A Harsh Reality
In the days following the Connecticut school shooting tragedy of December 2012 the normal and expected responses spanned the range we normally associate with tragedies of any kind. Anger, grief, shock, vigils, cries for action, cries for restraint, and most tellingly the singular notion espoused across the media that somehow schools are supposed to be safe havens. But what precisely does safe haven mean, and how does one come to assume such a thing?
A safe haven, in the context of popular understanding, usually represents the notion that a given area or local is immune from the harsh realities of life, most usually in connection to violence, but it can also be alluding to safety from specific segments of society; half way houses, or women’s shelters for example. Many people seem to assume safety based on selective nostalgia, that is, they have no formal instruction in what may or may not be safe, however, their memories of going to the school, or the mall, or the doctor’s office, are good and hold no incidents that would lead them to believe that those places could be unsafe. Popular culture also likes to tell us about how some things in life are sacred and sacrosanct, how you can find safety in the arms of a teacher or that you can trust that when you run to a police officer for help, that he’ll help. We’re told that “There’s no place like home” (or school, or the scout meeting, or our friendly neighbor’s front yard, or any other place we assume is safe). Many to most of us buy into this at some level, even if it’s to only feel safe in the arms of a parent or spouse.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that safety is and has always been an illusion. There is not, and never has been, a safe place in the universe. Whether speaking of physical realities, such as storms, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, blizzards or other phenomenon, or human caused events; such as shootings, stabbings, genocide, mugging, rape and other assorted violence, the fact is clear that no place is, was, or will ever be safe.
The universe is harsh and unforgiving. It doesn’t care if you live or die, and it is merciless in its destruction. Human beings have some hedge on the universe insofar as we have the ability to observe and understand it at some level, and prepare ourselves for the onslaught of dangers thrown at us on a daily basis. However, that we can prepare doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed safety. In our hubris we’ve come to see ourselves as somehow above reality, above the harshness, above the cold methodical death that the universe can inflict. We’ve even come to believe that we can control other human beings; that somehow we can stop or prevent harm simply by writing words on paper and instituting plans and procedures. Yet time and time again, without fail, either nature or evil individuals from the ranks of humanity thwart our plans, our procedures. Our cities are wiped out in a few hours of storm; our schools find madmen in them shooting children, even in nations where firearms are absolutely prohibited.
We have thus one option at our disposal, and we’d best get to it quickly. We need to drop our fairy tale Disneyland fantasy that safety exists. There is no safety, there are no safe places, there are no laws, words or bans that will ever, ever prevent any degree of evil or nature from trying to destroy us at will. The best we can do is acknowledge that we are subject to the same reality as the rest of nature, and do our best to be able to defend ourselves from it. There is nothing but insanity in thinking that somehow, if we just take away our means of self-defense against evil, that we’ll defeat evil.
If you put a lion and an elephant in a cage together, but chain the elephant’s feet and take out its tusks and cut off its trunk, strap it’s bulk against the wall leaving it immobile, while leaving the lion free to roam with all of its natural weaponry intact, which beast will prevail and which will become a meal? Yet this is precisely what advocates of disarmament are railing at us to do, to become the restrained, declawed, un-toothed animal, in hopes that somehow the lion, in seeing our plight, will take pity and leave us alone. This notion is so dangerous as to be catastrophically fatal.
The tragedy of the children killed in Connecticut was due to this dangerous and insane notion. Their school had procedures in place to stop this, but they failed. The state the school is located in has strict guidelines regarding firearms, but they failed. The state the evil man was from has stricter guidelines, laws, procedures and prohibitions against even the allowance of this man being able to own firearms, and they failed. He murdered 20 children and 6 adults in cold blood, inside a school that was the ultimate in the denial of reality, and he did so casually and at his leisure. No sign at the front stopped him. No lock stopped him. No Federal prohibition on firearms in schools stopped him. Yet the delusion persists that if we’d just ignored the harsh realities of life more, and if we’d just written enough words on paper, that somehow, the results would have been different.
There is no way to prevent determined evil. There is no way to prevent insanity that wishes to lash out at others. Denying this is a sure fire recipe to future slaughter; due specifically to our refusal to acknowledge reality. The best we can do is arm, train and prepare to confront evil directly with force if need be. If this were not the case, then we wouldn’t arm the police for the performance of their daily duty, nor would we arm the military in order for them to perform their duty. They recognize reality; that evil with force can only be taken down by force. If we, as free men and women, refuse to recognize this same reality, if we allow ourselves to be disarmed in the face of an army of evil who will not give up their weapons, while bleating that we’ll write more words, make more laws; then we will become lambs led to the slaughter.
In the coming days there is speculation that a large push will be made to invalidate or make null and void some or all of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. If this happens, it is incumbent upon us, to keep the ability to at least try to protect ourselves and our children, to disregard any forthcoming law and refuse, en masse, to disarm. There is no sanity in embracing an insane view of the universe and of reality. There is no lawfulness in obeying the lawless who sit at the top of our government. Do not comply with calls to disarm, and do not submit to being disarmed. Carry your sidearm on you everywhere, and train and know how to use it. Your very life, and perhaps the lives of other innocent children, depends on it.
Author: Michael Campbell, Lewis Center, Ohio