Today marks 50 years since the “Kent State Massacre.” If you’re unfamiliar with that tragic, fateful event, there are plenty of resources on the web for you to learn about it. The short version is that a group of unarmed protestors were fired on by Ohio National Guard troops, killing four.
What’s amazed me is that this touchstone of American history, an event that has largely shaped much of the succeeding half century, has barely received mention in the national press. I only found a few articles, an example of which is this one in the NY Times – and it was in the opinion section, not the news section. It was not that the National Guard opened fire on their fellow citizens that was so shocking and unsettling. After all, we had witnessed that during the riots of the Summer of 1968. But that was during riots. This was armed soldiers firing on unarmed protestors who had gathered peacefully to protest their government’s invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
I was 6 when Kent State happened, and I can still remember asking my parents why the soldiers shot the people. It’s a question that’s never been sufficiently answered. Not unlike the Boston Massacre two centuries prior, nobody even knows who actually fired the first shot – or has ever conclusively answered if anyone even ordered the shooting to begin. But imagine the nation’s trauma, if a 6 year old who didn’t understand much of the world around him was still able to grasp that soldiers shooting unarmed citizens was a pretty bad thing.
What has really surprised me is the stark hypocrisy in the media as regards Kent State to our modern world. Today, protestors are out in force across the country, in numbers not seen the turbulent times of the late 1960’s. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are in the streets, on the beaches, and at the state capitals trying to hold their government to account for what they see as an abridgement of their civil rights. And despite an incidence of government abuse of protest rights during our lifetimes, the media has focused on the fact some of these are coming armed to declare that they aren’t protests at all – they’re a veiled attempt at an armed insurrection.
This is ludicrous and displays the media’s inability to fairly and accurately report current events. Just as in 1970, these governors fear the protests. Just as in 1970, they have good reason to fear the protests. Then, the protests signaled a political upheaval that would cost many of them their jobs and political careers over the next decade. Today, the protests signal yet another political upheaval – one in which the “illiberal conservatives” are proving to be far more liberal than the “liberal” politicians who have led the charge to arbitrarily pursue “temporary safety” at the expense of “essential liberty.”
To expect citizens who protest a government that is stripping them of their civil rights, of the very protections that the Bill of Rights were designed to safeguard, to appear unarmed is to not understand the lessons of Kent State. An unarmed populace that challenges the legitimacy of their government is often, in the eyes of the government, engaging in rebellion. The lesson of Kent State was that when challenging the government, being armed is a requirement – if for no other reason than to defend yourself from the government.
The Founding Fathers understood this, and that is why they required the Second Amendment be included in the Bill of Rights. It’s just a shame the media forgot that lesson.
I’m noticing more than a few folks are demanding we leave the likes of David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez alone. The argument generally goes something like this: they’re just kids who’ve experienced a horrible trauma, and their spewing venom on cable TV and Twitter is just part of the grieving process for them.
I have no doubt that these kids need to grieve. I have no doubt the experience at Parkland on Valentine’s Day was traumatic. I have no doubt their emotions are still all over the place and on edge.
But here’s the thing: they injected themselves into the political fray, and did so in a way that was intended to provoke. Whether or not the idea of banning guns was their own, a thought planted by the liberal environment where they’ve been raised, a line of attack suggested by their media handlers, or a combination of some or all of those factors, the fact remains that they opted to become the face and voice of the far left’s attempt to overturn a pillar of American society.
They have not attempted to engage in debate. In fact, they’ve run from actual debate to simply spew invective at anyone who doesn’t share their belief that banning firearms will solve the problem of violent assault in this country. They have been challenged, even by their own classmates, to debate the topic on the merits. To offer a cogent argument in defense of their opinion. Yet time and again, they’ve refused and responded instead by offering streams of profanity-laced invective.
These kids are not typical teens. They are drama students, who have learned in class how to evoke emotions in others, and had that craft further honed by their coterie of media handlers. They are members of the 1%, both in income and family status (how else did you think they appeared on TV so fast?). In short, these kids have been raised to believe they are better than the average American; that they are destined to lead the rest of us – whether it be to a better future or off a cliff.
So please, spare me the sanctimony. These kids injected themselves into a full-blown attack on the Second Amendment. They did so willingly, of their own accord and with the full blessing of their elders, who are supposed to have their best interests at heart. Yet, we’ve heard virtually nothing from those elders, except for the elder Mr. Kasky occasionally parroting liberal talking points on Twitter.
