My inbox has been slammed with notes concerning the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Given the accessibility of information, and the pace at which it travels, people have treated this event as not just a case of a ghastly local crime, but much more than that, a signal and a wake-up call to the culture at large.
There is no harm in such reflections. The 500-year-old trend toward ever less violent societies — a trend that continues to go in the right direction in our time — should be pushed further in the right direction through education and cultural change.
Still, it might be beneficial to ask more focused questions about the problem of security at schools in particular.
In the days that followed the killing, my browser kept taking me back to a Wikipedia link about the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. The law, still intact after many challenges and rewrites, reads: “It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.”
Guns of all sorts are banned anywhere near schools. If the government’s laws had worked, this killer would have realized that his plan was unachievable. After all, the world’s most powerful government had banned the whole idea of guns at school.
But the law did not work, at least not as intended. On the contrary. The killer could be pretty sure going into this that he would be the only one at the school with a gun.
Think of this: Schools in particular have been singled out as a place without the ability to defend against violence. The law has been challenged and revised and debated ever since, but the bottom line stands. Have school shootings declined? Most major shootings now occur in gun-free zones, and nearly twice as many since the act passed than in the 20 years prior. (See the full list.)
People have wrongly tended to reduce the debate to more gun ownership or more gun control. It’s clear where the Obama administration wants to take this: toward more centralized control and fewer gun rights. The right responds by pointing to the example of Israel where teachers are heavily armed. That’s the choice the mainstream gives us.
Actually, the framing of the whole debate is wrong. It is not about whether teachers should be armed or whether guns should be banned for everyone but state-employed cops. The real issue is whether any institution in society is going to be in charge of its own security, and not be forced to obey the government’s plan.
Schools face a problem not different in kind from any other issue of security affecting banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, theaters, homes, or churches. All these institutions are constantly threatened with violence from random sources. They must all make judgments about the risk of violence and how best to deal with it. There is no one aggregate solution that applies in every case. Each institution needs to determine security for itself.
Just days after Sandy Hook, a shooter attempted to gun down people at the Mayan Palace Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. An off-duty deputy whipped out her own gun and blasted him before the killer could reenact the rampage at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. This is probably the first you have heard about this precisely because the tragedy was averted. The institution will learn from the event and respond in a way that is rational and not injurious of human rights and liberties.
Because school killings engender special social outrage, legislators made them an exception, and this was before airports and airlines received similarly treatment 11 years later with the creation of the Transportation Security Administration. Guns of any sort, unless carried by a cop, were not permitted to be part of anyone’s security solution. The federal government knew best, even to the point at which the federal law trumped state laws on guns.
Does this figure into the calculation that would-be killers make as they plot their malicious acts? Certainly. Advertising a place as gun-free by law is an invitation to killers. The law says to them that if they can get in, they will have a monopoly on violence. No efforts at defense will be available on the premises to protect the teachers and the kids. I don’t see how it could be controversial to suggest that this law is a very bad idea.
To be sure, these killings might have happened anyway. Dealing with violence was the last thing on anyone’s mind in this quiet and prosperous community school. All the events might have transpired as they did regardless. The point is that the law removes viable options for the school in dealing with security concerns. It says: We, the government, know what is best, and our way is the only way.
This is a terrible way to deal with any issue of security.
I am not saying that the school in question should have armed the teachers, the principal, or the students. What matters is who is in charge of security. What kind of incentives does the surety of the absence of effective security grant would-be murders?
Think of this in the case of your home. Let’s say your community passed a Gun-Free Home Act. Is such a law going to be something taken note of by would-be intruders? Is a criminal going to be more or less likely to enter a home knowing with certainty that all law-abiding citizens will not have the means to protect themselves?
Some people might respond that they don’t want to live in a society in which school administrators have to carry weapons. I completely agree. But wishing does nothing to deal with the problem of anti-social behavior on the part of a tiny minority. A tiny group is capable of ruining the social order for the rest of us, which is why we need mechanisms in place to deal with them.
It’s true in every aspect of life, whether our homes or online forums or banks or schools. Ownership is what allows the security calculation to be rational. Without private property, the destructive element rules.
In the online world, these people are known as trolls. In the online world, they can’t be violent, but they can wreck a good thing. A forum that cannot control them or kick them off is not long for this world. If the federal government had pass the No-Troll Act as a way of securing online communities against them, the forums would be all destroyed by now.
It is right and proper to wish for a society of perfect peace. But it is also very smart to have institutions in place that deal with those who do not want peace. Traditionally, people have relied on government to provide this service. This is a grave mistake. Security is inseparable from private property and the institutions of the market economy.
The reason violent crime has fallen by 65% since 1993 has not been government. It has been the private sector’s creation of advanced technology in the hands of private enterprise: surveillance cameras, private security, alarm systems, increasingly sophisticated systems of screening, and so on. Guns in the hands of private owners have been part of that solution.
