L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 59, November 15, 1999
Guns For Tots
by "Hunter" Jordan
Exclusive to TLE
The media is busy splashing the television screens and newspaper
front pages with more images depicting the exploits of yet another
maniac shooting up a school, this time a Jewish day-care center in
Los Angeles. It is rather telling that the image which nearly all the
mediacrats have been choosing to repeat ad nauseam shows a line of
children with interspersed police officers fleeing the scene. Whether
they realize it or not, that clip continually bombarding the
consciousness of a horrified nation reveals quite clearly just how
ineffectual the centralised governmental systems are in dealing with
these sorts of incidents.
Despite the vaunted "100,000 additional police officers" Clinton
keeps telling us he put on the street (of which only a fraction seem
to have ever actually materialised), the administration of this
second US President ever to be impeached seems to be interested in
only one solution: legislation to further infringe the inalienable
rights of peaceful, law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
Clinton and the politicians of like mind refer to this as "gun
control", and wring their hands as they cry "if it saves one
child...." while they propose this as their one size fits all final
It is worth exploring another measure that has been conclusively
shown to save far more than one child in a much more dangerous
environment than we face in these United States. It is a measure so
controversial that mere mention will engender fierce debate, but so
important that the issues it raises will illuminate many other
aspects of freedom whether or not it is ever adopted. America should
look to Israel and study its use of volunteer armed civilians to
guard their schools. The probable effectiveness is further underlined
by press reports that the shooter in this latest outrage shied away
from three other targets where he found security was too tight.
The modern state of Israel has faced vicious terrorist attack almost
since its inception. Unlike the hopefully random irrational acts that
have been making the headlines in the past two years, the Israelis
during the 1970's faced organized, planned assaults on schools. The
worst of these atrocities took place at Maalot in May of 1974, where
25 died and another 66 were wounded when Israeli special forces
stormed a school where 3 gunmen were holding 100 children and their
This incident marked the beginning of a fierce debate about guns and
self defence in Israel. Many of the same arguments raised by the
victim disarmament lobby in the United States were waved
hysterically about, but fortunately for the children of Israel wiser
In an interview with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
(available at http://www.jpfo.org/school.htm), Dr David T. Schiller,
counter-terrorism consultant, current editor of the largest gun
magazine in Europe, and in 1973 a member of the IDF and resident of a
kibbutz in Israel, recounts that "all the reservists on the
settlements were issued their personal weapons, and whoever had a
clean track record could get a concealed weapons permit."
"Teachers and kindergarten nurses now started to carry guns,
schools were protected by parents (and often grandpas) guarding
them in voluntary shifts. No school group went on a hike or
trip without armed guards. The Police involved the citizens in
a voluntary civil guard project "Mishmar Esrachi", which even
had its own sniper teams."
And what was the reaction to this "wild west" solution? As Dr.
Schiller relates "When the message got around to the PLO groups and a
couple infiltration attempts failed, the attacks against schools
ceased. Too much of a risk here: Terrorists and other evildoers don't
A similar solution could easily be implemented in this country, with
or (from a libertarian standpoint preferably) without the
participation of the government. Merely proposing this solution gives
many benefits, irregardless of its eventual adoption. It presents an
obvious, positive contribution by gun owners that will resonate quite
strongly with the public. Showing an effective, vital role for
firearms in the hands of ordinary citizens would go far toward
defusing the tired "there is no role for guns in a modern civilised
society" canard so often trotted out by the hoplophobic.
The debate over the merits of the concept offer many opportunities to
showcase the true goals of the "gun control" lobby. Of late they have
not been shy about admitting their ultimate prize - the total
disarming of the American populace. If widespread support for
something as obviously beneficial as protecting schoolchildren can be
generated, it could easily become political suicide to openly support
such measures. It is a practical rather than a philosophical means to
gain support for the right to keep and bear arms.
America has a massive pool of well-trained and well-equipped
civilians available to implement such a program. You need only look
at the numbers of former military personnel, firearms enthusiasts,
and concealed carry permit holders - literally millions of each.
Yes, there are many legal and practical barriers to bringing this
idea to America. However, careful consideration will show that many
of the problems can with planning be turned into an excellent
platform to demonstrate the advantages of an armed population.
