Some of the big domestic news in 2020 – although you might not have heard it from the Mainstream Media – was a 25% increase in murders from 2019 totals. It meant that more than 20,000 murders were committed in 2020 – most by shootings – for the first time since 1995. Analysts who study crimes and their causes aren’t settled on what caused this dramatic increase. Conservatives would probably pin it on the much-hyped “defund the police” movement, while leftists would certainly say the cause was just too many guns.
The latter claim is an article of faith among Democrats, who shout it from the housetops whenever they think it brings them political advantage. Every Democrat president joins the chorus, and Joe Biden is no exception. He has evolved from Good Old Shotgun-wielding Joe of old to the crusading gun-grabber we see today. In view of that renewed campaign to weaken (or outright eliminate) the Second Amendment, this looks like a good time to update some historical observations and analysis from an earlier piece.
On December 2, 2015, a mass-shooting in the normally tranquil California desert-town of San Bernardino shocked the nation and produced hysterical new calls from liberals that we “do something” about guns. Police and the FBI reported that a “devout” Muslim man and his wife – both heavily armed with rifles and improvised explosives – entered the San Bernardino Regional Center around mid-day, when the husband’s co-workers were holding a “holiday party.” The pair fired 65 to 75 shots, killing 14 and wounding at least 21 others in just a few minutes. After escaping to their vehicle, the couple engaged in a wild shootout with police a mile from the initial crime scene. Both were fatally wounded.
The pair had lived in a rented house in the nearby community of Redlands. Neighbors said they kept to themselves, but many people were observed coming and going. Numerous packages were delivered to the house, and there was a lot of late-night activity in the garage.
After the shooting, police found a large cache of weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, numerous pipe-bombs, and the materials to make more. A neighbor said she didn’t report the curious goings-on because the people seemed to be Middle-eastern, and she didn’t want to be accused of “racial profiling.” (God help us!) My pop used to say, “It’s not funny enough to laugh at, but we’re too big to cry…”
Verily, though, it’s hard to blame this timid neighbor for being reluctant to come forward and get labeled as a probable racist. President Obama and his gang so roiled the racism issue, and so intimidated most ordinary people, that one can easily imagine witnesses not reporting an armed helicopter-drop into the White House grounds because the parties involved looked like members of a “protected ethnic group.”
Meanwhile, politicians of every stripe are living out the classic doggerel: “When in turmoil, when in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout!” ‘How can we stop this kind of thing?’ was the question being asked everywhere. Sycophantic media eagerly joined the chorus.
Some politicians claimed to know the answer. Before the bodies were cold in San Bernardino, President Obama ran to the microphones to demand that we pass “common-sense gun laws” to prevent a repeat of such atrocities. (Never waste a good crisis.)
What “common sense” meant to the president wasn’t entirely clear, but his previous preachments suggested that he wanted to make owning a gun legally almost impossible, nationwide. I believe he wanted a partial (or possibly total) repeal of the Second Amendment to be his “legacy achievement.” He had made it quite clear that he considers the right to keep and bear arms an outdated relic of pioneer days that doesn’t belong in a modern, civilized society.
Of course, Mr. Obama had a point. America is no longer the country it once was – although probably not in the way he thinks. Some two centuries ago, John Adams wrote:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Are we still “a moral and religious people”? Many still are, of course. But clearly, too many are not. Statisticians point out that even if 1 of every 10,000 people is a criminal (i.e., 0.01%), that would be 30,000 people – enough to cause plenty of mayhem. But does that mean we must give up our foundational right of free access to arms in order to disarm the bad guys? This makes little sense. Criminals don’t obey firearms laws, so only law-abiding people would be disarmed by Mr. Obama’s “common-sense” laws. Who (except for brigands and varlets) will be the better for that?
Yet the question hangs out there: how can we protect society from crazed individuals, as well as a growing cadre of people whose moral compass points far away from the compass of the Founders and of most Americans? The answer, as one might expect, is not simple. But it’s not rocket-science, either. Other societies, at other times, have dealt with evil persons in their midst who were inflicting harm and terror on innocent people.
One of those places was the British colony of Kenya. The time was the early 1950s, when the Mau Mau uprising became a dangerous anti-colonialism force. The Mau Mau’s modus operandi was terrorism on whites who held most of the colony’s government posts. No one knew who the terrorists were, as their identity was a closely guarded secret. They might be your houseboy, grocery-deliveryman or other ordinary person. One night they would sneak into your house and murder you and your family; or they might gun you down in your driveway. The situation was completely chaotic. The Mau Mau seemed unstoppable.
Finally, the colonial government decreed that every white adult – male and female – must be armed at all times. Police were authorized to stop anyone on the street and ask to see his/her weapon. If an individual couldn’t produce it, or if it was found to be inoperable, a fine was levied. With the policy in full force, the Mau Mau terror simply faded away – defeated by a vigilant, war-experienced people who didn’t hesitate to take drastic action when it was called for.
