you through to enjoy another day.