Gun Ban Results In Tragic Deaths
-- National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned
assault rifles were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a paramilitary
extremist faction. Military and law enforcement officials estimate that 72
were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were
compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage
declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens,
has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.
Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism
directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the
group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order
authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with
the government's efforts to secure law and order.
The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed
widespread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed
assault weapons. Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and
ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting earlier
this month between government and military leaders at which the governor
authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.
One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the
extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily."
Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large
supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to
seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from
heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped-off regarding the
During a tense standoff in Lexington's town park, National
Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation,
ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The
impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of
the right-wing extremists.
Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.
Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the
extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed
citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units.
Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob, ordered a
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the
state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order.
The governor has also demanded the surrender of those responsible for
planning and leading the attack against the government forces. Samuel
Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as
"ringleaders" of the extremist faction, remain at large.
New American magazine (Author is unknown).
Guns in America's Classrooms?
by Carmen Tassone
hen will Americans stop pointing fingers and start taking responsibility for their actions?
I don't think placing blame elsewhere will solve any of the problems we face today. In
particular, I don't see violence in our classrooms as the fault of the gun, but rather
as an undesirable byproduct of our societal leniency toward immoral behavior, the lack
of parental control and discipline over their children, and the inability of today's
children to develop and utilize self-control.
Dr John Rosemond, a family psychologist from North Carolina,
wrote in a column for The State newspaper, "No, the recent tragedy in
Littleton is not symptomatic of lax gun control, but rather lax parents, lax schools,
lax discipline, lax standards, lax expectations, and a culture which has become lax to
the point of virtual indifference when it comes to morals, personal responsibility,
and critical thinking." (Jasper)
Furthermore, I don't see banning guns to be the answer. "Guns don't
kill, people kill." And until we accept this simple truth, we will never get to the root
of the problem. And if we continue to displace fault, I believe we will continue to
experience similar tragic school shootings and remain victims of violent crimes.
Before legislators introduce or enact more gun control provisions,
I would like to remind our lawmakers of another very obvious fact: Criminals, by the
nature of their trade and their intended aim neither follow nor value law; in fact, they
break and circumvent the law. So, more controls intended to curb criminal activities will
do nothing more than violate the rights of law-abiding citizens.
An obvious, but overlooked aspect of disarming the lawful public would
be their inability to protect themselves when confronted by the lawless--those with guns.
Something not reported in the media is how guns in fact save lives and stop violent crimes.
Australia recently forced gun owners to surrender their personal firearms. For 25
years, Australia had seen a decline in armed robberies, but since this new law was enacted,
armed robberies have increased 44 percent. Other interesting facts include, the
country's homicide rate has gone up 3.2 percent, its assaults have risen 8.6 percent, and
in the state of Victoria alone, homicides from firearms have gone up 300 percent. (Quinn)
Armed with only common sense, it is obvious to me that criminals will
less likely commit violent acts with or without guns, if they know there is a chance their
intended victims will be tooting side arms. It should be understood that criminals normally
target the weak, or as it is commonly referred to: "soft targets." Schools are
soft targets because of the 1996 federal "Kohl Law," which restricts people from taking
guns within 2,000 feet of a school; thus making schools "free murder zones." (Jasper)
Anti-gun advocates who believe such a law will reduce gun violence in our schools are
gravely mistaken. Do they actually believe a a criminal is going to follow that law. On
the other hand, if citizens are permitted the right-to-carry, when criminals do follow
through with violent acts on soft targets, armed citizens can take measures to protect
themselves, as well as, people who otherwise would be targets for criminals.
Law professor John R. Lott from the University of Chicago confirmed
this through his research on gun violence. Lott claimed that "concealed-handgun
laws reduced death and injuries from mass public shootings to zero." Lott reported "For
those states from which data are available before and after the passage of such laws,
the mean per-capita death rate from mass shootings in those states plummeted by 69
percent." (Jasper) Even more important, States that have laws allowing citizens to carry
concealed handguns, have a better chance of stopping, if not deterring gun violence than
those States without this law. (Jasper)
In fact, Lott detailed when concealed handgun laws went into effect in
a county, "murders fell by about 8 percent, rapes fell by 7 percent." And according to
Lott, States that don't have the right-to-carry concealed gun provisions could have avoided
1,570 murders, 4,177 murders and over 60,000 aggravated assaults annually. (Jasper) The
point here is clear, guns save lives and prevent violence.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro-gun, but I'm not anti-gun either.
