Gunsmoke and Mirrors

By Duncan Long

Aug. 18, 1999

     There are some very basic facts about the US school shootings that the gun grabbers in the mainstream press, the US congress, and the White House would prefer you did not know.

     With the usual smoke-and-mirrors style of organizing the mainstream news, the gun grabbers in the US have recently had to be very careful when dealing with school shootings as well as those occurring at businesses and public places. They’ve developed a scheme present the "facts" about school shootings, all the time being careful to misdirect your attention from what is really going on, as any good magician will do.

     This sleight of hand has guided much of the public toward the conclusion that the only right thing to do in such cases is pass more laws and restrictions. This bit of trickery is necessary since the solution to the problem quickly puts the gun grabbers out of business. The truth may make you free, but it also puts the charlatans out of work.

     If you back away from the magic act and let your logic take over, you realize two things:

     The shootings started only recently.

     With a few exceptions, other countries don’t seem to have these problems.

     If you think a bit harder and remember some history, you will also realize that one country had the problem and then solved it — in a way that is totally opposite of what the gun grabbers are proposing as the solution to the problem.

     Those who think will also realize that the recent shootings took place after Clinton and other anti-gun politicians railroaded legislation through congress that banned the possession of a firearm within 100 feet of a school. The legislators claimed this would turn schools into "gun-free zones" of safety. In fact, many schools have a nifty sign with a revolver surrounded by a red circle with a line through it, proclaiming the fact that the area is gun-free; these signs apparently were designed for Illiterate criminals who might be tempted to bring a gun to school.

     Of course such signs are valueless to criminals who by their nature break the law. Such signs only serve to disarm honest people before they enter the school building. Thus criminals can be fairly certain they will face unarmed victims within such an establishment — unless, of course, they confront another criminal.

     Not surprisingly, far from making the nation’s schools safe, the gun bans and worthless signs have had just the opposite effect. All the laws did was make it impossible for principals or teachers to arm themselves, thereby assuring that any criminal who wanted to bully or attack others on school property could do so with the knowledge that his victims would be unarmed. And since criminals by their nature break laws, obviously a law that made schools "gun-free zones" did nothing of the sort. It made them "defenseless students and helpless teacher zones" where any madman armed with a gun could maim and kill as he wished.

     There have been school shootings in which the culprits were stopped long before the police finally arrived at the scene. These all involved the use of a firearm in the hands of a principal or teacher. Of course these have got almost no coverage in the US where the gun grabbers manage most newsrooms. The most notable to occur in America was in October 1997 when a young man stabbed his mother to death and then went to a school prom where he fatally shot two students. An assistant principal retrieved a gun from his car and physically immobilized the student until the police arrived; the principal’s illegal actions saved many lives (source: John R. Lott, Jr., "The Real Lesson of the School Shootings," Gunnews Magazine, Champaign County Rifle Association, April 21, 1999). The Clinton administration as well as local officials refrained from prosecuting him under the law that made his actions illegal; calling attention to what he did would have shown how poor the law is.

     The solution taken by the mainstream press was to virtually ignore the story and hope no one noticed, or report it in such a way that readers would fail to see what had taken place. And don’t expect this hero to go to the White House to receive any medals for his valor under the current administration.

     Another good example of how the number of public shootings can be reduced by can be seen in how concealed carry of firearms by citizens has worked on US streets. There’s no reason to think that the same wouldn’t occur in US schools should teachers and principals be permitted to carry concealed firearms. In 1996, Professor John Lott, Jr., working with graduate student David Mustard at the University of Chicago, analyzed the FBI’s crime statistics for all 3,054 American counties from 1977 to 1992. The two found that all types of violent crime dropped when concealed carry went into effect.

     This was also true with multiple shootings in public places. The two wrote:

     When states passed [concealed carry laws] during the 19 years we studied, the number of multiple-victim public shootings declined by 84 percent. Deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90 percent, injuries by 82 percent. Higher arrest rates and increased use of the death penalty slightly reduced the incidence of these events, but the effects were never statistically significant.


     The message is clear: If you want to stop shootings in schools (as well as Post Offices, businesses, and so forth), arm honest people.

     This is not the only place where arming people has prevented crime. In fact, one nation has proven that arming school personnel would prevent shootings.

     A quarter of a century ago, terrorists started attacking public malls and schools as a way to quickly kill and maim Israelis. At that time Israel had gun control laws inherited from their days of British rule; those opposed to relaxing these laws claimed the nation would be transformed into some like the US’s "Wild West" (a comment that is always oddly employed by anti-gun ownership people since the "Wild West" actually had lower crime rate than most US cities with strict gun control).

     Fortunately for the school children in Israel, instead of sticking with what was obviously not working, or calling for more gun restrictions (as is currently being done in the US), the Israeli government wisely chose to expand concealed-handgun permits as well as the open arming of school personnel.

     What happened? Soon terrorists found that when they tried to carry out their bloody attacks, the ordinary people around them pulled out pistols to engage them. (This even led one captured terrorist whining that this "wasn’t fair".)

     The bottom line: The use of firearms against Israeli citizens and school children soon dropped and now is a rare event if it occurs. (It is also notable that one of the few recent shooting of schoolchildren in Israel occurred because teachers and parents were forced to give up their weapons. On March 13, 1997, seven Israeli girls were shot to death on a school outing by a Jordanian soldier. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Israelis had "complied with Jordanian requests to leave their weapons behind when they entered the border enclave. Otherwise, they might have been able to stop the shooting, several parents said.")

