Monday, January 14, 2013

Gun Control: The Matter of Good and Evil

From Artesia to Bakersfield
The Matter of Good and Evil
Gun Control
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Twelve years after Rachel Scott was killed in the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee invited her dad, Darrell Scott, to testify in a hearing. What Mr. Scott had to say was not the message that Democratic law makers wanted to hear.
            His message began with the reminder that violence associated with the intent to kill was not new. In fact, scripture reminds us that the first recorded act of deadly violence came not from unknown combatants but hostilities of one brother against another. When Cain slew his brother Abel, the club in his hand wasn’t the issue. It was what was found in Cain’s heart.
            Mr. Scott’s message began with a reminder to the lawmakers that the problem wasn’t going to be solved in a blame search. Rather, it is our spiritual rights that time and again have been attacked and vilified. His blunt message suggested that much of the fault lies behind the pointing fingers of the legislative accusers sitting in front of him.
His remarks were best summarized in a poem he wrote attempting to clarify how he should craft his words. His poem was:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now, gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And you ask the question, “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!
            Israel, 1972
            The world changed in 1972. Jim McKay, ABC Sports, became the first play by play terrorist commentator in the history of the world as he reported on the abduction of Israeli athletes in Munich at the Olympic Games. Those of us who stared with incredulity at our television sets should have had an inkling that something bigger was at play.
            Two years prior to the Munich tragedy Israel itself was locked in a bitter internal conflict of the armed threat to children in its public schools. The gun control advocates wanted to outlaw guns, period. Just like their counterparts today, their insistence on the elimination of guns meant safety to them. The leadership, however, recognized that disarming Israeli citizenry only meant exposing Israel to greater threat.
            Israel addressed gun violence to their children by arming administrators and teachers. Today, Israel remains under the insane demand to tolerate rocket attacks by its Arab foes, but school shootings don’t occur. Reality prevailed, leadership displayed courage, and school age children are not being shot.
            Artesia to Bakersfield
            Artesia, New Mexico recently added “In God We Trust” to their city’s official logo. Their decision was prompted by Bakersfield, California.
            Bakersfield has been urging like minded communities to adopt the phrasing for some time. Back in 2001, Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan urged her own board to post the phrase in their Council Chambers. Since that time, Ms. Sullivan founded In God We Trust America Inc. to push the idea nationally. Today, more than 300 municipalities in 12 states have taken the challenge. Their unified stance has been to maintain the national commitment even when national leaders have shown inclination to ignore the foundational tenant.
            It was no surprise when an article appeared about another Bakersfield resident in the debate over gun control. His message mirrored the result founded in the Israeli decision of 40 years ago.
Retired law enforcement firearms instructor, Mike Waidelich, was asked about his extensive career. Mr. Waidelich said, “Nearly every tragedy on and off school grounds in the entire 30 years of my law enforcement career could have been prevented or the damage done considerably limited by the presence of an armed and trained individual.”
Waidelich’s opinion is also demonstrated in research. University of Chicago work has pulled together some very compelling results. In reviewing data from 1977 through 1992 in all 3054 counties across the United States, researchers have projected that 1570 murders, 4177 rapes, and 60,020 aggravated assaults would have been prevented by the intervention of trained, armed, and committed citizens.  
Notice the results indicate committed citizens as opposed to trained professionals. The distinction of that implication is very important. An example of that can be found in a head to head competition in California. The event pitted 80 seasoned law enforcement officers against 80 citizens who had gone through a program in Windsor, California. The instruction provider, an outfit called Front Sight, specializes in personal defensive training for citizens. The competition pitted trainee graduates against the armed professionals. The citizens prevailed in over 50% of the competition.
Interviews with the winners revealed they believed that the ability to shoot was important, but it was only part of the process. The ability to rationalize and interpret a situation was equally important. It was supremely important if the citizen was vested in the threat.
Just like Israeli teachers have demonstrated, their commitment and their actions are magnified in the face of imminent danger … especially if it threatens their children.
Real World
Our world changed last Friday.
At promptly 12:17 PM, I got a call from Kathy informing me that the school our third granddaughter, Emma, attends in El Paso was under lock down. A shooter was reported.
For over an hour, the confusion that reigned was extreme. Emma’s mother, our second daughter, Lindsay, received a text from within the school reporting that no shots had been heard. She also knew that the school had initiated its prescribed imminent threat drill and the children and teachers carried it out flawlessly.
A rumor ensued that the shooter was actually in the high school in which Emma’s elementary school was associated. That rumor proved to be false. In fact, a hooded character with a shotgun had been seen by a janitor on the elementary school grounds. The janitor had immediately triggered the alarm.
Task teams from nearly every branch of law enforcement converged on the school grounds. Nobody could approach the school beyond an enforced perimeter blocks away.
As of this morning, there is no suspect in custody. We are told there is a suspect on security tape that does appear to fit the janitor’s description. That person of interest fled as soon as the alarm was sounded.
The reports from the law enforcement teams that entered the school are interesting. They indicate that the school appeared to be empty. Not a person was seen. Not a child was heard. Every person had done what they had been taught.
It is important to relate my own reaction to the threat that my granddaughter faced within those walls. My reaction was fairly matter of fact. My granddaughter’s safety was the only priority. I could care less about the mental state or the contrived predicament the reported shooter might suffer. I wanted him eliminated.
In that hour or so of suspense, the only defense of my granddaughter was a weapon in the hands of a person who was committed to her safety. That weapon wasn’t my enemy. That shooter was. My granddaughter hadn’t assaulted the idiocy and the mind of a coward. Rather, that coward had assaulted my world and that of my precious child. He had no right to that. In fact, the moment he carried a gun upon school property he lost all rights.
There is no disagreement the mind of that shooter needs help, but I can’t help him any more than I can now change the outcome of Cain’s anger against his brother more than 280 generations ago. Perhaps somebody can help him, but the trade for his rehabilitation in the face of innocent children is no trade.
My posture is not predicated on unattainable social justice, and I refuse to be lumped into the ranks of the accused solely on the basis of my political beliefs. My family, friends, and neighbors don’t intrude into the lives of the innocent, and, if they did, I would unequivocally support actions to halt their offenses.
I want an administrator armed and ready to defend innocent children. If there is threat, I want him running to that point of threat with the objective intent to defend innocence immediately and forcibly.
Darrell Scott is right. We are the targets of words that suggest we are the problem. We are not the enemy. The right to bear arms is a fundamental right we take seriously. More importantly, our right to prayer is yet more profound. In his closing statement, Scott related how his son had also prayed for his safety in the midst of the Columbine debacle.
“I defy any law or politician to deny him that right!” Scott said.
We agree, Mr. Scott … WE AGREE!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I surmise that Cain may have had a different scowl on his face if Abel had turned to face him and his club … with any Ruger.”

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