Left's reaction to Colorado shooting reprises the same, old misplaced fears
by Kevin OBrien, The Plain Dealer Jul 26, 2012
No one -- neither a police officer nor an armed civilian -- was in a position to stop James Holmes, left, the suspected gunman in Friday's Colorado theater massacre.
Maybe the police officers who protect Michael Bloomberg 24 hours a day ought to let the mayor of New York City experience life without an armed security detail watching over him.
Hey, it's not my idea. It's his -- broached after Friday's mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.
"I don't understand why police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say, 'We're going to go on strike. We're not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe,' " Bloomberg told CNN.
"Police officers want to go home to their families. And we're doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets."
In Bloomberg's view, there are a lot of things that people shouldn't have. Trans fats, large sodas, guns. The deprivation of rights and freedom he counsels would be for their own good, of course.
And there we see the guiding philosophy of the statist left that drives so much public policy today: Free people can't be trusted to do things "right."
It's an attitude that, in some cases, gets people killed.
One of the left's most serious problems is that its sincere hope for a better world through authoritarian government clouds its view of the world in which we actually live.
Hence, Mayor Bloomberg's mistaken beliefs that:
- The police keep individual New Yorkers from harm.
- Government can find a way to deny guns to all -- or most, or many -- of the "people who shouldn't have them."
- Fewer guns in the hands of the public would mean a safer public.
Let's take those fantasies in order.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that police are under no obligation to protect any member of the public from harm. It's laudable that they may try -- in the rare circumstances when they are in a position to prevent a crime of violence -- but it's neither a duty nor an expectation.
As for selecting who should or shouldn't have guns -- which is to say, who should or shouldn't be able to exercise a constitutional right -- background checks are probably effective to an extent. But does anyone really think that, in a nation with 200 million privately owned guns rattling around, none of them is going to find its way into the hands of someone who "shouldn't have it"? Come on.
Americans who aren't blowhard mayors with round-the-clock security details are responsible for protecting themselves. That's the way we set it up. That's why there's a Second Amendment guaranteeing each of us the right to own and maintain the means to see to our own safety.
So, let's go to the theater, where a person who "shouldn't have" a gun, but who does have one, is suddenly firing it at our fellow theater patrons. The police aren't there, and legislators have not written the perfect law to render Mr. Shouldn't Have One just one more unarmed loser.
So there we are, on our own. Would you return fire if you could?
Not everyone would, of course. But let's say that, out of a crowd of 100 or so people in that theater in Aurora, 25 had been armed. Not just one, but enough to really improve the odds for the good guys. And let's say that, of those, perhaps five returned fire within 15 seconds. Might that have diminished the gunman's toll?
But, you say, the attacker was wearing body armor; what good would a handgun have done?
It certainly would have gotten his attention and let him know that he, too, faced a threat and that his time for firing indiscriminately was up. It might have knocked him down. And if someone happened to fire one of those armor-piercing rounds Mayor Bloomberg finds so abhorrent, the incident might well have ended at that moment.
A lot of people in Colorado have figured it out. Gun sales spiked after the theater shooting.
The people who haven't figured it out continue to ascribe evil intent to an inanimate object, to recoil in fear from the sensible notion that a responsible person would carry a gun in public and to dismiss their fellow law-abiding citizens as incapable of prudent self-defense. And they live -- and thereby increase their chances of dying -- in the forlorn expectation that if they encounter a madman while going about their daily business, someone wearing a badge will swoop in to save them.
That sort of thing happens only in the movies. And only on the screen.