'Gun free zones' can be deadly

In my column last week, I wrote about the shooting rampage at the Town Council meeting in Kirkwood, Missouri that took the lives of 5 people. Only a couple of days after the column appeared on the Thinker, another gun-related tragedy occurred; this time at Northern Illinois University and it claimed 5 more innocent lives.

That's right: another maniac, with guns bristling all over him, walked into a "gun-free zone" and began picking off human beings as if they were ducks in a shooting gallery. There were only a few minutes left in the ocean sciences class being held in the large lecture hall of the school when a tall, thin man, dressed in black, stepped out from behind a curtain on the stage. Witnesses said he looked around, almost as though he was relishing the thought of what he was about to do, pulled out a shotgun and began the slaughter.

While scores of students were screaming and ducking for cover, the creature with the guns was certain he would get no resistance from his helpless targets. Since the killer knew it was a building in which guns were prohibited by law, and, since he intended to take his own worthless life anyway, all he needed to do was disregard the law and calmly walk up to the cowering figures and press the trigger. Before he was finished, 5 students were dead and at least 15 were wounded, many of them critically. When his blood lust ended, the murderer, Stephen P. Kazmierczak, 27, shot himself to death with one of the 2 pistols he also brought with him.  

One sane person in that room with a firearm could have saved those lives. On the other hand, if it had not been designated a gun-free zone, it's unlikely that the coward would have chosen the place to act out his homicidal rage. I've heard all the reasons given by gun control advocates about the need to keep guns off the streets. Yet, the slogan that keeps resounding in my mind is: "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

The Second Amendment to the Constitution declares a well-regulated militia as "being necessary to the security of a free State" and prohibits infringement of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." Even though some politicians have twisted that venerable document until it looks like Turkish taffy, it seems to me that our Founding Fathers believed that people had a right to protect themselves.    

How many more massacres are we going to endure before we realize that we are giving malcontents a license to hunt humans when we broadcast the message that, "Everyone in this building, campus, church or city council meeting is unarmed?" Why not go even further and just say: "Those of you suffering from a deep seated, burning passion to kill, will be able to satisfy your hate-filled existence by entering these premises with the weapons of your choice. We can guarantee you plenty of free shots and no return fire."

Imagine the following scenario: You and your family are among about 50 other patrons eating dinner at a local restaurant. During the course of the evening, you happen to look up and see a man with a long topcoat enter the place; his hand concealed in one of the pockets. No one else seems to notice, but you have a gut feeling that he's dangerous. Although you've had training with firearms, you, like almost everyone else walking around unprotected, don't have a license to carry. If that man suddenly were to pull a gun, he'd have total control over that crowd. You and your family would continue living, only if the gunman decided not to aim his weapon in your direction.

Is that any way for a free people to live?

Is there anything remotely reasonable about forcing decent people to disarm themselves, while knowing full well that the reprobates of the world have plenty of access to guns and no compunction about using them?

Does it make me a gun-crazy vigilante if I feel the need to protect my family and myself from a homicidal hit man? Like most normal people, I'd like to live my life without ever having to use a gun against a human being. But, I'd sure like to have one when a nutcase shows up with murder on his mind.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.