The text of my letter to the editor of the Cleveland Daily Banner (paywall), Cleveland, TN.
Regarding gun deaths, your two guest editorials in the April 11 edition tell only one side of the story and leave much out.
The commentary by Gary Riggins uses the tired phrase an epidemic of gun violence, when in actuality there is an epidemic of criminal violence in the United States, primarily in a few zip codes in blue cities.
Here are some facts about gun deaths:
One recent report indicates an average of 14.3 deaths in a mass shooting when the police are the first ones to arrive with a gun. Yet when an armed citizen is already there, the carnage drops to 2.3.
Many of the gun deaths in other reports include criminals killed by police officers and by innocent citizens in self defense.
Riggins errs when he states that the Second Amendment allows our citizens to own guns. It in fact guarantees a pre-existing right and was ratified because the Founders feared a despotic government and wanted the citizen to be armed like an infantryman. Just as computers and email have long since replaced the quill pen and the pony express, the modern musket has replaced the British Brown Bess.
In his commentary, J. C. Bowman points to Gov. Lee’s $30 million plan to (eventually) have an armed security guard at every public school, to have school security upgrades, behavioral health liaisons, etc.
Bowman states “We know that active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.” Yes, they do evolve quickly, but there is a certain predictability to them:
- The predator chooses easy prey.
- The predator attacks.
- The attack continues until someone arrives with a gun and the predator is killed or captured.
Bowman mentions that these situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes. He says, “We need people who can respond quickly.” Yes, data has shown that the sooner a gun arrives, the sooner people stop dying. The murders almost always end with the shooting of the predator. Think of the two minute timer on your electric toothbrush. Arming volunteer school staff, such as is done in Ohio with the Faster Program (http://fastersaveslives.org/) would save more lives. ARMED STAFF ON SITE signs would be better than GUN FREE ZONE signs.
Our leaders have three choices:
1. Maintain status quo (most likely)
2. Expensive airport style security as mentioned by Bowman (some day)
3. Trained and armed staff (previously promised, but not delivered by Lee)
Why do state leaders, with constant armed protection, insist that our teachers just call 911 and wait while the Stopwatch of Death ticks slowly, racking up the body count of the innocent?
Why do state leaders set up killing fields where the students are the prey, and the predator has ten or fifteen minutes before the police arrive, with another time lag before medics can enter to treat the wounded?