Not only have they dived into the political fray, they’ve done so by copying the Hillary Clinton playbook. Rather than looking to engage proactively with the rest of us, they’ve adopted the same condescending attitude that sank Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. They speak of democracy, but they are all about talking down to the little people. Just as Mrs. Clinton saw fit to declare anyone who refused to be brainwashed by her abundant charm as “deplorable,” the Parkland activists have labeled those who support our Constitution as “child killers.” It may win them plaudits from the liberals on MSNBC and CNN. It simply makes everyone else regard them with equal ridicule.
If you want to blame anyone for their being subjected to internecine political battles, blame their parents, their teachers, and the media companies that have put them front and center. Tell them to give the kids time to grieve properly. Tell them to get the kids actual grief counselors, not cable news hosts, to whom they can pour out their emotions and guide them back to sanity.
Until then, as Von Clausewitz observed, “politics is war by other means.” As long as they remain engaged, they are fair game. And that’s how it should be.
Not quite 24 hours ago, America witnessed another maniac venting his anger at unarmed students.
The President would have you believe the cure for this is more restrictions on gun ownership, a bigger police state and further curtailing of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. I suppose now that his time as would-be king is coming to an end, he feels pressure to enact one more nation changing agenda. Let’s not forget, this is the same guy, who in 2008, declared that Americans are “bitter” and we insist on “clinging” to our guns and religion. Since assuming office, he’s engaged in virtual warfare on the religion front. His attempts to to do so on the guns front have largely been stymied, but Obama is a true believer in never letting a good tragedy go to waste. He attempted to politicize tragedy after Newtown. Yesterday, before the blood had even dried on the pavement and before anyone knew who the shooter or his possible motivation might be, he took to his podium and declared open war on any American who does not believe in the saintliness of government intrusion.
What the President, and the rest of the progressive sycophants, fail to understand is that it is their undermining of American culture that is primarily responsible for these tragedies. The problem isn’t that criminals have guns. The problem is that law-abiding citizens do not have guns, nor are they properly trained in their use. UCC is a “gun-free” zone, meaning that any law-abiding citizen who owns a weapon cannot bring it onto campus. Of course, those with bad intent never worry about bringing along their weapons to further their heinous agendas. Net result: bad guys 22, good guys 0.
Now, let’s stop to consider the alternative. Suppose even one student, teacher, or administrator had been properly armed and trained. Suppose, instead of giving the lone security guard on campus a radio, he had a sidearm. The police response, after the 911 call, took less than 5 minutes. That’s an exceptional response (here in my little corner of liberal land, the police generally take about ten minutes to respond) and I commend the local law enforcement folks for it. However, that’s 5 minutes of shooting that would not have happened, had an armed response been available on campus.
More gun control is not the answer, for two reasons the President and his minions would need to crawl out of the ivory tower to understand. First, the most recent shooting incidents were perpetrated by people who had passed the background checks needed to legally purchase firearms. That means, quite frankly, that the intended purpose of the gun control laws we have (preventing criminals from buying guns) are a complete failure. Of course, the real push isn’t for making guns harder to get, but outlawing them entirely. Which brings us to the second point: you can’t prevent criminals from obtaining weapons by making the legal purchase of said weapons illegal.
I live in one of those states that has ridiculously restrictive laws on gun ownership. Here in the Garden State, to legally purchase a firearm, I not only need to pass the FBI background check, but I’m restricted as to who can sell me said weapon, who can sell me ammunition for said firearm and who I can sell said firearm to should I decide I no longer want it. Obtaining a CCW permit is virtually impossible; even OCW permits are hard to come by. In order to transport my weapon, the state requires me to unload the weapon, place it into a locked box and then put that box in the trunk of my car. I also happen to live in a city that places further restrictions on my weapons: I’m supposed to keep them in a gun safe, unloaded, with the ammunition stored in a separate location. Yet despite all of these restrictions, Newark suffered 4 more shootings last night (fortunately no one died), including a police officer being shot. Last year, 112 people were murdered in Newark; that’s ten times the national average murder rate. Or to put it another way, despite gun laws that all but prohibit gun ownership, you are ten times as likely to be murdered in Newark as you are anywhere else in the country. Know why? Because I can buy a weapon on the same corner I buy my milk, and almost as easily. $150 will get me a 9mm with two loaded, 12 round magazines. For comparison, that same setup would run me around $700 in a gun shop. Who has an easier time buying guns, the criminal or the lawful purchaser?
