School Violence: Cold War Lesson Is Helpful

History explains that the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union and its satellites collapsed under the weight of their own economic failure.  Its Big Brother control of their economies was so flawed and became so weakened that their frustrated citizens were able to apply the final blow.  While their fall was not a result of direct American-Soviet military conflict, the importance of a strong U.S. military must be acknowledged.

U.S.  Military  Strength  Was  a  Deterrent

The collapse of the Soviet Bloc was not a vindication of the naively pacifistic beliefs of the U.S. political left.  Rather, this came to fruition because the United States had maintained a defensive strength formidable enough to continue the Superpower Stalemate until the communist system failed.  Had Congress succumbed to the post-Viet Nam “mea culpa” (meaning “through my fault”) sentiment that a significant military is an unconscionable waste of resources, we likely would not have held on to see the victory of democracy in eastern Europe.  Instead, we could have become trapped in its stifling web of oppression until, we too, collapsed a few years later.

Deterrence  in  Our  Schools Does  Not  Mean  Aggression

A similar philosophy of strength, possession of firearms by specifically trained school employees, must be used to meet the increasing threat of murder in our schools.  I see a few hands of disagreement being raised by the reading audience.  “This is teaching children that violence can only be fought with violence,” as a letter to the editor from a Covington, KY couple stated last week.

Not so.  Suggesting that these school employees form a posse and track down known or suspected criminal threats would be “fighting violence with violence.”  This is not what proponents of armed school employees are suggesting and it’s not what happened with the U.S.-U.S.S.R. military build-up.2

“Gun-Free  Zones”  Are  Worse  Than  Pet-Owners  Declawing  Their  Cats

That is a strange analogy, I admit.  By doing that to a cat, the owner has become 100% responsible for the cat’s safety for the remainder of its life.  The one thing going for the pet owner is that it probably won’t see the day that the defenseless animal springs loose into the world.  But if it does, “oh, well.”

Back to a “gun-free zone,” what does it guarantee?  It guarantees that defenseless law-abiding citizens must wait until help arrives after a criminal disregards the zone and brings mayhem and murder.  This is no place for “oh, wells.”

Laws  Allowing  Concealed  Weapons  Deter  Crime

As in most heated social issues, statistics concluding various beliefs are many and up for dispute.  Wading through the various studies, there is good reason to believe that an armed populace decreases crime.3,4

How  Will  We  Respond  to  Threats  in  Schools?

The thought of adding weapons to our schools is certainly disappointing to the low-stress and trusting “Dick and Jane or Dr. Seuss” generation which comprises most of today’s decision-makers.  We did not choose to have increased deadly threats.  We can, however, choose to meet the problem head on with rational resolve or we can neglect our responsibilities and hope the bad guys will skip us and hurt someone else instead.

Having armed school employees is not a threat to the students, but to many would-be criminals.  Whose side are we on?

1Cincinnati Enquirer,1/9/2013

2 — After all, how many bombs did these two countries drop on each other during the Cold War?  While the threat of war was quite real on several occasions, it did not come to pass between the two adversaries.  In the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, it was our military capability which allowed President Kennedy to stand up to Khrushchev and buy time until Kennedy was able to provide an opportunity for the Soviets to back out and avert a nuclear disaster.  Being weak at that moment would have given Khrushchev all of the leverage.

3 – As described in Wikipedia, “In a 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime, economics researcher John Lott‘s analysis of crime report data claims a statistically significant effect of concealed carry laws on crime, with more permissive concealed carry laws correlated with a decrease in overall crime. Lott studied FBI crime statistics from 1977 to 1993 and found that the passage of concealed carry laws resulted in a murder rate decrease of 8.5%, rape rate decrease of 5%, and aggravated assault reduction of 7%.[87]
“In a 2003 article, Yale Law professors John J. Donohue III and Ian Ayres have claimed that Lott’s conclusions were largely the result of a limited data set and that re-running Lott’s tests with more complete data (and nesting the separate Lott and Mustard level and trend econometric models to create a hybrid model simultaneously calculating level and trend) yielded none of the results Lott claimed.[86] However Lott has recently updated his findings with further evidence. According to the FBI, during the first year of the Obama administration the national murder rate declined by 7.4% along with other categories of crime which fell by significant percentages.[88] During that same time national gun sales increased dramatically. According to Mr. Lott 450,000 more people bought guns in November 2008 than November 2007 which represents a 40% increase in sales, a trend which continued throughout 2009.[87] The drop in the murder rate was the biggest one-year drop since 1999, another year when gun sales soared in the wake of increased calls for gun control as a result of the Columbine shooting.[87]

– Even the best the anti-conservative Washington Post could do is claim the debate is a tie so far with, “Update: Lott notes that, by his assessment, a majority of the research in referred academic publications supports his point of view. In a 2012 article for the Maryland Law Review, Lott listed 18 studies that found such laws reduced violent crime, ten that said it has no [discernible] effect and one that found it increased violent crime.”
“The debate has been between those who say that it reduces crime and those who say it has no effect,” he noted. “Very few debates are divided that way.” … “Gohmert’s statement was declarative and sweeping: “The facts are every time guns have been allowed, concealed-carry has been allowed, the crime rate has gone down.  The actual evidence is much murkier — and in dispute. Certainly, it appears such laws have not increased the crime rate, as opponents had feared, but it is equally a stretch to say such laws are a slam-dunk reason for why crimes have decreased. Even those sympathetic to Lott’s research suggest that any decline in the crime rate from right-to-carry laws is more sporadic — as opposed to Gohmert’s claim that crime rate always goes down.”


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