Too many people see the Second Amendment merely as a freedom. However, all of our rights, including those described in the Second Amendment, bear significant responsibilities.
Those Second Amendment responsibilities become more obvious when tragedies like the terrorist attack in Norway or the mass murder at Virginia Tech occur. In both of those incidents, a madman had free reign to slaughter innocent people because none of his victims had a simple tool: a firearm.
I argue that it is the responsibility of all free citizens to have firearms close at hand to defend themselves and others against vicious attack.
The term “active shooter” became part of the law enforcement lexicon after two students entered Columbine High School with murder on their minds. Nearly 40 students and teachers were shot, and more than a dozen were killed.
Since that time, police trainers have evaluated and changed training to respond to these spree murderers. Several things have become clear about these mass killers. The most important is this: once engaged by an armed person, the slaughter of innocents stops.
Let me rephrase that so everyone understands this critical point. When an active shooter is walking around killing innocent people, he or she will not stop until an armed person engages them. Once engaged, the killer will stop killing innocent people.
When confronted by an armed citizen or law enforcement officer, the spree killer will typically do one of three things: give up immediately, commit suicide or engage in a shootout with the confronter. Regardless, the slaughter of innocents stops.
In the terrorist incident in Norway, the suspect walked an island killing unarmed teenagers for about 90 minutes but surrendered immediately when confronted by armed police.
In the 2007 Trolley Square mall shooting, a spree killer walked through a mall randomly shooting shoppers. The killing ended as soon as the gunman was engaged by an off-duty police officer. A short time later, responding on-duty officers were able to kill the murderer, but the take-away is no more innocents were injured once the suspect was confronted by an armed citizen.
Also in 2007, a madman attacked and killed worshippers at two different Colorado Springs churches. When he went to a third church to kill more innocents, an armed citizen who was acting as an informal security guard at the church confronted him. During the engagement, the murderer was shot several times by the citizen, and he ultimately committed suicide.
In each of these cases, the killing continued until an armed citizen intervened. Once engaged by an armed good guy, the killers were unable to murder another.
Another key point in each of these incidents is the on-duty police personnel were not on scene when the killing began. During the second and third incidents, on duty police responded quickly, but the armed citizens (one an off-duty officer) are the ones who stopped the killing.
In the Norway incident, the on-duty police stopped the killing, but it took them an hour and a half to reach the scene. How many kids died while waiting for the police to arrive? How many people could have been saved if adults on the island had access to firearms?
Many Americans picture the 9/11 attacks when they think of terrorism. Few remember Mumbai and fewer still know of Beslan.
In 2008, ten terrorists spread out through Mumbai, India. Working in two-man teams, the terrorists murdered at least 165 people at mostly high profile targets including a train station, a children’s hospital, a college, a theater, a restaurant and several hotels. One team targeted Jews in a very low-profile center, clearly indicating their anti-Jewish sentiments.
These two-man teams worked death and destruction throughout Mumbai for three days until government forces were able to regain control. All but one of the terrorists was killed.
These men did not stop killing until they were killed. An unarmed populace was powerless to resist. Nothing short of killing these terrorists is a viable option for survival.
Many Americans feel safely removed from this type of ciolence. However, did you know an American citizen was arrested in Chicago for his role in the planning and scouting of the Mumbai terror attacks? He pled guilty in 2010. Don’t tell me that this same kind of attack isn’t going to happen here.
Nothing could be more agonizing for a parent than to have his or her children placed in peril.
In 2004, Islamic terrorists took over a Russian school, taking some 1,100 people, including more than 750 children, hostage. The police attempted for three days to negotiate with the terrorists for the safe release of the hostages.
The police, though, could not imagine what was going on inside. The terrorists had no intention of releasing hostages. Instead, they pressed the men and boys into forced labor to build blockades and strong points inside the school to prevent and slow the inevitable attack by government forces. As the men and boys completed the projects, they were executed.
Meanwhile, the women and girls were repeatedly raped. When the terrorists tired of a girl, she was killed.
After several days, government units attempted a rescue of the remaining hostages. Booby traps and barricades slowed the police and military units while the terrorists wildly killed hostages.
At the end, 338 people were killed and 700 were wounded. Of the children, 172 were killed.
When a child is killed in a community, it affects every family. What happens to a community that has 172 young children killed by terrorists?
Anti-gun laws here in the US only serve to protect the terrorist. When teachers and parents are denied the right to carry firearms on a school campus, they are denied the ability to defend their children.
The hard truth is that our schools are not impenetrable fortresses, impervious to enemy attack. When terrorists show up to your child’s school, would you rather that some of the teachers were armed? Or would you rather another tragedy like the one in Beslan?
Self Defense is a Responsibility
Most people talk about the Second Amendment as a right. I say it is a responsibility.
You are responsible for your safety. You are responsible for your family’s safety. You are responsible for your neighborhood and community.
When you abrogate your responsibility, relying instead on the government to provide a facade of security, you willfully forfeit your rights to living a peaceful, free existence.