The problem isn’t guns or gun control – or even gun confiscation (and that is, after all, the final progressive aim). The problem lies in that we cannot know who truly has evil in their heart. No background check will tell us. Nor can you prevent those who intend harm from getting a weapon.
So, if you’re truly outraged by the violence, standing at a podium and railing at law-abiding Americans exercising their rights isn’t the way to do it. Instead, urge every law-abiding American to go purchase a weapon, learn how to use it and learn how to defend themselves. There is one thing I do know: the President has waged war on religion; resulting in an amoral society. And we’re going to see even more of these mass killings because of it.
Yesterday, I brought you the story of Master Gunnery Sergeant (retired) Richard Zahn and his ridiculous imprisonment, all because an overzealous prosecutor, a soviet-style liberal judge and the New Jersey legislature’s paranoia about guns formed into a perfect storm around his case. Many of you have reached out in support of Rich Zahn, and for that I thank you. But one person sent me this link and my sense of bewilderment and outrage got sparked all over again.
This is a case that has received some notoriety, although I admit I was unaware of it until I opened that link. It concerns Michael Giles, a US Air Force airman who became entangled in a bar brawl – and as a result, is now spending 25 years in a Florida prison for the crime of defending himself. Although there are differences between his story and that of Rich Zahn’s, there are some striking similarities:
- Both men are combat veterans and career military.
- Both men found themselves in unwanted, potentially lethal situations.
- Both men used a licensed firearm to defend themselves.
- Both men found themselves victimized twice, first by their attacker and later by misguided anti-gun laws.
Here’s a synopsis of Michael’s story. In 2010, he and some friends went to a bar in the Tampa area. Two rival fraternities were also at that bar and a brawl broke out between them. Michael and his friends left the bar but became separated in the melee, at which point Michael retrieved his weapon from their vehicle. As he turned to look for his friends, he found himself in a crowd of approximately 40 brawling men. Somebody hit him from behind, knocking him to the ground and as they were getting ready to follow-up the assault, Michael fired once, striking him in the leg.
None of this is in dispute. During his trial, even his assailant admitted to an unprovoked attack with intent to do Michael serious bodily harm. It’s a clear cut case of self defense, or at least it should be. Except, he used a firearm – and the prosecutor flat-out said that was the crime. In fact, the prosecutor tried to make the case that because Michael used a firearm to defend himself, he was guilty of attempted murder. I do not know the prosecutor’s motivation in making that charge. Perhaps he thinks all career military types are capable of defeating 40 angry, drunk brawlers with their bare-hands. Maybe he thinks Michael received some sort of specialized training from Chuck Norris. It could be he thought, being in the Air Force, Michael could call in a flight of A-10’s to quell the mini-riot.
But here’s what I do know. Michael Giles used a firearm to defend himself and is now spending 25 years behind bars. Richard Zahn used a firearm to defend himself and is now spending 5 years behind bars. The linkage is unmistakable: if you dare to assert your Second Amendment rights, expect some liberal in the criminal justice system to hammer you like a nail. In wacky liberal land, the only thing worse than a gun is the person who actually uses a gun to defend themselves or others. Better you should be a rotting corpse on a slab, I suppose.
That these two outstanding citizens are facing this nightmare is what the insanity of the left is doing to our country, and it’s time we put an end to it. So what can you do? First, let’s get these guys out of prison. If you haven’t signed Rich Zahn’s petition yet, you can find it here. And you can find Michael Giles’ here. Next, it’s time to get rid of these ridiculous anti-gun laws that turn law-abiding citizens into criminals, simply because they dare to defend themselves. These two cases give us two places to start, New Jersey and Florida. As luck would have it, these also are two states that have governors seeking national prominence and who claim to be staunch conservatives. I say it’s time to put them to the test. Write, call, organize protests at the state house steps. Let’s let Chris Christie and Rick Scott know that the time for talk is over. It’s time to actually do something.
And in the meantime, they can use their executive powers to let two unjustly convicted comabt veterans go home to their families.