Well-respected firearm trainer and gun rights activist Phil Graf penned an open letter to Sandy Hook Promise parents and as usual he is right on target:
Dear Sandy Hook Promise parents:
This is a difficult letter to write. The tragedy of your slaughtered teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary would move a stone to tears. Decent folk from throughout the country and around the world can only offer sincere condolences and heart-‐felt prayers for all of you and for all the innocent victims. It’s no wonder that you have organized to try to do something, anything, to try to make something positive out of this horrible event in your lives.
Yes, this is a very difficult letter to write, but it is long past time to objectively assess the massacre at Sandy Hook. In the interest of preventing, or at the very least, significantly reducing such tragedies in other places at other times, which I know is your goal, we must be ruthlessly honest about what caused the event, and what might have prevented it. It pains me to confront you with this honest commentary, and I apologize for the hurt feelings this letter is sure to cause, but I hope you will be able to recognize that my sincere desire is the same as yours — to prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and the like — and perhaps you will be able to forgive my blunt candor, as we explore the question, “What can we do to better protect our teachers and children”?
You have answered this question with your crusade to “protect children from gun violence”, as though being murdered with an ax, a machete or a bomb somehow leaves the victims less dead. How about doing all that can be done to protect our kids from the real problem, which is from violent predators, no matter what means they choose? The real fact is that Sandy Hook, Columbine and others are not problems of gun violence, they are problems of criminally psychotic violence.
The unfortunate, harsh reality — a reality that, deep down, at least some of you must surely recognize — is that you are partly, perhaps largely, responsible for your own children’s and their teachers’ deaths – you, and your political “leaders” who have “led” you to believe that the silly stupidity of a “gun free” school zone will somehow protect against evil or insane people’s violent, murderous acts.
Your courageous-‐but-‐impotent teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary are dead because you, the Sandy Hook parents and town officials denied them the effective means to resist evil – and because you denied them weapons, your children also lay dead or severely wounded. Did you tell your teachers, as they probably taught your kids, to “use your words”? All they had were words and bare hands – not very effective weapons against a violent, insane attack by a deranged psychotic killer.
What might the outcome have been, had you allowed your teachers access to firearms?
How many would still be alive, had you not denied them the one tool that could have saved your children? These teachers tried to stand up to armed evil with only their BARE HANDS! How dare you continue to advocate for more of the same insane victim disarmament policies, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the PRIMARY thing that is effective against an armed criminal is an armed citizen?
Police are not the “first responders”. The real first responders are the intended victims. Notice the term, “intended” victims. “Victims” are unarmed, either because they are fools, or because abusive laws have restricted their ability to defend themselves. “Intended” victims have the will and the means to fight back. Your Sandy Hook teachers had the will to fight, but not the tools; and thanks to your politically correct, but stupidly ineffective, counterproductive policies, they, and your children, are dead.
Before you experience cardiac arrest over the thought that you were complicit in your own kids’ deaths, or that arming teachers is a good idea, consider that there have been many cases where criminals have avoided places where there might be guns present, choosing instead to attack locations where guns were not allowed.
Oh, what a surprise: the criminal brought a gun into a “gun-‐free” zone to commit murder. Well, of course he did! It’s much easier to shoot people who cannot shoot back because they have been insanely disarmed by well meaning but idiotic parents, teachers, police chiefs and politicians who haven’t a clue! The Aurora movie theatre killer could have gone to any of a half-‐dozen theatres within easy reach from his apartment. He chose the only one with a policy that banned guns. Twelve people are dead and 70 wounded because of the congruence of an insane killer and insane no-‐protection policies.
How long would a fire chief last, who told you that your schools and public buildings do not need fire extinguishers, because after all, such items can be misused for vandalism or fighting (even for homicide), and the fire department is “only minutes away”? The absurdity of such a claim is obvious: yet that is essentially the same claim being made with respect to guns on school grounds.
If you truly wish to prevent this sort of tragedy in the future, if you wish to bring some semblance of productive meaning from your unimaginable grief, then please, re-‐focus your attention, and recognize that blaming guns for violence is about as idiotic as blaming matches for arson.