And I'm not, nor have I ever been an NRA advocate. But I don't see disarming the public
as a way of stopping the violence. In fact, I see it as a contributing factor in the rise
of violent acts, as apparent in Australia.
I would like to once more emphasis my position on guns. I've never owned
a gun, and I probably never will. The only time I've ever shot a gun was in Basic Training.
However, my reluctance to own or use a gun doesn't give me the right to infringe upon
someone else's right to have a gun; no matter the reason for their wanting one. And I'm
sorry if some people disagree, but the Second Amendment of the US Constitution clearly
gives Americans the right to own guns, and any abridge to that right would
Several times in America's history the Supreme Court has had to rule
on whether bearing arms was an individual's right or a collective right of a State. "Since
1857 the Supreme Court has treated the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual
right." (Fezell) Probably the most famous of these decisions was the Dred Scott Case
(Scott v. Stanford). At the time, southern slave owners were not for freeing their
slaves, let alone wanting to give them the right to bare arms, but in this case, the high
court declared a person's skin color did not prohibit the individual's
right to own and bear arms. (Fezell)
Although the Supreme Court has held the Second Amendment as an
individual's right, I would like to stress that this amendment isn't just another one of
our rights. It is the bedrock to all our other rights. It is the very foundation that
supports and secures all of our individual rights afforded to us by our Constitution and
the blood that has been spilt to protect this time-honored document and our way of life.
And to me, a pursuit to ban guns in the United States would be futile. But if such laws
were enacted to take away or limit the Second Amendment, I see it as the beginning to the
end of our other rights and freedoms. If the public allows the government to limit or
remove the bedrock amendment, other individual rights will fall; such as
freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and freedom from unreasonable
searches and seizures; just to mention a few.
Therefore, I feel we should direct our attention and efforts to more
meaningful, apposite and realistic solutions to the gun problem. And though efforts
by most anti-gun advocates are praiseworthy, I feel they are attacking the problem from
the wrong angle. For instance, in today's age of medicine, a doctor doesn't just lop off
a person's arm because he or she has a fractured radius, but rather a doctor sets the
bone and puts the arm in a brace for support and to restrict movement so the bone can heal.
But from what I can see, anti-gun advocates are using the lopping-off strategy by blaming
guns for all the violence and by calling for the elimination of guns.
The anti-gun advocates base their so-called solution on a belief if they
can get rid of all the guns, the problem will go away. But they need to realize they'd be
kidding themselves if they think they can actually get rid of all the guns. There is no
doubt that they'll be unable to get all the criminal or illegal guns. And any attempt to
disarm the public is simply playing into the hands of the criminal element in our society
and into the clutches of a government wanting more control over its people.
Banning guns will not stop the violence, it will only open the door to more violence and
attacks on the general law-abiding citizen.
year will go down in history.
For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration.
Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient,
and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
--Adolph Hitler, 1933
What's more, I don't see any attempt to dismantle a Constitutional
right as a way to resolve illegal acts or as a way to get to the source of the problem.
Matter of fact, I see such attempts more counterproductive than productive. I don't see
taking people's rights away to be the answer to anything; surely not the solution to such
a complicated problem as gun violence.
From education and experience, I've learned in order to solve a problem,
it must first be clearly defined. And I don't believe either side has clearly identified
the problem as of yet. And so, confusion about a resolution is the ultimate result. But in
short, I believe a clear definition of the gun problem in America's classrooms is our
children have unrestricted access to guns, and our children have the will to use them to
cause harm to others and to themselves.
Note this problem is two fold. One part is the fact that children have
unrestricted access to weapons, while the other part is that they are willing to use these
weapons to do harm to themselves or to others.
To solve the first part of the problem, I think it would be logical to
simply deny children access to these weapons. How? Well, I believe a senior researcher by
the name of David Kennedy at Harvard University's Kennedy school of government has found
the answer. He "believes police can drastically reduce crime by going after the people
who make guns so accessible to juveniles." (Cooperman) According to Kennedy, going after
the illegal dealers will take the guns out of the hands of our children. This would also
apply to convicted felons who could use these weapons for violent acts.
Since Boston initiated a strategy against illegal gun dealers, the city
has not experienced a single death of a young person from a firearm for more than two
years. Kennedy attributes this achievement "to gang prevention and gun tracing." (Cooperman)
To me such a strategy makes good, sound sense. The legal gun
dealers are not the ones supplying guns to our children, but rather, its the "straw buyer"
who purchases 30 to 40 guns at a time and then resells them on the street illegally.