The best path forward for schools in particular is to get out from under the protection of government and be put on the same status as regular commercial establishments. Private establishments that own and control their own space provide better security.
Whenever any institution is singled out for special protection by government and called too important to manage itself, that institution needs to worry about its future. That’s why the ultimate solution to public school violence is the full privatization of security and of the schools themselves.
At the very least, we need a repeal of the laws that make it impossible for schools to find their own solutions to the threat of violence. In the name of human rights, security needs to be privatized, whether government likes it or not.
Keep safe,Jeffrey Tucker
Original article posted on Laissez-Faire Today
I'm executive editor of Laissez Faire Books and the proprietor of the Laissez Faire Club. I'm the author of two books in the field of economics and one on early music. My main professional work between 1985 and 2011 was with the MIses Institute but I've also worked with the Acton Institute and Mackinac Institute, as well as written thousands of published articles. My personal twitter account @jeffreyatucker FB is @jeffrey.albert.tucker Plain old email is email@example.com
Thanks for the for the informativeview on a tough topic. I applaud the reminder that (globally) we are collectively safer than ever from violent crime. And the sensible view into how ill conceived laws are liable to undermine this safety brings to mind the testimony of Dr.
Suzanna Gratia before Congress – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis
I feel sad that your society
A) Requires laws to secure schools.
B) This is even a topic
I’m an Australian and while at present we can boast most of our schools don’t have security guards and the big fences and gates are mostly to keep the students in rather then others out; and the thought that there needs to be a law making schools a gun free zones haven’t even crossed our politicians minds yet. Sadly we seem to be slowly immitating the USA’s right to violence. More and more parents (yes parents not kids) are finding it acceptable to use violence as a means of dispute resolution at school functions. How long before we end up with a US style shooting, I’m not sure but at a guess in the next 20 years.
What we most need to look at this tradgedy is why society is producing these killers, not what tools they used to kill.
The gun free zones are really killing zones as you pointed out in your sensible article. what ever new gun controls the emotion driven Congress may enact, it will not fix the problem. Yes we do need teachers and professors who are concealed carry permit holders to bring their protective guns to school. Its common sense, but we’ve left that behind haven’t we. As Luke points out we should stop and analyze “why society is producing these killer”?
Thank you for the best examination of this subject that I have come upon.
Columbine had armed security.
Can you direct me to the the people who support the things that are being attacked? I am doing researching this subject.
Pingback: duct cleaning Memphis TN
Pingback: Click here for more info
Pingback: fat loss factor
Pingback: male enhancement
Pingback: How to lose 10 pounds in a month
Pingback: Topsail Island Real Estate
Pingback: raising rabbits 101
Pingback: Afterbur Fuel Reviews
Pingback: paleo recipes
Pingback: paleo cooking
Pingback: visit the next website page
Pingback: lose weight fast
Pingback: house for sale
Pingback: ICBC claims lawyer Vancouver
Pingback: Test X180 From Force Factor
Pingback: TuerAuf24 Schlüsseldienst München
Pingback: Macbook Pro 15 inch
Pingback: senior care
Pingback: homepage selber machen
Pingback: zuhause geld verdienen
Pingback: goal setting
Pingback: cheap cell phone plans
Pingback: look here
Pingback: Automobile Alarms
Pingback: exotic RENTAL in madrid
Pingback: kedi kovucu
Pingback: bulk sms premium sms hlr sms hubing smsc mtr mo mt mobile ticketing mobile payments asia thailand laos vietnam indonesia singapore europe latin america cambodia hong kong sms content platform labroc server plaza mobile
Pingback: Free Online Games
Pingback: Mobile Rainbow Riches
Pingback: interneten pénzkeresés
Pingback: dating advice
Pingback: Suggested Internet site
Pingback: simply click for source
Pingback: Suggested Site
Pingback: visit the following web site
Pingback: simply click the up coming website
Pingback: click the up coming article
Pingback: mouse click the up coming web site
Pingback: please click the following article
Pingback: click the following website
Pingback: Full Report
Pingback: Recommended Resource site
Pingback: Continue Reading
Pingback: just click the up coming internet site
Pingback: simply click the next internet site
Pingback: Suggested Resource site
Pingback: similar webpage
Pingback: More Information and facts
Pingback: mouse click the up coming internet site
Pingback: please click the following web site
Pingback: please click the next site
Pingback: More hints
Pingback: click the following internet page
Pingback: click the next web page
Pingback: click the up coming website page
Pingback: click through the following website
Pingback: Get More Info
Pingback: Going in
Pingback: More Tips
Pingback: Recommended Web-site
Pingback: similar web-site
Pingback: simply click the up coming internet page
Pingback: simply click the up coming webpage
Pingback: visit the following web page
Pingback: visit the following site
Pingback: This Web site
Pingback: click through the next internet site
Pingback: click through the next webpage
Pingback: Full Article
Pingback: just click the following document
Pingback: More methods
Pingback: linked internet site
Pingback: next page
