I refrained from posting on Friday, because while there was a rush to politicize the shooting just past midnight on Thursday in Aurora, Colorado, I frankly wanted to leave it be for a day. Too many people in media were in too big a hurry to capitalize in some political fashion, and given the nature of the event, I must admit that I was spitting-mad. I was mad at the culture of the left, for trying to immediately leap in to make propagandist pronouncements, and I was mad at the right for failing to see that one must choose one’s battles wisely. The best thing for talking-heads to do on Friday was to shut the Hell up. Most of those on the right did precisely that, but we also had the obnoxious spectacle of Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempting to advance his political position on the matter of gun control. From the moment I heard Bloomberg’s comments, I became livid. It had been bad enough with the episode of Brian Ross trying to tag the Tea Party with guilt by association, but hearing Bloomberg on the radio spiked my blood pressure, and I did something unusual. I went off-clock, hopped in my car, drove to a wide-open space, and cursed all of these parasites at the top of my lungs. Finished, I returned to work, leaving my most vicious contempt with the wind, where none will hear of it.
Having given this a day to settle in me, and having afforded the dead and their survivors the barest modicum of the respect they deserve, I am prepared to state my case: These deaths needn’t have occurred, but it is the masterminds of the universe – characters like Mayor Bloomberg – whose preferred policies permit our people to be slaughtered by villains, defenseless in the face of mad-men.
Let me first state as a baseline of absolute clarity: One person is directly responsible for the deaths of and injuries to the victims in Aurora, Colorado. His name is James Holmes. He plotted this cruel massacre, he planned his actions, he armed himself with vicious intent, and he carried out the slaughter. He acted in cruel indifference to the liberties and lives of his fellow men, and for this crime, he must be tried and punished without remorse by the full fury of the instrument of Justice, wielding her sword without hesitation. He must be removed from the face of the Earth with the deliberate action of the state in the name of the people whose rights it is sworn to protect. Let us not discuss this part of the matter further, for there is no consolation or relief in it. I don’t care for his particular motive, whatever twisted excuses he might concoct, or others might raise on his behalf. He did it, and he must pay the only appropriate price.
Having covered the essentials facts relevant to the actor in this case, I now wish to deal with the generations of non-actors who demanded, through their intransigence, within their own sense of “moral” superiority, and from behind the fortress walls of the protected bubbles in which they live, that these victims be defenseless before the blazing guns of this mad-man. I wish now to address the man who presides over the City of New York like a King, dictating that salt be stricken from the menu, that soft-drinks be limited to sixteen ounces, and that no law-abiding citizen may easily obtain a gun for his own defense. There are many like him, and they are all equally guilty in abetting murder wherever law-abiding citizens have been deprived of the lawful ability to carry the means of their own defense. Even in jurisdictions where concealed handgun permits are available, business owners, acting within their rights as property owners, often restrict patrons from bringing their weapons on the premises, irrespective of permits. Patrons at least have a choice as to whether they shall frequent such establishments, yielding their ability to self-defense.
What none of the political opportunists will tell you is that in every state in which concealed-carry permits are authorized, the incidence of violent crime against persons has fallen precipitously. What none of these masterminds will tell you is that in all of the locales in which they have had their way, imposing gun control measures for their own nefarious purposes, these have become the deadliest cities in the country. Chicago, New York, and Washington DC have among the tightest gun control regulations in the country, but they also remain at or near the top the list of violent murders by all weapons, including guns. Once you have been armed with this knowledge, when Mayor Bloomberg addresses the media with his crass indifference to the murders committed under the shelter availed criminals by his sort of law, you should know that you are facing a man who is an accomplice, if not in the crime at hand in this case, then in others like it, numbering in the thousands, that draw little media attention because their victims number in ones and twos at a time, rather than in scores.
Do not tell me that we cannot know with certainty whether an armed citizen in the theater could have prevented some or all of this killing and maiming that visited this audience with gruesome indifference. We do know with certainty that none were armed in defense of their own lives, and that the killer was unmolested on his way in and out of the auditorium. What we also know, as Americans, but also as human beings in general, is that every person is entitled to defend his or her life, limb and liberty against brutal assault, but that none were able because they were faithfully abiding by rules that prohibited to them the instruments of their own possible salvation.
Make of it what you will, but every American ought to be outraged, as in instance after instance, killers seek out victims en masse, assembled for some peaceable, ordinary purpose, who are by virtue of the locale prohibited from their own defense. To those who would argue that the killer might have succeeded anyway, given his body armor, I ask, since it appears by virtue of his booby-trapped apartment that he had a particular desire to take out cops if he were killed, why did he not launch his attack at a police station? Why did he not attack people gathered at a practice range? Why not? He knew that the place he selected for attack was likely to be a weapons-free venue. Unless there had happened to be an off-duty cop, he was likely to commit his mass murder unopposed.
The shooting at Virginia Tech was the same. The gunman in that case struck where he could rampage unopposed, and it only ended when he decided to end it. Major Hasan, at Fort Hood, knew full well that under ordinary circumstances, on an Army installation, despite the arms-rooms full of weaponry and bunkers full of munitions, soldiers do not walk around armed, and when on those rare occasions they train under arms, they do so without ammunition on hand. A military base, should you penetrate its perimeter security, is a place where a shooter can rampage for some time without opposition, and Major Hasan was in the Army, so he knew this all too well. He did not launch his attack in a restaurant off-post, where he might well be able to kill service-members, but might also encounter an armed civilian. He knew his greatest chance of “success” in his spree of “work-place violence” would be where he would find legally disarmed victims.
