How to Curb Mass Shootings

How to Curb Mass Shootings
Author: Charles Sears
Date: 11/08/2018

On November 7th, 2018 around 11:00pm, Ian David Long opened fire at the crowd in the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. A combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Long had experience and knowledge that would have made him a difficult target to subdue for any law enforcement officer or team of officers. 

As an American citizen, I have all but become inoculated to these types of news stories. I almost come to expect the 24-hour news media to broadcast some new mass shooting along with days of talking heads giving their opinions about gun ownership in America. I mostly tune them out anymore. 

Some would call me a callous individual who lacks the ability to empathize the common American. I might not disagree with them. After spending ten years enlisted in our military, and nearly five years as a Deputy Sheriff in California, I have come to realize that there is no stopping these mass shootings. You can disagree from your keyboard all day long, but the truth is, unless you're in the know, your opinion only matters at the polls. 

Police officers can only react to incidents like the one at the Borderline Grill. By the time Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus arrived, people were already dead. The news reported Helus was at his home when the call went out, and was still the first officer on scene. As heroic as his actions were, Sergeant Helus was ultimately ineffective and was killed by the gunman.

It was not until the gunman took his own life that the mass murder stopped. The officers who arrived after Sergeant Helus was gunned down found Long deceased due to self-inflicted wounds. The whole incident is a tragedy; a tragedy that seemingly repeats itself week after week, month after month here in the States. A constant reminder that people are dangerous, and that the threat of loss of life is very real.

It is not difficult to identify the problem. We have individuals misusing firearms as a method to murder dozens of people a year; individuals who, at the time of the incident probably shouldn't have access to a firearm. Some politicians have convinced Americans that by limiting access to firearms to everyone, and by keeping medical records on every psych patient we can stop mass shootings.

But really? Is that how we are going to stop mass shootings? "Mr. and Mrs. American, hand in your guns so Mr. or Mrs. psychopath can't get access to them." Does that really sound like a good idea? Not that most of us would ever consider handing over our firearms, but let's play devil's advocate for a minute. When any gang member with a connection to the Mexican Mafia can buy a crate of illegally smuggled handguns for $1200, how does your firearm play a part in this?

When an individual can print a handgun on a 3D printer, or mill one out on a home drill press, does your handgun or rifle really have any place in the discussion? And what about medical records? Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety or some other mental illness or episode at some point in their life. Does that really preclude them from an owning a firearm?

We already keep a criminal record at the U.S. Department of Justice on serious criminals, so what more do Gun Control Advocates (GCA) want to check up on? No, none of it really adds up. Those of us who understand the balance of power know Gun Control Advocates are simply fear-mongering in order remove guns from the average American. Politicians have sold a lie to the American people, and have been successful in creating a culture of fear around firearms. 

We no longer teach shooting as an elective in schools; our media outlets demonize types of weapons and labels them as "evil". Inner cities have outlawed nearly every activity with a firearm, and some jurisdictions even recently moved up the age to own a rifle to 21. Concealed weapons permits are going the way of the dinosaur, and the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to hear any case involving questions about the constitutionality of such laws.

Gun Control Advocates understand that the more people who know and understand how to use a firearm, the less effective their fear campaigns become. Politicians for gun control know the more citizens who own guns and know how to use them, the less power they really have. They sell this idea that somehow American citizens would be powerless against our U.S. military, which defeats the very reason for the Second Amendment, when in reality, we all know politicians live next door.

So we know what doesn't work, but what will? What will stop all of these mass shootings? The answer is nothing. Not a single, damn thing. The only reasonable goal we can move toward as Americans is to curb mass shootings; to create an environment where murderers think twice, or even three times about their desire to go on a killing spree.

The police don't scare these individuals. Generally the suspect is already dead when the police arrive, or they have at least accomplished their mission. No, we need more well-trained citizens with guns in their right pockets and their waistbands. We need a culture that promotes the open and concealed carry of firearms in public places. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

In nearly every shooting, the only thing that would have prevented those deaths, is if everyone, or at least the majority of the individuals present, were armed and ready for combat. If you want to wake up and see less mass shootings happening, make it dangerous for a mass shooter to execute. Put power in the hands of people willing to stop the threat. That is the ONLY real solution. If I could say it all in just a few words, I would say we need to Make Gun Culture Great Again.