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Editor’s note: This is part three of a three-part series examining nine policy change suggestions from student journalists at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. You can read part 1 and part 2 on LibertyNation.com now.
In the first two parts, the arguments for gun control included a suspension of your rights, laws that already exist, and the basic destruction of the Constitution among other idiocies. In this final segment, we take a look at the last preposterous ideas presented by the Parkland kids.
Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals
“Federal and state government should earmark more funds specifically for mental health services.”
The primary issue with this suggestion is that just having a mental illness, in general, does not make one more likely to end up killing dozens of people. Bethany Lilly, an attorney with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, says that “the risk factors for gun violence are being a young, angry, socially isolated man. Sometimes in the constellation of effects, you will also have people with mental illness.” A study published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2016 found that very few who suffer from mental illness actually become violent criminals:
“Mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides. In contrast, deaths by suicide using firearms account for the majority of yearly gun-related deaths.
The overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crime is only about 3%. When these crimes are examined in detail, an even smaller percentage of them are found to involve firearms.”
Moreover, to take another line from Liberty Nation’s Scott Cosenza’s article on the Dickey Amendment, “the Constitution does not authorize Congress to spend money on health studies or promote policy changes.”
Increase funding for school security
“We believe that schools should be given sufficient funds for school security and resource officers to protect the entire campus.”
Is it true that, in general, more armed guards and other security measures will make shooters less likely to enter schools – or at least make it easier to stop them when they do? Almost certainly. As a father of two, if my options are to send my daughters to a school full of cops or one that leaves them defenseless to mass shooters, my little girls will be learning “the three Rs” in the police sub-station! Indeed, while still not quite on the mark, this is the most sensible of the nine suggestions these kids have.
The problem is that we’re talking about tax dollars. This relies on increasing the amount of money that is pulled – whether we like it or not – out of our incomes. How much cash do we throw at the problem before it goes away? Marjory Stoneman Douglas only had one resource officer. How many would have made a difference, four? There were four deputies present who refused to act before officers from another department arrived and engaged the shooter. By contrast, the school resource officer at Great Mills High School in Maryland was just one armed man, and he stopped a shooter before anyone could be killed – with only two students injured.
What’s the answer then? LN’s Leesa K. Donner makes a good argument for arming teachers. And the great thing is that teachers don’t necessarily have to carry if they don’t want to. In general, they don’t have to be recruited and compensated as armed guards. Simply allowing those who would normally carry a weapon concealed to continue to do so while at the school would organically create an armed and somewhat secret security force to protect the school – without costing the taxpayer one red cent.
Not all teachers and other employees would carry, but many would. And if no-one – not even the students or administration – knew who was carrying and when, the armed faculty members could retain the tactical advantage of concealed carry. They won’t be the obvious first target for a shooter, as someone open carrying – like a police officer – would be.
As for where to spend those education dollars, the Guardian piece certainly demonstrates that there are more critical areas on which to focus when it comes to improvements to the nation’s public school systems.
The Right to Self-Defense
The failing of all gun control measures – no matter how “common sense” they may appear on the surface – is that they all violate the spirit of the Second Amendment: the idea that self-defense – whether against a tyrannical government or a common ruffian – is a basic human right. The Declaration of Independence recognizes as a self-evident truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It goes on to explain that when a government fails to represent its people, it is the right and duty of the people to abolish it and begin anew. Note that there is no restriction on those rights; the same is true of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. There are no groups of people who are singled out as not enjoying the right to self-defense.
It doesn’t matter if a person is a law-abiding citizen of sound body and mind, a career criminal with multiple felony convictions, or a delusional paranoid schizophrenic; if the individual isn’t in the act of committing a crime or violating someone else’s rights – and if those coming after him aren’t the police lawfully serving a warrant for some past crime – then even the criminal and the madman have the right to be secure in, and defend, their own persons and homes.
However, if that criminal or madman, or even previously a law-abiding citizen, decides to turn his weapon on another in an unprovoked attack, that would-be victim has the right to take up arms in self-defense. The why of it is inconsequential. It doesn’t matter if a drunk neighbor gets mad and decides to shoot someone, if a career criminal wants to hold someone up at gunpoint, or if the delusional paranoid schizophrenic thinks he’s Batman, an AR-15 is a Batarang launcher, and his victim is the Joker; the victim has the right to self-defense. The answer to gun violence – as odd as it might sound at first – isn’t to ban guns or even certain types of guns. It is to encourage everyone to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and then to make sure people are educated about firearms and their rights.
After all, gun control laws only serve to disarm the law-abiding citizen. Heard that line before? It’s an old one.
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
And it is as true now as it was when Thomas Jefferson wrote it back in the 18th century.