Public Shootings and Self-Defense

November 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor's Break 112 of the EVC podcast.

I wrote the below a year ago for a college writing class. The assignment was to right a persuasive essay; and like all persuasive essays the topic I chose was one that I truly believe in. The right to defend ourselves and our families from harm is God-given and central to the preservation of liberty:

Public Shootings and Self-Defense – May 24th, 2007

Recently, there have been two major public killing sprees; the rampages at Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. A not so recent public killing spree occurred at Columbine High School, Columbine, Colorado. These events have spurred both public outcry for tighter gun control, and an increase in applications for a concealed weapons permit. The media have hosted the debate on their front pages. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, one thing should be very clear: Nature has endowed life with the unalienable right to self-preservation. From the beginning, life has never questioned whether or not this right exists, at least not until this last century.

It is logical to assume that life forms have done everything in their power to protect themselves from harm since life was first introduced on this planet. This is readily observable in the world we live in today. The Discovery Channel has weekly specials portraying such behavior in the plant and animal kingdoms. And there is a plethora of so-called reality television shows that portray such behavior among human beings. Of course, we only need to open our eyes and look around to see the very same behavior exhibited in everyday life.

Such a topic as life or the preservation of life brings with it pages upon pages of scientific and scholarly research. I would like to direct this short essay towards understanding the unalienable right human beings are born with to defend themselves against an immediate threat to their physical person. Early man would protect himself from predators and enemies with clubs, sticks, and the occasional rock throw. Moving through time, what appears in the archaeological record are several types of bows and knives. Eventually, we encounter the invention of the sword and the crossbow. These are all weapons that were used for personal protection in both times of peace and during war, some more easily concealable than others.

Since the mid-second millennium A.D., personal weapons have evolved from hand-held canons, to rifles and pistols. Rifles vary from small pellet-guns to high-powered precision rifles and fully-automatic assault rifles. Pistols, or handguns, come in various sizes from requiring two hands to handle to no bigger than the size of a credit card. Handguns are easier to conceal than rifles and can be used powerfully at a distance, unlike a knife. Both pistols and knives are ideal for everyday, everywhere, personal protection.

With the ratification of the Constitution of the United States with its first ten amendments, the natural right to self defense became a politically legal right to bear arms, which of course includes anything that can be used to protect oneself, including firearms. Not only did this right include protecting oneself from criminals but also from the oppression of tyranny in government. Among other rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States, this one was a milestone in the advancement of human liberty. Since the time this milestone was achieved, many have tried to use the power of democracy, or majority rule, to restrict the basic right of self defense. To make it harder for a person to defend him or herself is immoral, with or without a majority vote.

Several places, both public and private, have created what they call "Gun-free Zones" in order to persuade (or in some cases coerce) people from maximizing their level of self protection. They should more accurately be called "Defense-free Zones" because that is what they are. They invite the criminal and deranged to a safe place to prey on the innocent, as has been the case with public massacres in the last decade, September 11th excepted.

Lunatics have a brain and use it when planning such operations as Columbine, Trolley Square, and Virginia Tech. All these places were touted as gun-free and a safe place to come learn or shop and eat. The places not targeted by criminals itching to murder several people are hunting exhibitions, gun shows, and rifle ranges, for the obvious reason that it would be extremely difficult to do such a thing where, in all probability, the majority of people there are carrying some sort of gun. Instead, criminals choose places where they calculate the probability of anybody carrying protection is extremely low, such as schools and shopping malls. This gives them the confidence they need to carry-out as much carnage as they can before being stopped or committing suicide.

One place we are still allowed the protection that guns give us is our home. In America, certain cities excluded, unfortunately, we are allowed to own and keep as many guns as we'd like in our own homes, where we can secure our most valuable possessions including our families from the threat of physical harm.

In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate the fact that all life; plants, animals, and human beings, have the unalienable right to self preservation by the most advantageous means possible. To deny or restrict this right is immoral and against everything America was created for. This nation has been the leader in the advancement of human liberty for over two hundred years. At its very foundation is the right to self defense from criminals and the oppression of tyranny in government.