In the aftermath of the tragic but preventable Aurora killings, Wade Page’s rampage at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and now three more gun deaths in Texas, I’ve now abandoned my previous allegiance to gun control in this country. In fact, even gun safety isn’t a compelling issue. Like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, I’ve seen the holy light of our sacred Second Amendment and have decided to go to Big 5 here in California and purchase as many potent firearms as California allows. Reports from Colorado show that after Aurora, applications for weapons jumped 40% in that gun-blessed state, and this writer must join the movement for the sake of his offspring.
If more children and adults in the Aurora theater had been properly armed, they could have gunned down James Holmes, thereby giving this madman a leaded taste of his own medicine and secondarily preventing such a tragic loss of life. As a longtime schoolteacher, it’s now obvious to me that we not only need to continue arming adults in America, we should extend this right to all citizen-children over eight years of age. In this way, we empower our kids to take the law into their own hands so they can immediately shoot any abuser or potential abuser.
As this great country slowly — too slowly — expands gun right it’s easy to see the important social benefits. A few years ago, under the Bush administration, adults were granted the right to go armed in our National Parks. Thus, when I travel with my students to Yosemite Park every October, I will enjoy the right to accompany them bearing the Glock I plan to buy and a few extra clips of ammo in case a rowdy black bear attacks them. But as the teacher, I’m often hiking with them at the end of the line up to Vernal Falls, and for safety’s sake the kids should also have the right to kill whatever potential threat appears before their eyes.
When my son gets ready to go out and play, he will be able to discuss with his mother which of his weapons he should take along with him that day.
“Mom, can I take Dad’s Glock today, please? He took his Ruger SR-556 semi-automatic rifle and his body armor with him to the dentist.”
“No, Jim, you’re only going over to Billy’s house, so the 9mm Beretta we got you for your birthday will be quite sufficient, and don’t even ask me if you can take more than one extra clip.”
“Aw, I forgot. But Billy and I shot a couple of stray cats the day before on the way to school!”
As a nation, we were unable to enact more gun controls after the 1999 Columbine mass shooting in Colorado (Klebold and Harris killed 12, injured 21 more), as well as after the 2007 Virginia Tech carnage (Seung Hui-Cho shot 32 students to death, injured 17 others), so why would liberals imagine any legislative action after last month’s shootings in an Aurora movie theater, where James Holmes killed 12 and injured only 50? Or Wisconsin, where the white supremacist gunman killed six Sikhs, injuring a few more? It is high time for liberals to embrace our historic gun culture and try to get lethal firearms into the hands of our children and every other American. If the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision (National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius) gave Congress the power to require every American to purchase health care, it surely has the legislative power to require every man, woman, and child to purchase the gun of their choice. Lobbyists for the NRA and Colt industries, funded by the patriotic Koch brothers, will enthusiastically support such legislation.
After Aurora, President Obama merely stated, “The background checks on those looking to purchase firearms are now more thorough and more complete,” and the White House made it clear it planned for no gun control legislation, so he’s practically on board with my modest idea. We already know how easily most of our representatives and senators can be bought.
When Santa Barbara police officer Aaron Tudor stopped a car on Anacapa Street on July 19t due to a faulty rear license plate light, he discovered Eric Allen Ross at the wheel, and 18 guns and over 47 boxes of ammo in the trunk. Ross had a $150,000 felony arrest warrant out of Kings County for rape, intimidating a witness, and terrorist threats. If officer Tudor had needed assistance, passing teens – or anybody! – could have lent him some additional firepower under my gun control scheme.
In summary, rather than press for futile and meaningless gun-control or gun-safety laws, otherwise defenseless Americans need to purchase automatic weapons, lock and load, and sit tall in the saddle. Unlike the Europeans with their Chardonnay-diluted manhood and pathetic little armies, our boys and girls need to be ready to kill on sight. Yes, a few innocent bystanders may get shot down, but this is the price of liberty and security. Who can forget Barry Goldwater’s clarion call back in 1964 when he reminded us that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”?
We owe it to our kids to put a firearm in every Spiderman backpack.
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Dan McCaslin has taught at Crane School for 30 years, is an author, and writes the Hiking the Backcountry column that appears biweekly in the Santa Barbara Independent.