Opinion: ‘Making decisions that put my life in danger and then reducing my ability to defend myself and my loved ones? That just doesn’t make any sense to me’

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance discusses the effort of some lawmakers to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning guns

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance discusses the effort of some lawmakers to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning guns

Since the May 24 tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, two teens have been taken into custody at Clark County area high schools after possessing handguns on school grounds.

Editor Ken Vance
Editor Ken Vance

On Tuesday (May 31), a student at Skyview High School was arrested for having a handgun on campus. The juvenile stated to school officials he had brought the firearm to school for self-defense. On May 26, just two days after the shooting in Uvalde claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, a student at Heritage High School was arrested for having a gun on school property. That student told law enforcement officials he had no intention of hurting himself or anyone else.

Thankfully there were no casualties in either of the incidents here in Clark County. However, the Uvalde shooting has once again raised the conversation about the need for greater gun control in this country, just as was the case after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, as well as the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Earlier this week, we published a story from the WND News Center that revealed the plan of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to force greater gun control measures in the United States. Rep. Mondaire Jones, from New York, was the most outspoken.

“Enough of your thoughts and prayers,” ranted Rep. Jones during a House Judiciary Committee meeting. “You will not stop us from advancing the Protecting Our Kids Act today. If the filibuster obstructs us, we will abolish it. If the Supreme Court objects, we will expand it. And we will not rest until we have taken weapons of war out of circulation and our communities each and every day.”

A report from Fox News pointed out that Jones was demanding that “gun control will happen,” apparently no matter what.

I appreciate the fact that lawmakers want to do whatever they can to keep tragedies like the one that took place in Uvalde from happening in the future. Basically, we all can agree on that. However, doesn’t it seem absolutely ludicrous that the answer to gun violence by criminals and those with mental illness is to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

In recent years, liberal Democrats have had some success implementing their agenda against law enforcement and the prosecution of criminals, including those who have committed crimes with guns. The Defund the Police movement has led to increases of criminal activity all over this country, including cities like Portland. Last fall, Willamette Week reported that in its 2020 crime statistics report, the FBI reported that the United States saw about 21,500 homicides in 2020, 4,901 more than 2019. It’s the largest jump in homicides since the FBI started recording national data in 1960. The numbers represented a 30 percent increase nationally. Portland showed a far greater increase. In 2019, there were 29 homicides and 53 in 2020, an 83 percent increase.

Those numbers only got worse in 2021, as OPB reported a record year for homicides in Portland. In 2021, Portland recorded 90 homicides amid a surge in gun violence, shattering the city’s previous high of 66 set more than three decades ago, stated the OPB report.

Adding to the problem is the fact that in many Democrat-controlled cities like Portland, prosecutors are going soft on crime, refusing to prosecute many cases that are presented to them after law enforcement arrests. Rogue prosecutors all over the United States have arbitrarily decided that many misdemeanors should not be prosecuted and they also advocate for the elimination of cash bail.

Getting back to violent crimes in schools, the liberal agenda has also included the drive to eliminate uniformed school resources officers (SROs). Here in Clark County, a then member of the Evergreen School District Board of Directors angered area residents and law enforcement officials with comments she made during a May 25, 2021 meeting. Rachael Rogers, a Clark County chief deputy prosecuting attorney, spoke for about five minutes about why she is not in favor of having police officers in the district’s schools serving as SROs.

“They are not making our kids safe,’’ Rogers said. “Our SROs are trained police officers. They are trained to look at people as threats. They are looking at our kids as threats. Data shows that schools with more police, more SROs, are more likely to refer kids to law enforcement which leads to charges and leads to arrests. Black students are more likely to be arrested than all other students while at school.’’

Rogers was speaking in general terms. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office does not currently have any officers serving as SROs in Clark County.

“Having a police car out in the parking lot of a high school on a daily basis, just think of the impression that that sends to the children as they are walking into that school,’’ Rogers said. “Yes, I agree it would be great if all of our children had a wonderful relationship with the police. But the fact of the matter is that policing in the United States is biased. Something has to change systematically, significantly, in order for that to change for our kids and our schools. We are sending our children of color into a school where they are seen as a threat. Whether it’s consciously or not by the SRO, they are seen as a threat and as someone to protect against not to protect.’’

