What is the answer to school shootings?
Well, I guess it depends on what one believes. For some, the answer is more laws, more restrictions on gun ownership, more bans on commonly owned and widely popular firearms with the hope being that if we continue to gut the Second Amendment and disarm the populace, we’ll stop evildoers from getting their hands on guns.
For others, it’s acknowledging that there are real limitations to the effect legislation can have on criminals and that the best way to stop an active shooter* is to be prepared as an individual, as a family, as a community to fight back with force, including deadly force, if necessary.
Samantha Bee, a comedian with a television show on TBS called “Full Frontal,” falls into the first camp. That is, she believes that more laws, like universal background checks, will go a long way to stopping these killers from plotting and planning to take innocent lives.
“What can we do to get through to these underdeveloped minds?” she asks, referring to pro-gun lawmakers who don’t support further restricting one’s right to keep and bear arms. “I’ve been looking up to lawmakers when I really should have been talking down to them… with the power of children’s theater.”
You’ll understand what she means by “children’s theater” if you watch the bit.
What’s actually funny is how far off the mark Bee is. For starters, she perpetuates the myth that mass shootings in schools have become a weekly phenomenon. The real truth, as researcher James Alan Fox has pointed out on multiple occasions over the years, is that mass shootings haven’t increased over the years.
“According to a careful analysis of data on mass shootings (using the widely accepted definition of at least four killed), the Congressional Research Service found that there are, on average, just over 20 incidents annually,” wrote Fox, in a 2015 column in USA Today. “More important, the increase in cases, if there was one at all, is negligible. Indeed, the only genuine increase is in hype and hysteria.”
In other words, the media has created the narrative that mass shootings in schools are an epidemic. But the data — the facts! — say otherwise. What’s more is that Fox — who is actually sympathetic to the gun control argument — admits what few anti-gunners are willing to: more laws would not stop mass killers.
“Mass killers are unwavering in their determination to carry out their mission; there is little that we can do to prevent them,” wrote Fox in a 2013 USA Today column. “If unable to purchase the necessary firepower, they will resort to stealing or borrowing a weapon, one of the millions in circulation, to achieve their objective.”
Where there is a will, there is a way, as the old saying goes. Short of a confiscatory and unconstitutional gun law that requires all gun owners to turn over their firearms to the government, thus rounding up the more than 300 million guns in this country, mass killers will find a way to get their hands on guns. Heck, even with the confiscatory gun law in place, there is still a good chance that criminals would be able to procure firearms on the black market. Essentially, there is nothing we can do, legislatively, to stop them.
Plus, even if we did confiscate all guns they would still find a way, as Fox argues.
“And let’s not forget that the two largest mass murders in recent years were perpetrated without guns,” wrote Fox. “In 1995, the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people, and in 1990 an arson fire at the Happy Land social club in the Bronx, N.Y., killed 87 people.”
So, if we can’t stop them with more laws, what are we left with? A simple option: resign ourselves to the fact that we are victims in the waiting or prepare ourselves to fight back. Which, of course, brings us back to school defense drills aimed at stopping a mass shooter. What do we want to teach our kids? Do we want to instill in them a false sense of security? Do we want to lie to them about the hard realities of the world? Or, do we want to prepare them to confront the ugly truth that evil exists in the world and that it is their responsibility to protect themselves and the people they love from that evil?
And at the end of the day, Ms. Bee should ask herself two, even more, fundamental question, if her son or daughter was in a school that was being attacked by one of these murderers, would she prefer that the children had a plan (to perhaps confront and/or hide from the shooter) or no plan at all? Moreover, would she want armed security on the premises or would she prefer it to be a gun-free zone?
I think her answers to those two questions would be rather telling. Ironically, most gun-control advocates oppose armed security — until it comes to the ones they love, then it’s okay to be surrounded by good guys with guns.
*Active shooter — I hate this term. Like “high-capacity” magazines “gunman” and “assault weapons” it’s misleading. I’m an active shooter. You’re an active shooter. Millions of Americans are active and enthusiastic shooters. It’s sad that we’ve accepted this as the standard terminology to describe evildoers with guns.