Alexandria and the Right to Shoot Back

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who was at the batting cages in the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field where Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot, said the obvious, that for the presence of a defender with a gun, a massacre would have ensued. As Fox News reported:

 “Without Capitol Hill police, it would have been a massacre -- we had no defense -- we had no defense at all,” Paul said on “Fox & Friends” just minutes after the incident. “I think we’re lucky Scalise was there because this was his security detail and without them, it would have been a massacre.”

Paul described the scene as "sort of a killing field," and said there were more than 50 shots of gunfire which lasted for at least 10 minutes. Paul described the sounds of the gunfire as possibly coming from an “AR-15” style rifle. The actual model gun used by the shooter has yet to be confirmed.

“We were like sitting ducks,” Paul said, describing his location during the shooting as inside the batting cages, which was approximately 50 yards from second base where Scalise was.

“We were so lucky Capitol Hill Police were there,” Paul said. “They saved our lives.” 

But for the Capitol Hill Police detail assigned to protect Scalise as a member of the House Republican leadership, the killer would have been free to roam the fenced-in field picking targets at random. The field would have been just another gun-free zone, as in

places like Paris, Orlando, and Aurora, Colorado where armed predators are free, thanks to gun control zealots, to ply their deadly trade.

Let us not overlook the fact the Alexandria shooting comes amidst a torrent of vitriol directed at Republicans in general and President Trump in particular. It should not be lost on anyone that GOP congressmen and their staffs were deliberately targeted on President Trump’s 71st birthday. It is not known whether Kathy Griffin, who held up a bloodied severed head replica of President Trump, sent any messages of support and concern  or whether the cast of the New York play depicting the assassination of President Trump and First Lady Melania will pause for a moment of silence.

We await the calls for gun control, the claims that arming potential victims will lead to more gunfights at the O.K. Corral. That is what President Obama claimed after the massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. As reported:

President Obama visited the scene of the Pulse nightclub shooting today in Orlando, declaring that "the notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense."

"Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense," Obama said before a backdrop of a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloons. "They should meet with the Newtown families, some of whom Joe saw yesterday, whose children would now be finishing fifth grade, on why it is that we think our liberty requires these repeated tragedies. That's not -- that's not the meaning of liberty."

Actually, it was the ex-president’s remarks that defy common sense. The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was essentially a gun-free zone as the baseball field in Alexandria almost was. It is not enough to post a single security guard at a lone entrance. Why weren’t the bouncers armed? Why didn’t the bartenders have weapons available? Generally, alcohol and firearms do not mix, but neither does naiveté and terrorism.

Self-defense is essential to liberty.  That is why the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment in the Constitution – to safeguard our liberty against both tyrants and terrorists. Gun “violence” gave this nation its freedom against the tyranny of the British crown as doctors, lawyers, and shopkeepers picked up the “assault weapons” of their day – muskets – and did what the victims of Orlando could not do – fight on self-defense of their lives and liberty.

As Investor’s Business Daily noted:

The Islamic State's call for "lone wolf" attacks on Western infidels might have met its match in the Second Amendment, as an armed man saves lives by shooting a jihadist wannabe bent on heeding that call.

Vaughan Foods employee Traci Johnson is alive today because the business she works for is not a gun-free zone at a time when the Islamic State is encouraging attacks on infidels in the West like the one in Moore, Okla., where co-worker Colleen Hufford was stabbed and beheaded.

The alleged attacker, 30-year-old Alton Nolen, was stopped as he was stabbing and preparing to behead Johnson by Mark Vaughan, the food distributor's chief operating officer. Vaughn, who is also a reserve county deputy, drew the gun he was carrying and stopped Nolen, police say, before he could claim more victims.

In San Bernardino, like Orlando and other mass shootings, the slaughter of the innocent could have been cut short by someone with a gun. As the widow of one of the victims noted:     

Amy Wetzel is the widow of San Bernardino shooting victim Michael Wetzel and she is also applying for a concealed carry weapons permit. During a recent interview, she speculated that the outcome of the San Bernardino terrorist attack could have been very different if someone had been carrying a concealed gun.

“What if someone in that room (at the Inland Regional Center) had had a permit to carry (a concealed weapon),” she said.

Overlooked in the news coverage of the Orlando and San Bernardino shootings was the Oregon massacre that wasn’t at Clackamas Town Center Mall in December of 2012. As Investor’s Business Daily noted, fortune placed a good guy with a gun at the same place a bad guy with a gun planned a massacre:

Before the tragedy in Connecticut, a shooter at an Oregon shopping mall was stopped by an armed citizen with a concealed carry permit who refused to be a victim, preventing another mass tragedy.

In the target-rich environment of the Clackamas Town Center two weeks before Christmas, the shooter managed to kill only two people before killing himself. A far worse tragedy was prevented when he was confronted by a hero named Nick Meli.

As the shooter was having difficulty with his weapon, Meli pulled his and took aim, reluctant to fire lest an innocent bystander be hit. But he didn't have to pull the trigger: The shooter fled when confronted, ending his own life before it could be done for him.

We will never know how many lives were saved by an armed citizen that day.

Indeed, we will not. What we do know is that killers will deliberately choose gun-free zones such as Umqua or that Aurora, Colorado movie theatre to target their victims knowing there will be no one thereto immediately return fire:

As John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Research Prevention Center, wrote in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, "Since at least 1950, all but two mass public shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns." This is usually why they are selected as targets, Lott says.

In the July 2012 mass shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the shooter had a choice of seven movie theaters within 20 miles of his home that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. The Cinemark Theater he chose wasn't the closest, but it was the only one that banned customers from carrying guns

Ever since Cain slew Abel, there has been evil in the world and a desire among some to kill others. Disarming the law-abiding to prevent such killings is like trying to fight drunk driving by making it harder for sober drivers to get driver’s licenses. We don’t need more gun-free zones populated with unarmed targets. We do need more people able to defend themselves.

There will be endless hand-wringing on what we must do to stop this violence. How about learning the lesson of Alexandria, a lesson taught in so many other places, that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.