Rogers later resigned her position on the Evergreen School Board, effective Jan. 11.

To recap, I think it is absolutely ridiculous for liberal Democrats to take measures that make our lives less safe – such as defunding the police, refusing to prosecute those who commit crimes and removing law enforcement personnel from schools. And, as if those efforts weren’t detrimental enough to our quality of life, they also want to take away the ability for law-abiding citizens to legally protect themselves by possessing a gun.

If anyone wants to have a discussion in this country about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, I’m all for it. Background checks, mental evaluations, assessment of competency – I have no problem with each of those elements being a part of the discussion. But, making decisions that put my life in danger and then reducing my ability to defend myself and my loved ones? That just doesn’t make any sense to me.


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Jack Burton
Jack Burton
5 months ago

This is a particularly thorny issue that today’s partisan divide makes even more difficult to discuss. I am hopeful when I read things like:
If anyone wants to have a discussion in this country about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, I’m all for it. Background checks, mental evaluations, assessment of competency – I have no problem with each of those elements being a part of the discussion.” Seems reasonable and a good place to begin a discussion. The author is a self-identified conservative, makes his disdain for all things Democrat clear throughout the piece, and is willing to discuss a few common sense measures. However, I am less hopeful when I read things like:
“they also want to take away the ability for law-abiding citizens to legally protect themselves by possessing a gun.” Who is they? Democrats I assume? Who is trying to abolish the 2nd Amendment and tell people they can’t possess a gun? It seems a little insincere. The NRA has promoted the boogeyman that the government is going to swoop in and take all your guns… hasn’t happened but it gets those single issue gun voters to vote for the people the NRA prefers.
A productive discussion on guns starts with a shared reality. No serious person on the left wants all guns taken away. No serious person on the right thinks dead children are “the price of freedom”. Positive change that people across the political spectrum can agree on can occur, but not until we are honest with each other and ourselves.

RUSureuwant2know
RUSureuwant2know
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

Here’s the problem: who gets to determine who is “mentally unfit” to own a gun? We have had Attorneys General wanting to arrest climate change skeptics. When you know that psychiatry is about power, not a “mental illness”, then they can deny anyone the right to own a gun by virtue of one’s political stance. It only takes one to have a real disease. It takes two to have a “mental illness”. “Mental illnesses” have no basis in biology. There is no objective test for the “diagnosis” and if you think people like these shooters don’t know how to play all systems, you are mistaken. The only way to keep tragedies like this from happening is to arm every responsible adult so they can shoot back. These shooters prey on the defenseless. It’s time to train and arm teachers and all responsible school employees.

Jack Burton
Jack Burton
5 months ago

“The only way to keep tragedies like this from happening is to arm every responsible adult so they can shoot back.”

The US has more guns than people, more guns per capita (and total) than any other country in the world. About 120 guns for every 100 Americans. Next on the list, the Falkland Islands, has 62 guns per 100 citizens. The US had 288 school shootings between 2009 and 2018. Mexico, in second place, had 8. But yeah, the answer is probably more guns.

For argument’s sake, what happens when the brave armed teacher “shoots back” and hits a student? Or gets shot by responding law enforcement? Thoughts and prayers would probably make it alright.

RCxyz
RCxyz
5 months ago

Start processing criminals to the fullest extent of the law. No bail for violent crimes. No parole for repeat offenders. End the lawlessness that was created by liberal social justice policies. Once all that is done, talk of me about regulation of firearms.

