Armed citizens, self-government and the U.S. Constitution

Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Liberals have declared war on gun rights. Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun-control zealots have seized on the murder of 20 children and 6 adults to push their long-time goal: rolling back the Second Amendment. The bodies of the victims were not even cold before the progressive blogosphere was blaming the National Rifle Association for the heinous atrocity.

President Obama is calling for sweeping new gun restrictions — including restoring the assault weapons ban and limiting ammunition in magazine clips. MSNBC host Ed Shultz seeks the out-right “confiscation of guns.” CNN’s Piers Morgan wants America to adopt Great Britain’s rigid gun laws. Ultimately, the left’s argument boils down to one seminal belief: The primary cause for our epidemic of mass shootings lies in technology — the wide availability of firearms. Restrict access to guns, liberals claim, and violence will be curbed significantly.

Officer Jeff Nowacki watches bus riders depart from Huntersville Elementary in Huntersville, N.C. / Travis Dove / The New York Times

This is not only false, but blatant propaganda. The Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was severely mentally ill. His mother, Nancy Lanza, who was also murdered by her son, proved unable to find appropriate treatment. Instead, according to press accounts, she kept him isolated in a windowless basement for long hours each day, where he played violent video games. No one is willing to confront this painful truth: our culture’s obsession with video games, especially those that glorify mass killing, senseless brutality and bloodlust, is desensitizing our youth.

Adam Lanza was a deranged individual, who spent countless hours in a virtual reality slaughtering imaginary human beings. He also lacked necessary medical treatment — including medication. His life was a combustible mix, ready to blow at any moment. The results were predictable and ominous: Someone was going to get hurt. The only question was how many.

The massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech University, Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Sandy Hook all had one thing in common: The perpetrators suffered from serious mental illness. The recent rash of mass shootings has nothing to do with guns; rather, it is our society’s refusal to involuntarily institutionalize the violently mentally ill. Since the 1970s, liberals — in the name of “civil rights” — succeeded in opening-up the doors of psychiatric hospitals and releasing psychologically disturbed patients. This has enabled mentally unstable individuals to roam our streets. The consequences have been disastrous — soaring homelessness, rampant poverty, rising crime, and an explosion in random murderous atrocities.

The schools, malls and movie theaters where these crimes took place also had something else in common: They were gun-free zones. If banning firearms was the solution, those places should have been safe havens. They weren’t. The reason is obvious. Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves, leaving them defenseless against ruthless gunmen. The principal and teachers at Sandy Hook stood helpless as Lanza shot them in cold blood. They were like sheep to the slaughter.

Norway has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. This did not stop a madman last summer from massacring nearly 80 people — many of them children — at a summer camp outside Oslo. To think that gun control can prevent mass violence is a leftist utopian fantasy. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 using a fertilizer-based truck bomb. The worst school atrocity occurred in Michigan in 1927 when 38 children — ages 7 to 11 — along with seven adults were murdered. The weapons that were used: three primitive, homemade bombs. Evil is a fundamental reality of life. It cannot be wished away. It must be faced down and defeated.

This is why the only policy answer to the wave of mass shootings is not less guns, but more guns. In particular, gun-free zones should be dismantled at schools. It’s time that education budgets incorporate the hiring of security personnel — say, two guards per school — who will be armed and trained to use deadly force against any future potential shooter. Ideally, they would be ex-military, who possess experience in dealing with surprise attacks and volatile situations. Just the fact that schools are known to have armed agents protecting students and staff will significantly deter gun violence.

Yet, the Democratic left is determined to repeal the Second Amendment. Why? The answer is simple: an armed citizenry is pivotal to a self-governing republic. Our Founders enshrined gun rights not because they were bloodthirsty hicks who celebrated a culture of dueling, revenge and honor. Instead, they understood that pervasive gun ownership is a bulwark against excessive state coercive power. A self-reliant people — as opposed to one subservient to rulers — must be capable of defending themselves and their families from dangerous predators. Gun rights are essential to our system of limited government and individual liberty.

For liberals, this is precisely the problem with the Second Amendment. Their aim is to erect a Scandinavian-style social democracy — a North American Sweden. The structure standing in their way is the Constitution. This is why the progressive left has been relentlessly assaulting our Judeo-Christian heritage and constitutional republic. They must vilify — and discredit — our founding principles in order to pave the road for their collectivist revolution. Nothing is more quintessentially American than our gun culture. Secular leftists hate guns because they loathe America. And they will stop at nothing — including exploiting the bodies of dead children — to achieve their radical, anti-American and anti-gun agenda.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist and editorial writer at The Washington Times and WorldTribune.com. He is also the host of “The Kuhner Report” on AM-680 WRKO (www.wrko.com) from 6-9 am and 11 am-noon EST in Boston.

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