Shadow of the Gun


Every day another one of the stories comes in. A teacher panicked by a plastic gun, an army man on a cupcake, a t-shirt, a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun or a finger gun, hits the panic button. Suspensions and lectures quickly follow as the latest threat to the gun-free zone, usually in the form of a little boy, is tackled to the ground and lectured to within an inch of his life.

Tellingly these incidents rarely take place in the inner city schools where teenage gang members walk through metal detectors at the start of the day. The safety officers in those schools, big weary men with eyes that look everywhere at once, don’t waste their time on toys. Not unless those toys are full-size, painted black and filed down to look like real guns.

It’s usually the schools where a shooting is wholly unlikely; where gun violence is not a daily reality, but an unlikely convergence of horror, that institutional vigilance hits an irrational peak as every school imagines that it could be the next Columbine or the next Sandy Hook.

The NRA’s initial proposal of armed school guards was met with an irrational chorus of protests. More guns aren’t the answer, was the cry. And the leading crier was the White House’s expert skeet shooter. In a country where law enforcement is heavily armed and gunmen are stopped by gunmen in uniforms, a strange Swedenization had set in. The problem was not the man, it was the gun. Get rid of the guns and you stop the killing.

Schools across the country are banning not the gun, but the idea of the gun.  Gun-free zones mean places where guns cannot be mentioned, depicted or even symbolized as if the refusal to concede the existence of a firearm will eliminate the threat of it being used on the premises.

This isn’t a precautionary attitude, but a pacifist one. Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.

Pacifists have always demonized armies rather than invaders. During WWI they obsessed over gas. During WW2, it was the bomber and the tank. During the Cold War they demonized nuclear weapons. By dealing with the object rather than the subject, they were able to avoid the question of moral responsibility. Rather than hold the Nazis or the Communists accountable for their actions, they extended a blanket condemnation over the weapons-wielders.

The American GI was just as bad as the SS man or the Kamikaze pilot or the Political Commissar. The only difference was in who had the bigger guns. And the one with the bigger guns was also the one to blame.

That same attitude can be seen today when Israel is blamed for every battle with Islamic terrorists because it has the bigger guns. Rather than evaluating the nature of a conflict and the values of both sides, the pacifists score every war based on firepower.

To believe that there is no such thing as constructive violence is to reject free will. Without accepting the necessity of constructive violence, there is no good and evil, only armed men and unarmed men. Without constructive violence, two boys playing cops and robbers in the schoolyard are not acting out a childish morality play, they are becoming desensitized to murder, and without it a child with a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun is on the way to being a school shooter.

If there is no such thing as constructive violence, then the police officer is not the solution to crime, he is part of the cycle of violence. And if that cycle of violence does not begin with a man choosing to use a gun for good or evil, then it must begin with the gun. The man becomes the object and the gun becomes the subject. American ICBMs become just as bad as Russian ballistic missiles. An Israeli soldier killing a suicide bomber is just as bad as the terrorist. There are no good guys with guns. To have a gun is to be the bad guy.

For decades the gun-control lobby has brandished assault rifles at press conferences and spent more time describing their killing power than their manufacturers have. The rifle has been upgraded to the assault rifle and now, in the latest Orwellian vernacular used by the White House and the entire media pyramid beneath it, weapons of war.

The dreaded assault rifle or weapon of war or killing machine of mass death actually kills rather few Americans. The average shooter doesn’t bring an AR-15 to a Chicago gangland dispute. Despite the number of these weapons in private hands, most of the killing takes place with handguns in the same parts of the country where large amounts of illegal drugs are sold, women trafficked and stores robbed.

Shootings in America are not caused by guns, they are caused by crime. Guns really do not walk off store shelves and go on killing sprees. That’s what criminals are for.

But the trouble with that discussion is that it takes us into moral territory. Talking about guns is easy, talking about souls is not. If guns don’t kill people, then we have to ask the difficult question of what does kill people.

It’s a bigger question than just Adam Lanza pulling the trigger in a classroom full of children. It is a big question that encompasses the Nazi gas chambers and the Soviet gulags, the Rape of Nanking and September 11. It is a question as big as all of human history.

The left has tried to reduce people to economics, to class and then race, gender and sexual orientation. It has done its best to reduce people to the sum of their parts and then to tinker with those parts and it has failed badly. The best testimony of its profound spiritual failure is that the worst pockets of gun violence are in urban areas that have been under the influence of their sociologists, urban planners, psychologists, social justice activists, community organizers and political rope-pullers for generations. And what have those areas brought forth except malaise, despair, blight and murder?

Banning guns will do as much for those areas as banning drugs did. It is not the shadow of the gun that has fallen over Chicago, but an occlusion of the spirit. Social services have had generations to save the city and they have failed because the technocracy can reach the body, but it cannot reach the soul.