Pingback: please click the next internet page
Pingback: Read the Full Posting
Pingback: similar website
Pingback: supplemental resources
Pingback: related webpage
Pingback: Full Posting
Pingback: Highly recommended Online site
Pingback: click the following page
Pingback: click through the next page
Pingback: just click the next site
Pingback: simply click the following internet site
Pingback: simply click the next internet page
Pingback: simply click
Pingback: simply click the next document
Pingback: mouse click the following internet site
Pingback: mouse click the up coming website
Pingback: please click
Pingback: visit the following website
Pingback: visit the up coming internet page
Pingback: click the next internet site
Pingback: click the up coming document
Pingback: click the up coming web site
Pingback: click through the next website
Pingback: Read A great deal more
Pingback: linked resource site
Pingback: Suggested Studying
Pingback: click for source
Pingback: Going At this website
Pingback: Recommended Online site
Pingback: Suggested Internet page
Pingback: visit the up coming document
Pingback: click through the up coming post
Pingback: just click for source
Pingback: More Signup bonuses
Pingback: simply click the following website page
Pingback: Recommended Web site
Pingback: click the next internet page
Pingback: relevant website
Pingback: simply click the following internet page
Pingback: click the next post
Pingback: Full Write-up
Pingback: click the up coming site
Pingback: click through the up coming website
Pingback: Full Statement
Pingback: mouse click for source
Pingback: simply click the following web site
Pingback: source for this article
Pingback: visit the next web page
Pingback: visit the up coming internet site
Pingback: mouse click the following web page
Pingback: Suggested Looking at
Pingback: visit the following internet page
Pingback: click the next website
Pingback: click the up coming post
Pingback: visit the next web site
Pingback: click through the following internet site
Pingback: Learn Additional Here
Pingback: More Info
Pingback: more resources
Pingback: Learn Even more
Pingback: relevant web page
Pingback: Read Significantly more
Pingback: similar internet site
Pingback: Read This
Pingback: click the following article
Pingback: Click At this website
Pingback: Discover More
Pingback: Full File
Pingback: Going On this page
Pingback: mouse click the next article
Pingback: please click the following page
Pingback: Read Even more
Pingback: Recommended Browsing
Pingback: simply click the up coming document
Pingback: simply click the next site
Pingback: Click In this article
Pingback: click through the following document
Pingback: Full Guide
Pingback: Full Post
Pingback: just click the up coming web site
Pingback: just click the next webpage
Pingback: Learn More
Pingback: simply click the up coming article
Pingback: related resource site
Pingback: simply click the following article
Pingback: Suggested Web page
Pingback: click through the following web page
Pingback: mouse click the next web site
Pingback: related website
Pingback: Read More Here
Pingback: relevant resource site
Pingback: Full Document
Pingback: Go At this site
Pingback: click through the up coming webpage
Pingback: Extra resources
Pingback: Full Review
Pingback: Going at
Pingback: stay with me
Pingback: Suggested Web site
Pingback: Full Piece of writing
Pingback: this website
Pingback: visit the up coming post
Pingback: mouse click the next internet page
Pingback: mouse click the following article
Pingback: Discover More Here
Pingback: just click
Pingback: Find Out More
Pingback: Get the facts
Pingback: visit the next website
Pingback: mouse click the next web page
Pingback: mouse click the next document
Pingback: visit the following webpage
Pingback: click the following web page
Pingback: click through the following page
Pingback: mouse click the following web site
Pingback: similar internet page
Pingback: visit the following post
Pingback: additional reading
Pingback: relevant web site
Pingback: visit the up coming site
Pingback: visit the up coming article
Pingback: visit the next document
The dollar in your pocket is worth a whole lot less today than 100 years ago. And you have the Federal Reserve to thank for you. So, as the Fed approaches its 100th birthday, Gregory Bresiger reflects on the controversial institution, relaying the criticisms of several of the Fed's most vocal opponents. Read on...
There's been a lot of press lately about the 3-D printing revolution - much of it right here on The Daily Reckoning. But there is one technology that's already threatening to make 3-D printing yesterday's news. Josh Grasmick examines a new kind of printing... that takes place in the 4th dimension. Read on...
Rejoice! What was perhaps the freest market in the entire world is now ended. Crushed. Wiped out by the swift hand of the state. Wait... That's NOT a good thing? (Sigh)... Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Dominic Frisby explains why the shutdown of the Silk Road is such a travesty. Read on...
There is one chart, just one chart, that market analysts and gold bugs alike could learn a lot from. It displays clearly the ebb and flow of one critically important trend, where it's headed through the end of the year, and how you can use it to your advantage. Greg Guenthner explains...
China's push towards a more market-based economy could kick into high-gear, as recently proposed economic reforms are some of the country's most radical policy changes in over three decades. But what will that mean for foreign investors and how could it shape the global economy? Frank Holmes takes a closer look...
John Mauldin spoke with Steve Forbes on the future of gold and the Federal Reserve in an interview released yesterday. What he said may surprise you.