Sylvia
Sylvia
5 months ago

It is time to objectively assess whether the real problem is gun ownership per se. Many people own guns, eg for self defence. They do not use their guns to indiscriminately shoot and kill others.
Cars have been used by criminals to rampage through crowds; does this mean that cars must be banned???
Guns are inanimate objects, ie they cannot activate themselves. It needs people to pull the trigger. It is so very obvious that the real problem is the person who pulls that trigger and intentionally shoots to kill others. The person pulling the trigger is the root cause of this “gun epidemic” in America. The shooting spree is only a manifestation of underlying problems, eg jealousy or hatred or rage – they are merely the symptoms of deep seated issues. Covering these up by banning guns will never solve this shooting epidemic. Besides, there are many other weapons that are equally deadly.
Legislation to ban guns will only drive the sale underground, just like it has done with opioids etc. Have decades of global attempts to stop illegal drugs actually succeeded? Applying failed solutions to solve the same, or similar, problems is an exercise in futility.
Banning the sale/ownership of guns will not stop those who are determined to get them. Where there is demand, there will always be supply.

Sylvia
Sylvia
5 months ago

Are the increasing shooting spree incidents in US a symptom of the excesses of American democracy?
No political system is 100% perfect or 100% imperfect, be it Autocracy or Communism or Democracy or Technocracy, or anything else.
Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, America prides itself as having “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Expression”. That is truly fantastic if everyone respects other humans despite any differences.
Unfortunately, there are those who interpret ‘freedom’ as meaning ‘I can say or do whatever I want, when I want, where I want‘, irrespective of how these may impact others. That has nothing to do with democracy or freedom. It is unadulterated self-indulgence; it is sheer anarchy. It is totally irresponsible, inhumane and reprehensible.
Responsible people know that there can be no freedom without discipline, accountability, and respect for others. These attitudes are reflected in their daily life, including in gun ownership.
The number of mass shootings in the US is unparalled anywhere in the world. Could it be based on an unbridled, deliberate, and uncontrolled, misinterpretation of “freedom”? Excesses of US democracy? Or could it be combined with embedded excessive divisiveness and hatred in the US culture?
Over the years people have been clamoring for tighter gun control. To be sure, the devastation caused by such crimes are unimaginable. To blame such crimes on guns is an instant and understandable emotional reaction. It is irrational, though, to put the blame solely on guns – which are totally inanimate objects that cannot ever shoot anyone by themselves. Whilst those pulling the trigger are dealt with according to the law, the focus has remained on demands for tightening gun laws. We must consider:

  1. Gun ownership is a right under the US Constitution.
  2. It is unconstitutional, a violation of basic rights, discriminatory, and absolutely undemocratic to impose gun bans on law abiding citizens. Responsible, law abiding citizens, must not be deprived of this right as a result of wrongful and criminal gun use by those who have chosen to “succumb to their own perverse impulses”.
  3. Banning guns will never solve what seems to be a uniquely US problem. Learn from the current US Opioid Epidemic – most drug addicts were first introduced to opioids through a prescription drug, then they became addicts.
  4. There are countless other items, eg kitchen utensils, construction tools, cars, wood pieces, gas, incendiaries, etc, that can be used to maim or kill. People proficient in martial arts can easily kill without any weapons. It is sheer idiocy to ban inanimate objects.
  5. It is imperative to address the real cause of the problem, ie the persons who are the sole source and cause of these inhumane acts. This is where the focus must be. Then, and only then, will we see positive, lasting results that respect our Constitution and uphold true Democracy.
  6. Perpetrators of gun crimes must not only be subjected to the rules of law; they must also undergo compulsory programs to help them reform their despicably deformed behavior. Since the brain is an organ, just like the liver or heart, it is essential to use fMRI or SPECT scans to identify any signs of irregularities in the brain. Talk therapy, whilst helpful to collate antecedents, has proven to be ineffective in correct diagnosis and healing.
  7. Skills to develop equanimity, emotional & social intelligence, acceptance of different opinions/physical looks etc, respect for others, compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, resilience, must start as early as possible as part of compulsory childhood education. These skills must be learned early and maintained for life. They will help us deal with emotional issues, such as jealousy or hatred or anger or rage or any other setbacks, in a more constructive manner, without impacting others.
  8. True humility and genuine collaboration of all relevant parties are essential. Let’s start by honestly admitting that the US does have deep-seated internal problems, and accept that we may all have contributed to them one way or another – either through active participation or by silently condoning it or by pretending it does not exist, or simply by maintaining silence.
  9. Let’s work on an effective and truly discriminatory-free solution together.
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