School Shootings: Newtown, Ma’alot – Same Problem, Different Solution

By | January 3, 2013 | 0 Comments


The Minuteman

When our country was in its infancy, some citizens were ready at a minute’s notice to put aside their plows, grab their rifles, and hurry to where they were needed. Now our country is older – not mature, just older. Many of us have forgotten that the ultimate responsibility for protecting the vulnerable, as well as defending our freedom, rests on us. It is time we remembered.
In 1974, three Palestinian terrorists entered Israel from Lebanon. First they attacked a van in the town of Ma’alot, killing two Arab women. Then they entered an apartment house and killed a couple and their four-year-old son. Finally they went to an elementary school, where they took 115 hostages. When Israeli soldiers stormed the school, the terrorists killed 25, including 22 children, and injured an additional 68, before being killed themselves.
The motive of the killers at Ma’alot – to kill Israelis and secure the release of Palestinian prisoners – was different from the motive of the killer at Newtown, Connecticut, insofar as it is ever possible to discern the motives of the psychotic. But the result was quite similar. At the school in Ma’alot, 22 children and three adults were killed. At the school in Newtown, 20 children and six adults were killed.
Although what happened was quite similar, how people react to it will be quite different. In the case of Ma’alot, people were logical and did what worked. In the case of Newtown, people will be emotional and do what feels good.
You see, after Ma’alot, the Israelis intensified their program of arming adults, including teachers, school administrators, patrols by parents, and private guards. As a result, since 1974 there have been only two “successful” school attacks in Israel, despite multiple rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip. The first occurred in 1993, when five students and their principal were stabbed, none fatally, in a schoolyard. The assailant was subdued physically before police arrived. The second attack occurred in 2008, when an Arab entered a religious school in Jerusalem, killing eight and wounding seven. He would have killed more, but he was shot dead by an armed student.
Yes, even people in religious schools may need to be armed. If you don’t choose the lesser of two evils, you inevitably wind up with the greater evil – in this case, more dead students.
In contrast to Israel, since 1974 there have been about 119 school attacks in the United States. True, the U.S. is much larger than Israel, so more school attacks would be expected – but so many more? And don’t talk about the “gun culture” in America. Of necessity, Israelis are at least as familiar with guns as are Americans.
This vast difference is caused, at least in part, by the different response of the two nations. In the case of Israel, the primary motivation was the protection of children. As a result, armed adults were provided, and with two exceptions succeeded in deterring or stopping further attacks. Israelis live under daily threats to their lives, and reacted accordingly.
Americans, on the other hand, live in a condition of relative peace, which allows us the illusion of safety. Even worse, it allows us the illusion that safety is the normal condition of human beings. It isn’t. A cursory reading of history, especially the history of the 20th century, reveals an unending series of external wars and internal massacres.
People in “middle” America know about guns. Many have served in the military. They hunt. They target shoot. They fend off predators, both four-legged and two-legged. They defend their isolated homes. But the liberal “elite” of the east and west coasts do none of these things.
Many people have never touched a gun. They believe guns can “go off” spontaneously. No, only people do that. They believe what they see in movies – they think a person who is shot is lifted off his feet and flung backwards. They never heard of Newton’s Third Law – if the person shot did that, the shooter would be flung in the opposite direction.
Many people believe what the media tell them. They believe that automatic weapons, like those used by our military, are readily available. In fact, these weapons have been stringently regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934 – hardly late-breaking news. If the media made random errors, you would say they are ignorant. But the media repeatedly make it seem that firearms are more available and more dangerous that is the case. The media are intentionally deceptive on the subject of guns.
Oh yes, the “elite” may live in gated communities, work in security buildings, and be protected by armed security guards. But then, they are the “elite,” deserving of protection. You and I, on the other hand, are merely ordinary people – that is, the “masses.” We must fend for ourselves, and even our children are on their own.
