WTMA commentary broadcast 12/11/07

When a 19-year-old gunman walked into a mall in Omaha, Nebraska last week and began shooting customers, no one had an answer to what might have prevented such a random act of senseless violence. When churchgoers were randomly shot in Colorado Springs Sunday, police still had no answers as to why someone would do such a thing. Neither of these incidents are the first of their sort, nor unfortunately will these instances be the last time innocent people are gunned down in cold blood for no good reason. As with Columbine High School shootings and Virginia Tech massacre, there will always be people in this world who want to inflict harm for its own sake and if this sort of sadism is not the definition of evil, then I don’t know what is. But when combating such evil men, it never ceases to amaze me that so many believe the answer is to disarm good men through gun control.

Gun control advocates have been known to argue that while cowboys fighting Indians and such might have been an appropriate era in which to carry a six-shooter, guns have no place in modern America. An early American cowboy, or even an Indian, might have used a firearm to defend his family, tribe or honor, but today we have nutcases who, without conscience, will murder random women, children and old people for no apparent reason. We simply can’t trust people with guns these days, because we can’t trust people period, they tell us. We live in an age of moral anarchy, where the consequences are becoming more violent and bizarre with each passing year.

But again I ask, what about good men? Why would any sane person want to disarm them? There was a time in this country when packing heat was as common as packing lunch. Not only would our ancestors have been outraged at the notion of having to seek permission from their government to own a gun, but often the government itself was outraged by those who didn’t own guns. A state like Virginia even used to prosecute men for failing to carry a firearm at all times, with particular mandates to make sure guns were brought to church.

The only possible protection in bizarre situations like the recent mall and church shootings, would be constant police protection, which is impossible, or a society in which it was a given that most or even a significant portion of the population was packing heat. For example, does anyone believe the mall shooter in Nebraska would have got as far he did at say, the Ladson Flea Market? According to gun control advocates, gun shows should be the most violent places on earth by the mere presence of firearms, which is all the proof one needs to realize that arguments for gun control are as absurd as they are dangerous.

The only possible protection against random acts of evil is random acts of good, carried out by good men with the means to get the job done. When 22-year-old Clara Riddles was drug by her hair through CNN Center last April and shot to death, essayist Bob Allen wrote of the incident “There was a time when a majority of American men would almost surely have come to Clara’s aid. It was a day when men, recognizing the reality of evil, carried weapons that enabled them to stand in the gap for those being unjustly tormented and threatened. Virtually any man on the street could come to the aid of a victim like Clara. (But) that was then; this is now.”

And so it is. According to both statistics and sheer logic, the very notion of gun control is so patently stupid, that only people with too much education could possibly believe it, and it is no accident that for self-described “progressives,” gun control is often at the top of their list. Call me old fashioned, but I much prefer English statesman Edmund Burke’s observation that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And when it comes to these random shootings, allowing as many good men possible the ability to shoot back is our only hope for less deadly results in the future.