Cocked & Loaded
The July issue of B-Metro Magazine, a great monthly lifestyle magazine covering my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, features a controversial cover story by Yours Truly. Tilted Ready, Aim, Fire, it’s as comprehensive a look as possible of the issue of gun ownership and self-defense throughout the Birmingham area.
I wanted to do this story for a number of reasons. First, I wanted to document my attempts to learn how to safely and effectively use a firearm. Growing up, we didn’t hunt so we didn’t have rifles or shotguns in the house, and owing a pistol was never part of the discussion. However, starting down the barrel at 40 (pun intended) I wanted to finally learn to shoot.
Secondly, I’m a limited government, pro second amendment kind of guy and I wanted to write a story about the issue from a conservative/libertarian perspective in a mainstream lifestyle magazine. Sort of an attempt to balance the coverage of the subject that is often told from a more liberal perspective. I hope I succeeded.
I completed the story and turned it in sometime in April, so I obviously had no idea that the shootings in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Aurora, Colorado, were on the horizon. Right on cue, these tragic incidents have reignited talk about gun control in the U.S. As I mentioned in the story, statistics show that disarming American citizens is a bad idea. However, for length reasons, I had to cut a entire section about so called ‘no guns zones’ that would have been perfect considering the circumstances.
The two mass shootings this month occurred outside a night club in Tuscaloosa and, of course, a movie theater in Colorado. However, we’ve become rather accustomed to tragic shootings in schools, widely known as being ‘no gun zones.’ I asked Josh Herron, an officer with the Pell City Police Department and Pete Burchwalter, an instructor at Hoover Tactical Firearms about their feelings on allowing teachers and other school employees, with proper training, to carry while on the job. Both of them agreed it might be time to look at allowing teachers to be armed in case a situation with an armed intruder or armed student does occur to protect innocent life. However, I was taken back by the response to that question by one person.
I interviewed a teacher, who asked to remain anonymous for the story, and we began talking about the tragic massacre from 2007 in which 32 innocent lives were lost in a setting the victims were unable to defend themselves. This was his/her response:
“Here’s what Virginia Teach makes me think of as a teacher. I personally don’t carry a gun and I don’t’ have a gun permit. I think that teachers ought to be allowed to carry a gun because we are sitting ducks, and everyone knows we are sitting ducks. It offends me. I’ve already told my students, I’m not going in hiding under a desk. Obviously it’s not stopping the shooters. When this stuff happens I tell my students ‘They ought to pass a law that says you can’t bring guns on campus.’ Then my students will say ‘isn’t there already a law?’ ‘Yes. Yes there is and that’s exactly my point.’”
In other words, shooting incidents at schools and other ‘no gun zones’ occur precisely because the cowards like James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho and others know the chances anyone will be armed and, therefore, able to defend himself or others are slim to none.
I’m sure opinion on this piece will be all over the place. Drop me a line to tell me your thoughts.