Cutting through the distortions and hype, here are facts about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. None of the guns of the Newtown shooter were automatic (instead, like virtually all guns, one trigger pull is needed for each bullet fired); all were legal (though he took them from his mother without her permission, which is a crime); he left a shotgun in the car (which would have killed just as many, if not more, with considerably fewer rounds and less effort); and his primary targets were six-year-olds who physically couldn’t fight back.
But forget all that. It’s the guns’ fault, we’re told.
Now, investment in Freedom Group, the company that makes the rifle used in the crime, is being withdrawn by a large private equity firm, despite Freedom’s impressive financials. Why? Because investors will feel good about themselves by blaming a convenient scapegoat, in this case the “evil” gun manufacturer—in much the same way the gun maker in the D.C. Sniper case was sued and eventually paid a settlement in that tragedy. The lesson? Clearly the sniper himself wasn’t completely responsible for his own actions. The gun manufacturer was complicit, too.
Even more pathetic are the ultra-neurotic parents rushing to buy bulletproof school bags and even body armor for their children, with sales in both skyrocketing. Backpacks designed to stop bullets—that’s just brilliant. What’s next? A cop for each student? What apparently hasn’t dawned on these folks is that ballistic backpacks wouldn’t have saved a single child in Newtown, since the shooting started at 9:30 and presumably all backpacks had already been put away.
And how off-the-wall is it to think that of America’s 140,000 schools, the next tragedy will be at yours? That’s like not flying for fear a terrorist will pick your plane—from among the 30,000 commercial flights per day in America. There’s another term for that: being a slave to fear.
Perhaps most disturbing in the Newtown aftermath is that the Sandy Hook Elementary School will be closed for months—“indefinitely,” actually, according to Connecticut State Police—as the criminal investigation continues. Call me crazy, but I think we know who committed this heinous act. And he’s dead. So why the ridiculously long school closure? To “dot every i and cross every t”? If so, that’s insane, and only rubs salt in an already painful wound. If the investigating authorities are even mildly competent, everything that could offer a clue into who did it (which we know) or, more importantly, why, should have already been found.
The police stated their intention to analyze “every single round of ammo for evidence.” Great. What they think they’ll find by doing so is beyond comprehension, but they should be doing it at the crime lab—not the school.
Every day Sandy Hook stays closed longer than necessary further traumatizes parents, teachers, and most of all, the children. Either close the school permanently (a bad idea, since it would morbidly give the shooter a shrine and allow him some sort of sick victory), or infinitely better, get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Fill the school again with our children—our future—and send the message that America will never be paralyzed by fear and that evil will never triumph.
America made a huge mistake by taking over a decade (and counting) to erect a skyscraper in the footprint of the World Trade Center. By not being bold and decisive, we gave a moral victory to our enemy, showing our weakness and fear. You can bet that if the same happened in Russia or China, they would have constructed a bigger and better building in record time.
Why are we making the same mistake with Sandy Hook? Indecisiveness and focusing on the wrong issues only fuels the fire of other lunatics and copycats.
And guess what? Until we truly look in the mirror, this will happen again. You can do everything discussed above, and it will still occur, because they are tactics, not strategy. Big difference.
This didn’t happen in the 1950s—or even the 1980s or most of the ’90s—when access to guns was considerably easier than now. We didn’t lock school doors a generation ago; we didn’t have lockdowns; we didn’t whitewash everything; and we didn’t get trophies for losing. Oh, and we didn’t kill people when something didn’t go our way or we had hurt feelings. But that’s another column.
It is time to stop kicking the can down the road while patting ourselves on the back for “solutions” that won’t solve anything except to soothe our own egos. If we tackle our problems head-on with the resolve that is uniquely American, then our enemies, both foreign and domestic, will be vanquished and America will once again lead through strength, not stagnate in fear.