To the editor:
I appreciated the cute depiction of myself in The Conway Daily Sun the other day almost as much as I appreciated the news item cited within that depiction: a story highlighting that cops are not guaranteed to come to your defense. In fact, assuming cops take swift action, we’re talking about a person located randomly throughout the community, stopping what they’re doing and heading to the area.
According to the National Sheriff’s Association, the average police response time is 18 minutes while the average school shooting is finished in 12.5 minutes. So perhaps a more accurate depiction would feature an attacker wheeling their gun freely as an Everytown supporter stands in the way of someone on scene trying to stop them.
Even the authors of the two bills that would ban guns on school grounds in N.H. admitted that the law would have no impact on someone bringing a gun to a school with the intent to attack. Instead, the primary argument we heard at the testimonies was, “this will give kids peace of mind.” Interesting that these same advocates don’t say that we should stop drills at school, that may alarm the kids. It seems that there’s a singular theme and it’s not about stopping shootings or easing fears, it’s about restricting our right to defend ourselves, up to deadly force if necessary.
I often hear the naive argument that an average person couldn’t stop an attacker. The FBI says that of the 19 mass shootings in 2016-17 that were stopped by lethal force, eight were civilians killing the attacker. That’s roughly half the time, both figuratively and literally, because those instances feature someone not responding from across town, but someone who just happened to be there.
The issue is simple: If there is a serious threat that an attack may happen, we have a right to defend ourselves. If there isn’t a serious threat where an attack may happen, there’s no need to worry about people carrying guns.
In either case, these laws seek to use fear to legislate away our rights. They do nothing to disarm someone seeking to commit an attack and use police to disarm the very people that help stop one if such a horrible thing should ever happen in our community.