(Cooperman) Tracing the legal sell of guns to the illegal use of guns will lead to the
illegal dealers supplying the guns to our children. To me the illegal gun dealers
(the suppliers) are the ones we need to get off our streets.
Kennedy said, "Three years ago, if you looked around the
country and said 'what are you doing about people selling guns to adult felons and
juveniles?' the answer was essentially 'nothing.'" But today he says this is not so.
been this historically unprecedented, and by any measure appalling
increase, in youth gun violence in the last 10-12 years."
Kennedy, Harvard Univ.
Does this mean Kennedy has found the solution of guns in our
classroom? Maybe. It could solve the first part of the problem by reducing the appeal
of gangs to our youth and tracing legal gun sells to illegal acts that lead back to the
illegal dealers. This in turn, reduces the supply of guns and increases their value of
the weapons on the street. And according Daniel Webster, an assistant professor at the
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore, "It's a pretty
revolutionary idea." He goes on to say, "When you dry up supply, cost goes up and
the market goes down, it's classic macroeconomics." (Cooperman)
Such a strategy would keep the Second Amendment intact, while at
the same time it would reduce violent crimes committed by our children (and felons) with
guns. The author of the article Kids Can Easily Get Guns wrote, "It worked -- gang
violence plummeted" when referring to the results from other cities, twenty-five in all,
that have followed Boston's success by initiating similar strategies against gangs and
guns in their cities. (Wouters) For instance, Minneapolis experienced "an 80% drop in its
homicide rate last summer." (Cooperman) Success stories like these will continue to make
our schools and our streets safer for our children. Even the federal government has
recently reported that violent crimes have been steadily on the decline for the past
eight years. (CNN)
However, I would advise everyone to be skeptical of surveys and studies.
In particular, the reports we are force feed by the government and the news media. The
results of any survey can be easily skewed by simply wording questions in a particular
way or asking certain question in a certain order. Also, reports can be harmful if only
certain statistics are reported. I question the merit of the FBI report on crime.
Specifically, because I feel it is suspect since it states, "Texas appeared to fare worst
in 1999, with crime on the increase in 12 of its 26 cities included in the report." (CNN)
In an election year, why else would such a report be released and single out the state of
Texas, except to discredit the Republican Presidential Candidate, George W. Bush. But such
scrutiny on my part goes beyond this essay and I will have to leave it for another day.
So, to get back to the issue at hand, I believe if we are able to
resolve the first part of the gun problem, in most respects, it will directly influence and
effect the second part of the problem--children willing to harm themselves and others with
guns. If they don't have the guns, they can't use them against others or themselves.
Although keeping the guns out of our children's hands could diminish the second part of
the problem, doing so does not completely eliminate school violence. But the sort of
school violence I'm referring to is fist fights, something that has been happening long
before gun violence ever made its way into our classrooms. We should however, understand
such school-ground violence will occur. And though I don't suggest we accept this type of
violence in our schools, we should not overreact when it does occur, and we should be
prepared to firmly handle such violence and understand that such venting is natural and is
better than the alternative. That is to say, a boiling kettle will explode if it doesn't
blow a little steam. And I believe adolescent boys (and girls) need to blow a little steam
from time to time to keep from exploding. And I suppose, this could be true for adults as
To conclude, I'd like to say having lived in Japan for sixteen years, I
believe I understand why this country is known for its safety. I won't deny Japan has
similar crimes and problems that America faces, but crimes here are not so widespread, nor
are they anywhere near the scale of terror as in America. I attribute this to the
Japanese culture and people. It seems they approach child disobedience differently than we
Americans, and it seems to work very well.
Up to the age of five, a Japanese children are able to do whatever they
wants. But once they turn five, they are held accountable for their actions and are taught
to respect other people and other people's property. This begins from their first days of
school and continues on through their adolescence and on into their adulthood, as well as,
into their careers and occupations.
Respect for others is a part of the Japanese language, it is a part of
their culture, and it is a part of their way of life. Disgracing one's family and/or
company is the ultimate dishonor a Japanese person can do. I believe we Americans can learn
a valuable lesson from the Japanese. We should teach our children at an early age to be
respectful of others, and we should hold them accountable for their actions. To me, these
are missing components in our society today, and the lack thereof may be the underlying
cause for many of the problems we face today, particularly with our children. Respect is
key, both for oneself and for others. Without respect, I feel civil disobedience and lack
of individual restraint are the resulting consequences to a society, and the likely root
to its demise.