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The shoot-out on Capitol Hill

Posted By Joseph Farah On 07/27/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Russell Eugene Weston’s one-man assault on the Capitol last week is
already prompting the predictable Pavlovian responses from the
gun-grabbing crowd and those who never believe we can do too much to
protect our public officials from the people.

If only guns were not so readily available in our country, the
anti-Second Amendment chorus sings, we wouldn’t have tragedies like
this. Others are contemplating whether security needs to be beefed up at government buildings — whether we need bigger, more formidable barriers and more policemen deployed to protect our cherished national resource of politicians. Let’s put this conventional wisdom to the test.

Let’s imagine, for a minute, that instead of more policemen, more
restrictive gun-control laws and bigger barriers, we armed public
officials and trained them in self-defense methods. Do you think crazy
men, terrorists and criminals would be more or less likely to invade the Capitol knowing that every public official inside — and their staffers
as well — were carrying firearms and knew how to use them?

For starters, you have to admit this would be a less expensive scenario. You also have to admit, the Capitol would likely be a safer place. But the best part of this plan is that it does not infringe on the rights of the vast majority of law-abiding citizens to bear arms and to have easy and open access to their elected officials.

An added benefit would be the federal government could spend less
time, manpower and resources (read: taxpayer dollars) on spying on the
general population to ferret out the potential threats. You may have
noticed news profiles of Weston pointed out that the Secret Service had
isolated him as a low-level threat to the president because he had
apparently lodged paranoid complaints to unnamed agencies about
landmines being laid on his property. Think of how long that list of
potential threats is if Weston, a schizophrenic wanderer from a
Democratic Party family, made it. Think of all the paperwork and
electronic dossiers that could be eliminated. Think of how much freer
our nation would be.

While we’re at it, of course, the same thinking ought to apply to the rest of us — regular citizens who don’t have armed federal guards protecting our lives, our safety and our property on a daily basis.

When asked if his son had a grudge against Washington, Russell
Weston, Sr. replied: “No more than anybody else, I guess.” A little
ambiguous, perhaps. Did his dad mean Weston didn’t have any more of a
grudge against the government than the rest of us do? Or that his son
held no more of a grudge against Washington than he did against you and
me? Either way, secret files are not going to protect anyone from such
people.

The fundamental flaw in the logic of the gun-grabbing, police-state
mentality is that fewer guns equates with less crime, less violence.
There is simply no empirical evidence to suggest any such parallel
exists in the real world.

Let’s review some facts, for those willing to look at them:

  • Between 1900 and 1930, the possession of handguns remained stable,
    but the murder rate rose tenfold;
  • Between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, and
    the murder rate fell by 35.7 percent;
  • Between 1968 and 1985, handgun ownership rose by another 250
    percent and the murder rate fell by another 10 percent.

Those are some statistics worth pondering, and there are many more I
could cite to make the case. But let’s look at some anecdotal evidence,
too.

In March 1984, three machine-gun-toting Arabs opened fire at a
crowded cafe in Jerusalem. Their plan was to run from one crowded
establishment to another killing as many people as they could before
authorities arrived. They killed a total of one person. Why? Because
nearly everyone in the crowded cafe was armed. Despite the element of
surprise, only one of the attackers survived to be arrested.

If that same attack took place in Washington, D.C., where guns are
virtually banned, how many lives would have been lost?

The lesson: If you want a safer society, visualize an armed and
vigilant populace, not a police state.


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