Besides, it is high time that the gun owners of this country stop
acting like they have something to hide. This is a golden opportunity
to step forward and offer a positive solution rather than just
reaching for the phone and checkbook to fight off yet another "gun
control" scheme with yet another compromise yielding yet more of our
For far too long gun owners in America have been crouched in a
defensive posture, letting the opposition define them in the eyes of
the public. It is an oft quoted adage that the best defence is a good
offence. Defensive shooters know that studies by Kleck and others
have actually proven this to be true. The posture of defensive
compromise promoted by the NRA has been proven over and over to be a
failure. This is an issue that can demonstrate to the public many of
the benefits of an armed society while providing an excellent
platform to demolish the lies of the gun grabbers.
The cries of outrage from the very same politicians and media figures
pushing their program of civilian disarmament will be the first
major obstacle. But hardly insurmountable, and as noted above the
resulting debate would be highly instructive to the public. The
earnest, motivated volunteers who are going to step forward in
response to a plea for guards are going to include a lot of parents.
They are not going to be willing to take no for an answer from school
administrators, police officials, and politicians who have
demonstrated time and again that they have nothing as effective to
offer. Nor should they, for it is their children at risk.
Initial implementation would of course be considerably easier in
areas that have a strong tradition of firearms ownership and hunting.
It would not be surprising to learn that there are already programs
like this in operation already in some of those areas. But careful
tailoring of the concept can help highlight some of the hypocrisies
and dangers of the "gun control" lobby whether a volunteer civilian
guards program is ever enacted or not. People desperately want to do
SOMETHING to stop these incidents, and given an outlet like this the
biggest problem might be handling the massive numbers of volunteers,
and separating the wheat from the chaff.
The objections of police departments can be easily finessed by asking
them to participate by helping screen and brief the volunteers.
Extensive safety training has to be an absolute requirement (which
fortunately any serious shooter can already demonstrate). All the
volunteers need to be briefed on the legal circumstances in which
they may use deadly force, if possible in cooperation with the local
district attorney's office. The school authorities need to be
involved, for both practical and political reasons.
The media is almost certain to try to portray the people presenting
this idea as "gun nuts", but again, this can be turned into an
opportunity rather than a problem. Simply find a concerned mother
both familiar with shooting and with public speaking, and make her
the spokesman who presents the idea. Play the situation right and you
can make the media circus do half the work for you.
Another issue certain to be raised is the level of training required
to confront determined killers. Police opponents are bound to expound
on the dangers involved. But there is a devastatingly simple answer
to such objections - ANY adult with ANY firearm and ANY level of
training has a far better chance than an unarmed child.
While I have mixed feelings about the "concealed carry permits" being
issued by the majority of states,they DO provide a pool of
"government certified" individuals to defuse this issue. This
advantage should be turned ruthlessly against the gun-grabbers. There
is pretty clear evidence that the CCW movement has been co-opted as a
means to identify and "corral" those Americans bold enough to
actually EXERCISE their right to keep and bear arms. That would make
turning the tables so much the sweeter.
There are many more objections that can be raised, but from the
individualist standpoint perhaps the strongest issue is whether the
public schools which function increasingly as government
indoctrination camps are worth protecting. Golda Meir remarked
during the Maalot incident that "one does not make politics on the
backs of one's children". It is really too bad she is no longer
around to explain that to the statists of America. Israel was wise
enough to realise that the only viable defense against the acts of
vicious madmen was the armed vigilance of ordinary caring citizens.
For the sake of the children, lets hope that Americans can match
their wisdom and courage.
Hunter is a western farm-boy who went east to find his fortune years
ago. What he found instead was a pack of damn-fool statists. He's
been trying to lose them ever since. He splits his time these days
between writing, cutting wood, and shooting.
PEACE IN OUR (DINNER)TIME
"At 4.49 a.m. (1604 GMT, December 31) the first sunrise of the new
century will -- cloud permitting -- light up Mount Hakepa on Pitt
Island, part of the Chatham Islands, 800 kilometres (500 miles) east
of New Zealands mainland.
"Its indigenous Moriori, a Polynesian people, were virtually wiped
out by New Zealands indigenous Maori, also Polynesian, in the 19th
"So total was the disaster most New Zealanders believed Moriori were
extinct until leading historian Michael King revealed the survivors
story in his 1989 book 'Moriori: A People Rediscovered.'
"Moriori were related but different to Maori and had become pacifists
when, in 1835, the Maori Te Atiawa people invaded the islands.
"According to King they subjugated the Morioris brutally, killing
around 300 of the estimated 1600 Moriori, eating many of them, and
enslaving the rest. The colonial court system then awarded most of
the land on the islands to the Maori."
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