God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

I’m not a gun nut. I swear. I’ve only fired a gun once in my life. I don’t own any guns, I don’t want to own any guns. But events seem to be conspiring to keep me talking about guns.

Last week, a nutjob loser asshole figured he’d go out in a blaze of glory (kind of a “glory-hole”) and shot up a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people before finally getting around to what he should have done first and killing himself. And yesterday, two churches were attacked in Colorado, leaving three innocents dead.

Some cretin approached the Youth With A Mission center (a training academy for missionaries) and asked permission to spend the night. When he was turned away, he pulled a handgun and shot three people — two fatally — before fleeing.

12 hours later and 65 miles away from there, a gunman with a rifle approached the New Life Church. He killed one person and wounded three more before he was stopped.

But he wasn’t stopped by the police. The cops showed up at the Mission to clean up the mess, and at New Life Church to take away the scumbag’s corpse.

He was stopped by an armed security guard, who shot and killed him before he could kill more.

I don’t know for certain, but I’m fairly comfortable that the New Life Church was not a “gun-free zone.” The fact that they had at least one security guard with a gun on the premises is fairly conclusive proof to me.

Law professor, Instapundit, and puppy-blender Glenn Reynolds has come to the same conclusion I have — that places like malls and schools have absolutely no moral right to declare themselves “gun-free zones.” They are making promises that they simply can not keep — that you don’t need to protect yourself on premises, because they will take care of it. But he’s taking it a bit further — he thinks such places might be legally liable for those unkept promises.

I’m recalling what I said after the Virginia Tech shooting, and finding it’s more true now than ever:

So, keep that in mind when you think about the people, the groups, the institutions that have pledged to protect you, to keep you safe. They are well-meaning, they are effective, they are to be honored — but in the end, they are fallible. They are imperfect. In the end, the last line of defense you have is yourself. You may not be able to choose whether you live or die, but at least you’ll know you did all you could.

At the New Life Church, they cared enough about their congregants that they did not declare themselves a “gun-free zone.” They recognized that there are evil people, crazy people, and evil crazy people in this world, and their status as a church was no shield. Nor was a sign declaring that no guns were permitted in the church. And they cared enough to protect their flock that they hired armed guards — and as Michelle Malkin notes, the armed guard who killed the gunman before he could kill more was a woman.

Some of the reports I’ve heard say the gunman was “taken down by police.” I dunno if this is part of the standard narrative that downplays incidents when non-police stop criminals or if the security officer is also a cop, but I think it’s fairly clear in this case that the guard was not there as a police officer at the time.

There is some speculation that the shooter was the same in both cases, but that has yet to be confirmed. It seems a bit of a coincidence, but stranger things have happened.

Both the New Life Church and the Omaha mall made a tacit promise to its guests: come here, and we will keep you safe. In Omaha, the protection was a bunch of signs saying no guns were allowed on the premises. In Colorado Springs, the protection was armed security guards.

In Omaha, the attacker killed eight people and wounded five before blowing his pathetic excuse for brains out. In Colorado City, the gunman killed one and wounded three before he was killed by a security guard.

I don’t like relying on anecdotal evidence, but it seems fairly clear here: signs don’t stop guns. Laws don’t stop guns. (The mall shooter was a convicted criminal, and was not legally permitted to own or possess guns.) Rules don’t stop guns.

Alan Dershowitz has a saying: you fight bad speech with more speech. You don’t suppress people who say horrible things, you use your own right to counter them.

Likewise, the best antidote to bad people with guns is not fewer guns. It’s good people with guns.

And if you disagree, ask yourself where you feel safer: in a “gun-free zone” like a college campus or a mall, or a place where you KNOW there are people with guns — armed security guards there to protect you — like the New Life Church?

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.

Joe Horn
Mutilate your thirst