Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gun-Free Zones, Not Guns, Enable Massacres

Charl van Wyk points out what should be obvious in his piece, The grave danger of 'gun-free zones'

Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, convenience stores, TV studios, chain restaurants and day-care centers have all been targets of homicidal maniacs. Mass murders have taken place in such places after they have been declared gun-free zones.
But gun-free zones are supposed to make you feel safer.

Do mass shootings ever occur in police stations, shooting ranges or at gun shows? Mass murderers select soft targets for their acts of violence. Expecting a suicidal individual to honor a law prohibiting firearms is sheer utopian fantasy.
He's already bent on breaking a law when he intends to kill. Why would a firearms prohibition stop him? Perhaps it can make it more difficult for him to obtain firearms to perpetrate his crime, but certainly not impossible. In Canada and Europe, where private ownership of guns is heavily restricted, there are still mass shootings.

In Europe, 16 people were killed in a public school shooting in Germany in April 2002. Another two public shootings were the killing of 14 regional legislators in Zug, a Swiss Canton (September 2001) and the massacre of eight city council members in a Paris suburb in March 2002.
Dunblane, Scotland suffered a school massacre in 1996 in which 17 were killed. In September 2006 Kimveer Gill opened fire on students at a Montreal college, killing one and wounding 19. In 1999 Marc Lepine targeted women for his shooting spree at a technical institute in Montreal, killing 14 and wounding 10. (What is it with Frenchies in Canada?)
In the U.S., thugs using firearms at elementary or secondary schools between 1997 and 2002 killed 32 students. The total includes gang fights, robberies, accidents and the so-called "school shootings." All these attacks took place in gun-free zones.
Students and children can be massacred without guns, as well. In June 2001, a deranged man with a kitchen knife went on a stabbing spree in an elementary school in Japan killing eight and wounding 15.

The VTech killings have reignited the debate over gun-free zones. Should staff/students be allowed to carry firearms on campus? For some, that would shatter the illusion of safety. But in practice, it works.

In Israel, however, teachers and parents serving as school aids are armed at all times on school grounds with semi-automatic weapons. Since this policy was adopted in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at schools in Israel have ceased.

Israelis know that their survival depends on understanding the difference between feeling safer and being safer. But this is because the reality of safety is obvious to people who, from day one, have been surrounded by declared enemies.

The vast majority of Americans and Canadians, on the other hand, have enjoyed a level of peace and tranquility that is unprecedented in the world. We have been lulled into complacency, with many now unwilling to own up to the responsibility of self-protection.

Mass killings are not a gun problem or an American problem. There are evil, deranged people everywhere. If they are bent on killing, they will find a way. The VTech massacre -- along with the massacres that occur in just about every other place in the world, civilized or uncivilized -- should make it obvious that our only choices are to protect ourselves or become willing prey.


Blogger Rusticus said...


4/19/2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this idea that public buildings could be equipped with "emergency guns". Why not grab a carbine the way you grab a fire extinguisher? They could be placed in several places in a building so that it would be difficult for one person to get all. Alarms and/or cameras could be triggered to photograph the person taking the gun, which might be accurate over short range and be painted bright orange for identification. Would the presence of such serve as a deterrent? Just a weird idea I had.

4/19/2007 9:55 PM  

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