We’ve discussed the lessons of Parkland already. The policy questions and prevention, though, are now being debated – hotly. The usual demands for the banning of certain semi-automatic firearms are present, despite 2016 FBI stats showing that rifles of all types were only used in 374 murders.
Meanwhile, in all the demonization of the National Rifle Association, let’s not forget three entities that bear far more culpability for this tragedy. First of all, there is the actual perpetrator. It cannot be said enough, the legal and moral responsibility for the 17 murders at Parkland is his and his alone. Period. End of discussion. The legal system in Florida will hold him accountable, hopefully with the imposition and carrying out of a death sentence. The other two entities are the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, which ignored numerous warnings.
Those who have opposed the sweeping collective punishments of bans on certain semi-automatic firearms or magazines bear none of the blame for this incident. They are not terrorists. They are not child killers. Their membership dues to the NRA or donations to politicians who have stood by them are not blood money. The fact was, Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch were not invited to that CNN town hall to be heard, they were there to be shamed for their support of the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans and bullied into silence.
What we didn’t know during that Second Amendment shaming event was that the school resource officer – and three other deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office – ended up displaying the most inexcusable yellow streak since Frank Jack Fletcher left Marines hanging at Wake Island. The deputies stayed outside – some for as long as four minutes – while the children they were supposed to protect were slaughtered. The Broward County Sheriff knew, and still attacked Dana Loesch.
The mass shootings at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida would not have happened had those who were responsible for protecting this country done their jobs with a minimal level of competence. Convictions should be entered into the NICS database. When actionable intelligence of a threat is received, law enforcement should act. An armed police officer on the scene should confront an active shooter immediately. These are – or should be – non-controversial positions.
Yet instead, gun-grabbers are bullying companies into severing ties – some of them decades-old – with the NRA. We’re child killers or domestic terrorists. For what, standing up for our rights by contacting our elected officials? Supporting candidates who run against those officials who scapegoat us? Demanding real solutions based on fact, rather than some sweeping collective punishment of hundreds of thousands – of not millions – of law-abiding citizens enacted in a fit of rage, grief, and hatred? Donating to campaigns when we can afford it? That’s not terrorism, that’s democracy.
America is to pay no attention to the numerous calls that lead to no action. We’re to forget that the FBI was warned at least twice, one of those tips constituting “actionable intelligence” that the shooter was a threat and did nothing. We’re to ignore the fact that an armed school resource officer chose to hide, while JROTC students acted to protect their classmates. We’re to just give up our Second Amendment rights for a madman with multiple reports of assault (including pointing a gun at a roommate – prompting a 911 call) and bringing bullets and knives to school, an incompetent FBI, and the bumbling Broward County Sheriff’s Office that managed to find three other cowards who waited outside with the resource officer while the killer continued his slaughter. I call BS.
We got no productive solutions from CNN’s orgy of Second Amendment shaming. What we did gain was an unvarnished look at the future spokespeople for gun-control groups, what they want, and what they think about you. They want “universal background checks” (really a back-door registration system). They want all semi-automatic firearms banned (we owe Senator Rubio a debt of gratitude for getting them to reveal that), whether it’s an AR-15, the Ruger 10/22 you bought your child so he or she could learn to shoot, the Glock you have for personal protection, or the Browning shotgun you use for duck hunting. They think that you were with the Parkland shooter in spirit. They think you are a bad parent. They think you are a child killer.
So, based on what we’ve learned and that Second Amendment shaming event on CNN, here’s my response:
- My Second Amendment rights are not up for discussion.
- Fix the National Instant Check System by making sure all disqualified people are in the database, whether from a criminal conviction, commitment to a mental institution, or for whatever reason.
- Eliminate the gun-free school zones and get armed security – including volunteers among the teachers and other employees – on campus. You think no teachers want to be able to protect their students with a gun? The sheriff of Butler County, Ohio can prove otherwise.
- Law enforcement needs to do something when people who saw something say something.
- Find a way to keep those people whose mental illnesses make them a danger to themselves or others off the streets.
If you come after someone’s rights, though, they will fight to keep them, and don’t expect someone to like you after you try to take them away. Calling a gun owner a domestic terrorist or a child killer won’t make them more receptive to your arguments.
If a company succumbs to the “Boycott NRA” campaign, politely and firmly tell that company they have lost your business and why they did so. Those who are willing to stand against Second Amendment shaming deserve your support, and again, politely say why. Should some of these companies restore the discounts and apologize to us, forgive them, and back them up.
Again, remember that by advocating for the Second Amendment, and doing what we learned in our high school civics classes, we have done nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of.