Some of you have already recognized that the big factor at Sandy Hook, and in fact, a nearly universal common factor in mass killings, is the effect of psychotropic drugs. In most cases, the perpetrator was either on, or coming off mind-‐altering prescription drugs, leaving him homicidal and suicidal. The drugging of our kids often begins with Ritalin at early ages, mostly for boys who are simply doing what normal, active boys do. Sure, it’s a difficult job to control a classroom full of active boys, and it’s all too easy a solution to “calm them down” with a drug prescription, but do we really wish to create a society of drug dependents — especially when some of them are destined to become drug-‐induced psychotic mass murderers?
If you wish to attack a root cause of psychotic violence, then shift your focus to school policies that encourage drugging our kids. Shift your focus to the pharmaceutical industry! You Sandy Hook Promise members are intelligent, though misguided. You have the motivation to do something. How about re-‐directing that “something” in a more productive direction?
Attacking guns and the gun industry is very counter-‐productive. Gun-‐free zones and victim disarmament only emboldens criminal insanity. Anti-‐gun crusades are aiding and abetting those who would disarm America, either from a lack of understanding, or for other, highly questionable goals.
Of course, there is a certain naïve appeal to the idea of disarming everyone, “so all can live in harmony”. If I believed that by eliminating guns, we could eliminate mass murders, I would turn in my guns today. Unfortunately, in all history, that deceptive solution has never produced anything but death, taxes, and slavery. “Gun control” is a deceptively easy solution that has never worked, but it has made it possible for criminals and criminal governments to murder and enslave innocent people, not just by the dozens, as in the worst crime scenes, but by the thousands and millions. Criminal wolves simply love honest sheep that are foolish enough to disarm themselves.
Granted, if all guns and the means to produce them could suddenly be vaporized, there could be no more deaths from guns. There would, however, still be deaths. Knives, clubs, rocks and machetes; fists, rope, automobiles, airplanes, bombs and poisons – even hammers – have all been effectively employed to maim and murder. And history proves that once citizens are disarmed, the police forces and armies of dictatorial governments have been employed to murder, not just dozens, but millions.
In short, we need more guns in schools!
There are dozens of studies on guns and violence that support this recommendation. As a defensive firearms trainer, I teach that the best gunfight is the one you were able to avoid. I teach that a gun will usually get you into more trouble than it will get you out of; but that when it is needed, a gun is one of the most effective tools you can have at hand, provided that, a) you have it; and b) you know how to use it.
Most everyone reading this carries insurance on his/her home or automobile. Why? Are you planning to have a fire, or a wreck? Of course not, but we all know that bad things do happen. A gun is simply another form of insurance. Hopefully, you will never need it, but it is there when you do. The difference with a firearm is that you need good instruction on how to safely and effectively use it, and you need to periodically practice to keep up your skills. In the overwhelming majority of cases, that simply leads to an enjoyable hobby, punching holes in paper targets, bouncing tin cans in a safe environment, or possibly enjoying competitions, where the injury rate is significantly less than nearly any other active sport. However, unlike golf, baseball or any other pastime, proficiency with firearms has tremendous social value: a person proficient with a gun can save a life!
Firearms are as American as apple pie, and America is unique in the world because of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution with its Bill of Rights. Our right to firearms is codified in law for very substantial historic and logical reasons.
I urge you to reconsider your current campaign, recognize your own complicity in the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and recognize that you are being manipulated by anti-‐gun politicians and organizations; then re-‐dedicate yourselves to a real solution, and get behind the movement to reduce or eliminate the profusion of psychotropic drugs in our society.
Now that’s a movement we can all get behind, unless, of course, you are employed in the drug industry.
Secondly, I urge you to recognize the positive value of armed citizens and teachers being trained to effectively resist deranged predators of the sort who have been preying on our kids. Uniformed officers are not the answer. They are too easy to avoid.
Society is safer when criminals don’t know who is armed — only that some will be.
I, and thousands of other responsible firearms trainers stand ready to teach you and those to whom you’ve entrusted your precious children, all that they need to know to be more effective guardians of your kids. Despite the negative stereotypes portrayed by anti-‐gunners, most gun owners would risk their lives to save yours or your child’s. The better part of wisdom is to enlist our support, as we, and most of those we’ve trained, are substantially more proficient than most police and military. To date, we have trained many thousands of teachers, administrators, church members and clergy. Should a predator be unlucky enough to attack one of their schools or churches, he will be met, not with a hail of Marys, but with a hail of lead!
Wouldn’t you rather your kids be in a school or church where this is the norm? Just asking…
Capt Philip Graf
Firearms Instructor and former US Army Trainfire Instructor firstname.lastname@example.org