     Dr. David Schiller, one of those involved in anti-terrorist work in Israel, would later report on how these changes produced the desired results:

     Teachers and kindergarten nurses now started to carry guns, schools were protected by parents (and often grandpas) guarding them in voluntary shifts. No school group went on a hike or trip without armed guards. The Police involved the citizens in a voluntary civil guard project "Mishmar Esrachi", which even had its own sniper teams. The Army’s Youth Group program, "Gadna", trained 15 - 16 year old kids in gun safety and guard procedures and the older high school boys got involved with the Mishmar Esrachi…. When the message got around to the PLO groups and a couple infiltration attempts failed, the attacks against schools ceased. Too much of a risk here: Terrorists and other evildoers don’t like risks.

     But what does all that teach us? (A) schools/kindergartens make for very attractive targets for the deranged gunman as well as for the profit-oriented hostage gangsters or terrorist group, because: (1) everybody sane will cave in to the demands of the evildoers (even somebody as hard-nosed as Golda Meir, may she rest in peace, said during the Maalot incident, that one does not make politics on the backs of one’s children). Nobody wants to play the principles-game when kids are involved. Kidnapping has thus often resulted in the paying of ransom demands. (2) if you crave media attention, as for instance the PLO did in the 70’s, nothing will catch the headlines better than an attack on a school-full of kids.

     (B) Now THAT is the underlying "reason" behind each and every incident that involved killing sprees in schools... from Maalot to Dunblane to Jonesboro. (Source: "Proven Solutions to Ending School Shootings,", Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, April 22, 1999.)


     Like good magicians, the gun grabbers in the US have done their best to conceal the truth. But the message is clear: Make schools a "gun-free zone" and you’ll have criminals bring firearms into the area and kill with little fear of being stopped. As Lott has noted:

     Attempts to outlaw guns from schools, no matter how well meaning, have backfired. Instead of making schools safe for children, we have made them safe for those intent on harming our children. Current school policies fire teachers who even accidentally bring otherwise legal concealed handguns to school. We might consider reversing this policy and begin rewarding teachers who take on the responsibility to help protect children.


     Oddly enough, keeping legally owned guns away from children doesn’t seem to do anything to prevent violence, either. In fact it may do just the opposite. In 1995 — before the gun grabbers had a chance to "edit" a report put out by the US Department of Justice, it was revealed that gun ownership by young people actually reduced the likelihood that they would become criminals. The researchers wrote:

     The socialization into gun ownership is also vastly different for legal and illegal gun owners. Those who own legal guns have fathers who own guns for sport and hunting. On the other hand, those who own illegal guns have friends who own illegal guns and are far more likely to be gang members. For legal gun owners, socialization appears to take place in the family; for illegal gun owners, it appears to take place ‘on the street.

     Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use and are even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns. (Source: "Urban Delinquency and Substance Abuse," U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, NCJ-143454, August 1995.)


     If firearms training makes young men less apt to become juvenile delinquents, one might speculate as to whether the practice of banning toy guns and preventing kids from having access to firearms might cause them to be more likely to abuse these weapons in later life. Does a total "ban" create a "forbidden fruit" effect that might lead to a young person misusing firearms?

     In fact we may have one dramatic case where this appears to have happened. In the shooting at Littleton in 1999, one of the boys charged with the crime, Dylan Klebold, according to neighbors, came from a "gun-free" home where the children weren’t allowed to even play with toy guns. While it would be ridiculous to suggest that failure to permit guns in a home will cause children to become crazed killers, it is painfully obvious in this one case at least, it didn’t prevent such a horror.

     Instead of working to outlaw guns, we should be making them more readily available to citizens and training youngsters to use firearms responsibly. This would be contrary to the purposes of the gun grabbers, however, so don’t hold your breath waiting for the appearance of such legislation or suggestions in the mainstream press. After all, if the population were able to protect itself, there would be no need to heavily tax it to provide all the "fixes" in more regulations and law enforcement personnel to "protect" us from kids with guns.

     Gun control works — just not in the way it’s supposed to when the politicians are promising reduced crime and greater public safety if we would only ban guns, sue the manufacturers, and tax ammunition and firearms. In reality just the opposite results because banning guns or reducing the numbers in the general population increases crime.

     The facts are simple: Permitting honest people to carry guns decreases crime. Disarming citizens makes life safer for criminals.

     What does this tell you about governments and individuals that want to railroad through such policies, often in the wake of a national disaster involving a shooting by a terrorist or madman? What sort of people attempt to pass legislation that will benefit criminals and hurt honest people?

     Perhaps the greatest criminals aren’t the ones doing the shooting, but those gun grabbers in Washington and the mainstream press who work with smoke and mirrors to permit the killers to do their bloody work with little fear of being stopped by an honest person with a firearm.


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Hand Cannons a book about the .50 Caliber Desert Eagle and similar large-bore, powerful hand guns by author Duncan LongHand Cannons by Duncan Long This book gives a detailed look at the Desert Eagle variants as well other .50 caliber and other large semiauto pistols, revolvers, single-shot pistols from the famous .44 Magnum cartridge on up to the mammoth .50 BMG. Long evaluates these massive pistols and reveals how to tame their recoil and muzzle blast to improve their accuracy. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, softcover, photos, illus., 208 pp., Marketed by Paladin Press.

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