In the hours and days just after the mass murder-suicide at Virginia
Tech last Monday, many people felt it would be more sensitive and
polite if the advocates for gun rights would sit quietly and allow
the personal and national mourning to take place without a lot of
gun policy arguments.
We at JPFO considered the sensitive and polite approach. We certainly
feel terrible for the victims and for the families and friends whose
lives are shattered by the horrendous crime. The deep evil of the
murders makes it all the harder to come to terms with that sickening
event. We agree that it would be best if we, as a nation, could gather
together with the survivors in national mourning.
But we could not just be sensitive, polite and quiet, for two key
reasons. First, we know that the enemies of defense rights always
capitalize on strong emotions of the moment to drive their policies.
The Brady Campaign, for example, released a message almost immediately
that called for more national "gun control" and said: "We
are building a crescendo of public outcry to ensure that action is
taken. We are aggressively rallying support among allies for our solutions."
Those benighted people, who think that making everybody defenseless
is a good plan, have already swung into action. Their policy goals
ride on strong emotions, not on reason and practicality.
If we stay quiet while the anti-self defense crowd defines the issues
and whips up emtions, then we lose. We lose by being absent and by
giving the appearance of conceding we are wrong about self-defense.
We lose by letting emotional appeals go unchallenged by careful rational
We know also that a bad law driven by high-emotions in Congress and
the media will be extremely hard to eliminate later.
A second reason we could not just stay quiet: gun owners have been
made to feel guilty for having guns, just because one suicide-murderer
misuses a firearm in such an horrific way. In this moment of national
focus, many gun owners don't remember some of the key reasons that
we have the right to keep and bear arms. Under pressure, many gun
owners cannot respond to challenges, and that makes us all look shallow
Talk host Bill O'Reilly, for example, took to the airwaves the following
day to claim that Virginia's gun laws are not strict enough. O'Reilly
urged that a 7-day waiting period is necessary, that the instant background
check is not enough. A caller to his radio show pointed out the several
procedures in Virginia that a buyer must pass through, and said that
the 7-day waiting period was not needed.
O'Reilly replied by challenging the man to explain why he couldn't
wait 7 days to get a Glock? Why did the man need to take immediate
The caller was unable to answer the question -- because he was feeling
defensive and cornered and somehow guilty. The answers to O'Reilly's
- a woman who is being stalked should not have to wait 7 days to
obtain the means to protect herself from a potentially armed madman,
- the police owe no duty to protect individual citizens from criminal
attack. Blocking a person from getting defense tools is to cripple
the endangered citizen's ability to protect himself or herself,
- the suicide-murderer in this case had planned his crime carefully,
such that a 7 day waiting period would have had zero effect upon
We cannot let the anti-defense people and the ignorant media personalities
command the policy discussion while we are sensitively and politely
silent. We wish it were otherwise. Innocent lives depend upon the
right to keep and bear arms, so we must protect it, even in times
of tragedy and grief.
- The Liberty Crew