You Can’t Count on the Police

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the police inaction during the mass killing of children in a public school in Uvalde, Texas, provides one more argument against gun control: You just can’t count on the police to keep you safe from a mass killer. Sometimes you have to rely on yourself or on other armed private individuals to fire back at mass killers. That means the right to keep and bear arms. 

Let’s face it: There is a possibility that the Uvalde police got scared when they learned that there was a armed killer nearby. It’s possible that what went through their minds was: “Heck, I’m too young to die. I’ll wait until someone else goes in there after that guy.”

But defense against murderers, rapists, and other people committing violent acts is the big reason we have police. That’s their job. Why else do we need them — to arrest people for smoking marijuana, having sex with a prostitute, or playing in a poker game?

For years, the gun-control crowd has said that people don’t need to be armed because the police will keep them safe. After what happened at Uvalde, who’s going to buy that argument?

As I have repeatedly emphasized, mass killers love to target mandatory gun-free zones — that is, those zones where the state makes it a felony to carry a weapon, concealed or unconcealed. Public schools make a perfect target for mass killers. They know they have a good chance of wreaking a lot of havoc before they are brought down.

The dark irony of what happened in Uvalde — one that statists are loathe to address — is that those children were there in that public (i.e. , government) school because the state forced their parents to send them there — in a mandatory gun-free zone. That’s what compulsory school-attendance laws are all about. If education and the state were separated, as we libertarians have long advocated, parents would be free to have their children educated in the manner they wanted. Undoubtedly, most parents would select not only the best educational vehicle in the marketplace but also a safe and secure one.

Statists are arguing over whether to arm public schoolteachers and administrators as a way to defend the children in places that the state forces their parents to put them. Everyone, especially the children, would be much better off just getting the state out of the education business, just as our ancestors had the wisdom to get the state out of the religion business.

Finally, it’s not enough to put more gun-control band-aids on the mass-killer phenomenon in America. It’s necessary to get to the root of what’s going on. As I argue in an upcoming article in FFF’s monthly journal Future of Freedom (which I would like to invite you to subscribe to), the root cause of the mass killings in American is the culture of death that has been foisted upon our land and foreign lands by the federal government. 

I’m referring to such death-producing programs as invasions and occupations (i.e., Afghanistan and Iraq), the drug war, sanctions and embargoes, coups, state-sponsored assassinations, torture, and the war on immigrants. For decades, the idea has been that the federal government’s massive machinery of death would have no effect on American society — that Americans could go about their daily lives with nary a concern about the deaths being produced by the federal government, especially among foreigners.

That has always been a foolhardy supposition. The massive culture of death produced by the federal government for the past several decades inevitably has seeped into the fiber of society, which, I submit, is what is triggering a death-producing impulse in the off-kilter people in society.

That’s why Americans need to think at a higher level if they want to restore a normally functioning society. We need to think at the libertarian level if we are to move toward a society based on life, liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with others.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.