The gun-control activists drew the wrong lesson from Newtown as they drew the wrong lessons from WW2 and September 11. The lesson is not that weapons are bad; the lesson is that people in the grip of evil ideas are capable of unimaginable horrors regardless of the tools at their disposal. A single man can kill a classroom full of children with a gun and a few men can kill thousands with a few box cutters. It isn’t the tool that matters. It’s the man.

The gun, the sword, the spear and the club took countless lives and saved countless lives. Civilization has always balanced on a future made possible by little boys playing cops and robbers and playing with little green army men. They can either grow up to be the protectors of the future or the frightened men who will stand aside and do nothing when they hear the screams begin to come because they have been told that all violence is evil.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • UCSPanther

    This irrational fear of firearms is a moral panic, like the witch-hunts of yore, the harassment and unnecessary scrutiny of Dungeons and Dragons players in the 1970s/1980s, the rumor of hidden messages in heavy metal records in the 1980s, attempts to sue video game developers after Columbine, etc.

    • Mary Sue

      Yeah, it's straight up Hoplophobia.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The (mis)educators are owned, lock, stock and (financial) barrel by the left. Hence, they see it as their duty to abide by the rules, and to indoctrinate the kiddies into a fear of guns. Not from criminals. but from those who are law abiding and seek to uphold their Second Amendment rights.
    But no matter, Billy Boy Ayers is the "teacher's teacher", and as a domestic terrorist he understands where it is at, as he veered from bombs and guns into the hearts and minds of the kiddies – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/25/domestic-terr

    As such, the teacher's are learning how to subdue their charges, to be nothing short of leftist shock troops. All in due time….

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • AlgerHiss

    Kids, whenever you hear the word “gun”, you are to immediately urinate in your pants.

    If you ever actually see a gun, after crapping in your pants, you are to begin yelling “Mitter Pawiceman, pwease save me!”.

    Land of the free and home of the brave? What a laugh-line that has become.

  • 7orion

    I cannot begin to express how much I enjoyed this article

  • Bruce Linder

    David Greenfield – you had me at this sentence. 'Like' times infinity.

    "Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority."

    So much of leftist drivel is intellectual laziness (including personal attacks and name calling) that is disguised as moral superiority.

    • tagalog

      As Orwell said, "So much of left wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by those who don't even know that fire is hot."

      • trickyblain

        You do know Orwell was a socialist?

        • tagalog

          Yes; Orwell said that he had evaluated the politics of his day and had reached the conclusion that a socialism of the type Jesus and his disciples practiced was the best way for people to relate to one another.

          Orwell also realized that socialism, allowed to enter the political sphere, invevitably becomes some sort of totalitarian command system and that's why he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four.

          Orwell's greatest devotion was to the truth of things and speaking the truth about things.

        • KarshiKhanabad

          Yes, but during the Spanish Civil War Orwell discovered the horror of socialism as implemented, and showed his changed outlook about socialism in "Animal Farm" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four".

  • tagalog

    When the idea of the gun is driven from schoolchildrens' minds, it will also be driven from the minds of their teachers. When a person who uses guns enters a school with mayhem in mind, it will be exactly like a ravening wolf among sheep. A horrifying thought. They will first be horrified, then terrified, then shot.

    • Jim_C

      "it will be exactly like a ravening wolf among sheep"

      That is what it is like, and what it will be like, no matter what.

      • tagalog

        While people have some experience with firearms, there's a chance (albeit remote) that a mass murderer can be stopped.

        But when everyone in a school has been turned into an ignorant lamb, they become simply lunch for the wolf.

        • Jim_C

          They're kids!

          • tagalog

            Yes; Eloi in training, if liberals have their way.

            It's not the kids I was concerned about anyway; it's the teachers, who are charged with protecting the kids.

          • Mary Sue

            …who will eventually grow up?

          • tagalog

            Hope springs eternal…

  • rbla

    In NYC we have a policy called stop and frisk. This is a reasonble form of gun control which removes illegal firearms from the hands of criminals in a large urban agglomeration. Recently the same liberal hypocrites who squawk endlessly about gun control have come out loudly in opposition to this. It leads to the inevitable conclusion that the objective of the gun control fanatics is to take guns away from law abiding whites while leaving them in the hands of blacks.

    • Ghostwriter

      I have to keep reminding people like you that not every black person is a criminal,rbla. It's statements like that give our opposition more ammo to use against us.

  • Roger Dane

    Very accurate article but the blind and deaf ‘left’ will not even blink. We’ve produced, thru the captured educational system and unions, people who cannot ‘discern’ or ‘logically conclude’, almost like an illness, and these people reproduce and the circle is complete. It is teachers who are the “killers” in our society. They teach a simplistic version of society painting much of it as peaches and cream to young, impressionable minds. Once those minds hit the real world they cannot (!) grasp the reality, the vast difference, and many simply some go off their rocker… and commit the heinous crimes, CRIMINAL acts, that their very same ‘teachers’ use to further undermine education. Ruthless teachers, ignorant educators and power hungry union leaders are behind these crimes against society.