Why was the measure effective? Were terrorists really afraid of housewives, civil servants and grandmas packin’ a piece? Maybe not. But terrorists generally expect to be unopposed. It’s more fun that way. They’re not looking for the OK Corral. Certain depraved individuals get a thrill from seeing people cower in terror as they face death. But when the promise of low-cost sport evaporates, terrorism becomes far less attractive as an occupation.
Armed resistance from intended victims might not deter crazed religious fanatics, of course – be they Methodists, Amish, Muslims, Hindus, or Baptists. (I could be mistaken about the Methodists, who are unfailingly polite.) But even if fanatics want to die heroically for their causes, the presence of armed individuals in any crowd of people is certain to save some lives. Numerous events have shown what happens when no armed person is present during an attack.
In the 2015 San Bernardino incident, not one person in a crowd of at least fifty could offer armed resistance. This was because California laws prohibit carrying arms into any public or business establishment. The same was true in Paris during the 2015 attacks that killed over 100 people. France has strict gun-laws, so no one in that theater or restaurant was armed.
Even at Fort Hood, Texas – where in 2009 a crazed Muslim major1 killed 13 and wounded 30 (while shouting “Allahu akhbar!”) – not one person, in a post full of experienced soldiers, could respond with deadly force to the killer’s attack at a family restaurant. The reason: personnel entrusted with the world’s most powerful weapons may not carry personal arms on a military post. Unfortunately, those regulations didn’t deter the killer.
On the other hand, things went down differently in 2002, at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. Three students subdued a Nigerian student who shot and killed two faculty members and a student (and wounded three others). A small but telling fact – mentioned by only six of the 100+ newspapers reporting on the story – was that two of the three students who “tackled” the gunman (the Washington Post’s vague wording) were armed. Hearing the shots, they ran to their cars for weapons, then returned to disarm the killer.
Police understood the facts, and Tracy Bridges – one of the students who stopped the gunman – represented the event correctly to over 100 newsmen. But most of the public never heard about the armed students. It was a “media conspiracy of silence.”
The 2.5 million crimes foiled by armed citizens every year are “an inconvenient truth” rarely mentioned by left-leaning reporters and editors who don’t want the public to know that weapons can have a beneficial use. Research shows that criminals fear the “armed mark” far more than they fear police intervention. (As in the Appalachian incident, most crimes foiled by armed intended victims involve no shooting.)
The lesson from the defeat of the Mau Mau is obvious. Experiences in some of our cities and states indicate that when citizens are known to be armed, violent crime decreases. At military bases full of combat veterans, the solution of arming the population could hardly be clearer.
For starters, the “gun-free zone” delusion must be abolished. It is a magnet for crime. In schools, factories, businesses and government offices, as many workers as possible should be armed and trained to respond to threats. This would be on a volunteer basis, individually, but mandatory for all establishments. Of course, the racial element of 1950s Kenya would not be involved.
An alarm system should be required in every public establishment – possibly linked to occupants’ cell-phones. Each room in a building would be equipped with an emergency-button and an indicator-panel. If danger should arise, a teacher (or other worker) would press the button to sound an alarm in all other rooms and indicate the danger-point. Cell-phones, Ipads and other devices integrated into the system would be signaled. Armed workers would drop everything and converge on the danger with all deliberate speed to counter the threat. Students and unarmed workers would be trained to stand clear and take cover. The alarm would also notify the police.
This technology would cost time and money, of course, but how much is public safety worth to us? Training would be needed, and Americans’ sense of normalcy would certainly be disrupted. There’s no value in pining for the past, though. We are in what amounts to a war, and we must deal with that reality. If we don’t, many more people will be hurt.
Mr. Biden’s election has given criminals a clear field. We’re not keeping miscreants out of the country, and they seem to be everywhere. We don’t know who they are, and when we see something odd we’re afraid of being called “racists” if we report it. In our comfy homes, cars, stadiums, shopping malls, schools, churches and workplaces, Americans are sitting ducks.
We have a serious problem here, and we need to come up with serious solutions. Democrats’ near-religious conviction about “evil guns” is no answer. Disarming us will help only the bad guys. Seventy years ago the Kenyans knew what they had to do, and today more and more ordinary Americans seem to understand that they are the key to solving our crime-problem. Gun-store owners say weapons are flying off the shelves, and they can’t keep up with the demand. Many of the flood of new customers are women.
It’s a dangerous time, and Americans are rising to defeat the threat.
“Who would be free themselves must strike the blow…I urge you to fly to arms and smite to death the powers that would bury the Government and your liberty in the same hopeless grave.” (Frederick Douglas)
- Major Nidal Malik Hasan was convicted by court martial and sentenced to death for killing 13 people and injuring 30 others in the incident of November 5, 2009. He is currently incarcerated at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, awaiting execution.