Letter to the Editor

Solution is stopping shooters

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Editor,

What follows is entirely my opinion, my decision, and my responsibility, as an individual citizen, and should not be misconstrued as those of any other entity or organization.

Everyone is all abuzz about the recent outrage in Connecticut, and searching for ways to prevent another. Most seem to be focusing upon either banning "assault weapons" or ramping up mental health care. I believe that both of these two proposed solutions cast a much wider net than needed to address the problem.

Analyze the elements of the event. A person with mental health issues (1), used an "assault weapon" (2), to commit a violent act (3), in a location where no citizen was allowed to possess weapons (4) -- in this particular case, a school -- and murdered more than two dozen defenseless innocents. While all four of those elements are potentially worrisome, only ONE in and of itself is dependably harmful, and that is No. 3 -- the commission of a violent act.

Analyze similar events. ALL obviously involved the commission of a violent act. NOT all involved (diagnosed) mental health issues or "assault weapons." And with only ONE exception, every public shooting in which more than three people were killed, in the last half century, had one factor in common -- they all occurred in places where ordinary citizens were prohibited, either by law or by policy, from carrying firearms.

It is statistically unlikely that this is a mere coincidence. Each of those venues, on that particular day, was most certainly NOT a "gun-free zone" in reality. They were instead hunting preserves for murderers. Every once in a while, the murderer gets a nasty surprise, when they run into an armed citizen who also apparently didn't get the "no guns allowed" memo. This occurred recently in Portland, Oregon, where the murderer ran into a mall service corridor and took his own life after seeing an armed citizen taking aim at him. Total victims: two. Not ten or twenty.

The key is to STOP people when they commit violent acts. And, when those violent acts involve lethal methods, the only effective countermeasure is equally lethal force. Unfortunately, this ability is often denied to potential victims.

A few years back, the Nebraska Legislature introduced a measure to amend current law prohibiting the possession of firearms on school grounds in such a manner as to permit local school boards to decide whether or not to allow qualified school personnel to possess firearms on school grounds. The bill was soundly defeated, thus leaving control at the state, rather than the local, level.

Surely, there must be SOME school personnel who have obtained Concealed Handgun Permits. The only remaining obstacles would be existing law, the expense of additional training, and ideological opposition to the idea of placing a little bit of additional trust in the very same people we ALREADY trust the lives of our children to for eight hours a day, five days a week.

In the hopes that, one day, the Legislature once again sees the light ... and goes into it, I volunteer my time and effort to alleviate one of those obstacles.

I am a trained and experienced firearms instructor, and will provide suitable training, without cost, to any local school employee who possesses a Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit.


Owen J. McPhillips,

McCook, Nebraska

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  • Good points

    -- Posted by dennis on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 11:49 PM
  • I wholeheartedly agree with Officer McPhillips and I commend him for wanting to help and be part of the solution. Thank you, sir.

    -- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 9:51 AM
  • Well spoken. In the purest form of conjecture, a gun is no different than any other tool. It can be used for a constructive manner or in a destructive manner, according to the desire of the user. Give the people we trust to teach our children the ability to protect them as well.

    -- Posted by quick13 on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 10:19 AM
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