But note the hypocrisy. The “elite” claim to believe that guns make us less safe, and that having a gun in our home makes us more likely to be killed. I spent many years walking dogs through the some of the most upscale, liberal residential areas. But never – not once – did I see a sign stating “There are no guns in this home.” For all their protestations, in their hearts liberals know that criminals are less likely to invade a home when they don’t know which homes have armed homeowners.
And figures bear this out. In America, only about 13% of burglaries are “hot” − that is, home invasions. But in Britain, where homeowners are disarmed, 59% of burglaries occur when people are at home. About 30% of victims of these “hot” burglaries are assaulted, or worse. Of course, if a burglary occurs when no one is home, no one is injured. This is not complex. Disarming homeowners endangers them.
But after Britain banned virtually all guns, violent crime rose. Now the Brits want to ban kitchen knives to prevent stabbings. What next? Ban shoes to prevent stomping? Ban rope to prevent strangling? Blaming inanimate objects for human misdeeds is a delusion, but a persistent one.
Recall that many of the “elite” send their children to private schools. Many of these schools – including the one where the Obamas send their children – have security guards. In fact, that school has 11 security guards, in addition to the Secret Service protection for the Obama girls. NBC host David Gregory sends his kids to the same school. But Gregory mocked the idea of armed guards for the schools where our kids go. Should we file this item under “A” for arrogance or “H” for hypocrisy?
The self-anointed “elite” exempt their children from unguarded public schools. Yet they have the gall to call themselves “liberal,” “progressive,” and “for the little guy.” Aren’t school children little guys?
In addition to teachers and school administrators, there are tens of thousands of retired police officers, retired federal agents, and retired military personnel. Many would volunteer for school patrol at minimum wage – or no wage at all – with adequate training. True, this is an incomplete solution, but it is better than no solution at all. It could work. But will we try it? Probably not. It’s too politically incorrect. Even worse, it leaves the choice with local school boards. No, we can’t have that – the feds must be in charge of everything.
The Israelis do what works and have suffered only two “successful” school attacks since 1974. Americans, on the other hand, do what makes us feel self-righteous. After the Newtown massacre, we will probably reinstitute the ban on “assault weapons.” Yes, this is a vague term and includes many weapons that merely look like military weapons. And yes, we know that such a ban did nothing the first time it was passed. More importantly, when the law expired, the homicide rate did not rise but actually fell. What better proof could there be of the law’s ineffectiveness?
But we will feel good about ourselves. We will have “done something.” We will have acted on our irrational belief that inanimate objects like guns are evil, but people never are. No, people are merely “sick.” Of course, our children won’t be one iota safer. Schools, universities, movie theaters, and shopping malls will remain “gun-free zones.” That is, they will be free of legally owned guns carried by law-abiding citizens – but they will remain free-fire zones for criminals and the deranged.
Ma’alot and Newtown were similar tragedies. The key difference is the reaction to these tragedies. After Ma’alot, people did what works. They took action themselves. After Newtown, people will do what feels good. They will depend on the federal government to “do something” – even if the “something” is mainly cosmetic. But ultimately we all will have to answer for our actions. Those who fail to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us will have a lot to answer for.

Unarmed men, and unarmed nations, can only flee from evil. And evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.
Jeff Cooper

When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
Clint Smith

Author’s Note:
For an example of the low level of much of the anti-gun media, see the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 28, 2012. An opinion piece – apparently satirical – advocates arming school children. It is charmingly titled, “Hey, kids, don’t forget your guns.” The equally delightful subtitle is, “What’s missing from the typical kindergartener’s backpack? A pistol.”
The notoriously anti-Second Amendment paper printed not only this article, but also three letters praising the article and condemning the NRA as if it had actually suggested arming school children – when in fact the NRA proposed arming adults to protect them. No letters criticizing the article were published. This is called “journalism,” but it is propaganda. For a more factual article, which would never appear in the Los Angeles Times, click here.

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