More than two decades ago, when George Hennard rammed through the front of a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas, nearly within sight of the gates of the same Army post, he set in motion more than mass murder. One of the survivors of that attack, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, whose parents were both killed in the assault, fought to see the concealed-carry law enacted. She had a gun, but it was in her vehicle, as she did not wish to run afoul of the law, so she never carried it in her purse as she would have preferred. Testifying in passionate words before the legislature, she explained how if only she had possessed the slightest idea that this attack was imminent, she would have risked all the sanctions of law to have her parents back. Who would blame her? She would have operated on the basis of the old maxim: “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” but she had no idea an attack was only moments away as she walked into the restaurant. Almost nobody ever does, except the killers.
We have seen these senseless acts of brutality enacted upon innocent people for too long to be mere bystanders caught up in the drama the media lays before us. We have been told for generations that if we only stripped guns from law-abiding persons, or limited the types of guns, or prohibited this feature or that, our world and our lives would be safer. It has never worked, and I don’t believe for one moment that the proponents of such laws believe it will have any effect, except perhaps to leave us defenseless against them. Let me tell you what I do believe is their real motive: They fear the day that we realize the treachery they’ve enacted, and that while they ride around in bullet-proof limousines that consume a gallon of gasoline in six miles because of their weight, and while they are escorted by well-armed bodyguards who are highly trained to react to any threat to their persons, and as they pontificate on the evil of guns upon which they rely to keep them safe, they have hypocritically, sanctimoniously argued that you should not be afforded the same privilege.
If you are part of the favored elite or privileged classes, whether a politician or celebrity, you will be afforded every exemption known to man, and you will be able to buy licensed private protection to care for your well-being. If you are a single mom, on your way home from work with your children, you will have no such privilege when a hooligan smashes your window at a stoplight, sticks a gun in your face, and does unspeakable harm to you and your family. If you are a retired school teacher, walking alone in the park, you will not have the benefit of such protection, or even the ability to defend your own person, outnumbered by multiple youthful attackers. If you’re a young man on a date with your girlfriend at the movies, you will not be given the chance to defend her from a villain, all because the masterminds have decided you’re a bigger liability than you are an asset, by whatever twisted calculus they apply to the lives of we “lesser” men. A father will be forbidden from wielding arms in defense of his children, because the geniuses have decided that there is an acceptable rate of loss to the inevitable mad-men who arise to commit heinous crimes against their fellow men.
Do you think the police can protect you? On Friday night in New York, a police officer was stationed at every movie theater in the city, to give the appearance of security and to defraud the prospective movie-goers of that city into believing they would be safe. Don’t go to the play, the musical, or the rock concert, because all the cops are occupied elsewhere. At this moment, the criminal element in New York is likely assessing the possibility of carrying out crimes at locations well away from movie theaters, knowing that the response times will be slower since the police are otherwise engaged. Do you think thugs don’t watch CNN or FoxNews? All around the country, cities are putting on a show of force at movie theaters, but that’s all it is: A show.
Ladies and gentlemen, we must no longer yield the means of our personal defense. We must not cede responsibility for our protection to the likes of Michael Bloomberg, who enjoys protection provided at taxpayers’ expense while we languish at the mercy of every would-be mass murder who would demonstrate that a “gun-free zone” is only gun-free so long as it is inhabited strictly by law-abiding citizens. Too often, these venues are the precise targets of choice for those who would do others harm. For once, as happened two decades ago here in Texas, the people of America should consider that rather than restricting the instrument on the basis of the preposterous notion that any one of us might lose our minds at any given moment, we ought again yield to the natural fact that none has a greater interest in or capacity for your defense than you. Not Mayor Bloomberg. Not even the most conscientious cop. You.
Editor’s note: I realize some will take offense at my remarks above, particularly with respect to the Mushmouth of New York. Tough. His maniacal launching of an attack on the 2nd Amendment in the wake of this tragedy earned him all the contempt reasonable people may wish to heap upon him, and certainly much more than I have mustered here. He and his cohorts who opportunistically utilize such circumstances to advance their anti-freedom agenda are a blight on this country, and I will offer such charlatans no quarter in my assessments.
As for the people of Aurora, Colorado, particularly those who have suffered directly the grievous loss and the trauma of this nightmarish event, you have the sympathies and support of every American of good will. When I have seen images from the scene, of first responders, health-care workers, and members of the community who have reached out to help their fellows in a time of despair, I am heartened by what are the inestimable good graces of so many fine people rendering all the aid they are able. On this website, I often focus on the doom and gloom in which so much of our world seems to have become cloaked, but this day, in Aurora Colorado, while I see a grim tragedy, I also see reason for hope, not in some shoddy politician offering slogans, but in the actions and the fraternal love I see among the people there. When I am asked why I am proud to be an American, it is because such people as these give light and love to our country even in its darkest hours, when it would be easier to simply turn it all off in order to avoid the horror. I recently explained that I had been searching for America, and in the finest devotion to purpose, and in the greatest tradition of American spirit I’ve seen in a community wracked by terror, I have found her, and she is still thriving. May those souls be at peace, and may America take their survivors into the bosom of her fullest compassion.