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59


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 59, November 15, 1999
Remembrance Day

Guns For Tots

by "Hunter" Jordan
hunter@vader.com


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 solution.
           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 teachers hostage.
           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 heads prevailed.
           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 like risks."
           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 "inalienable" right.
           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 century.

"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."

Source: http://asia.yahoo.com/headlines/011199/world/941420460-91101014150.newsworld.html


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