    • Jim_C

      I love when bozos without two brain cells to rub together share their "opinion" on education. You sat slackjawed in a school for a couple years 75 years ago, and you think you know something about education. Interesting that you left parents, the ones most responsible for their kids, out of the equation. I sincerely doubt you even have kids, given the sheer ignorance of the issue that you display, but if you do–what happened to them? Are they as dumb as you are?

      I am positive that what you know and understand about what it takes to educate a community of children could fit on the head of a pin. I bet you wouldn't last 15 minutes with 25 third graders.

      • tagalog

        Ever watch "Kindergarten Cop?"

      • Minh

        My mother and a couple of my friends studied to became teacher in the NYC system. Whatever good quality they have when they started is indoctrinated away by the time they "graduate" to teach with all the PC and pseudo-sciences they learned in Teacher School.

      • jay

        We can't all be super duper smart like you.

  • VermeerGirl

    Mr. Greenfield,

    This is one of the best articles I´ve seen in a long time. The article absolutely nails the cowardice of pacifism. It is not a strategy for survival. Furthermore, it is fraught with hypocrisy and one that denies the nature of the human heart. It is a philosophy that is decidedly un-Biblical, as well.

  • albert w loescher

    Would the shadow of a scimitar be more sinister?
    Albert, weary wary watchman

  • Crossbow87

    Ha….our two boys were shooting at the gun range this weekend. Nothing like the real world to destroy the idiotic strongholds of the left.

    • tagalog

      L-O-O-O-VE putting holes in the black at 25 yards.

  • ConradCA

    A simple argument you can use against these idiots:

    Do you think that the teachers who died trying to stop that mass murderer in Connecticut would have wanted a gun so they could have a chance of saving the children?

    • jmz

      they dont care about the safety of kids but their programming to hate guns, and love govt dependence foe everything. remember this is the group who said instead of using guns to defend yourself, you can use a pen, scissor,s pee yourself, vomit, whistle, or just endure it andcall cops later.

  • g_jochnowitz

    According to Bernardine Dohrn, "Guns and grass are united in the youth underground." http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/sche

  • Ken

    I believe this is most lucid thing I have read by you. Spot on.

  • Larry

    Australians, whilst having stricter gun control laws that the US, don't have the same gun phobia and immediate panic reactions.

    Just after the Virginia Tech massacre,which was exacerbated by sheer terror and cowardice, a similar situation occured at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria.

    A student entered a crowded lecture hall with two pistols. Before he could do anything he was jumped by two students and the lecturer and disarmed. Problem solved.

    In many situations of mass shooting if one or two people took the initiative to tackle and disarm the gunman the high death toll would not occur. Instead people panic, run in circles, or freeze and makes themselves easy targets.

    • jmz

      yeah i agree but your post proves 2 things 1) that gun control dosent work, and 2 you need people willing to defend themselves. as for the tackeling sure you can do that but the safer bet is concealed carry/open carry for people.

  • Ghostwriter

    I think the whole thing is ridiculous and I wish this would stop. It's not doing anybody any good by suspending kids for playing with toy guns or having a gun form with a hand. It's silly and stupid and it make them look bad.

  • jmz

    I call pacifists "self rightous darwin awards". because while they hate cops for 'promoting violence' or "bad cops" they are some of the first people to demand cops risk their lives for them. Anti gunners are fools pretending to be nopble and want to install a dictatorship of the well intentioned. is it any wonder why christopher dorner, was worshiped by these people and why he also preached gun control. these fools can kiss my gun lovin self defense 2A AZZ!

    • tagalog

      Well, please moderate the understandable Darwin Award tendency with the idea that, while libs are happily shouting for gun control as loudly as they can, quietly they're laying down the bucks for about half of those new 65,000,000 guns (semi-automatic, high-capacity mags and all) that have been sold since the gun control wagon started rolling after Newtown.

  • Matamoros63

    Mr Greenfield has posted another tour de force! I truly envy his ability. What he could have added, of course, is the most basic emotions of the socialist left: They innately believe that, after all, everyone in their [sic] right mind KNOWS that all people in their basic nature are innately GOOD. It’s only our (read: “Western, American, patriotic, independent) elementally violent, gun-loving, capitalist, profit-worshipping, racist, homophobic, islamophobic, society that turns GOOD people into mass-murdering monsters. (Why, then, mass murder isn’t committed on an hourly basis in the U.S. never crosses their minds.)

  • Mark

    Has anyone ever noticed how many letter in our alphabet can be turned a particular way and used as a "weapon?" Oh, Lord!!!!! Oooops, can I say that?
    Anyway, I've recently noticed that one or more of our states have a unique shape and if one is not careful, a student who is learning geography might turn it a certain way and it might be confused for a handgun. We might want to consider redrawing the shapes of our states and coming up with a new alphabet. We don't need anymore innocent kids sent home by over reacting teacher and administrators.