Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The real lesson of Columbine
Seattle Gun Rights Examiner ^ | 20 April, 2009 | Dave Workman

Posted on 04/22/2009 6:06:05 AM PDT by marktwain

Several of my colleagues are today observing the tenth anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

As we look back on that terrible day, many Americans try to sort out what led to the event, and what might be done in the future to prevent another such tragedy.

The answer is alarmingly simple, and nobody is going to like it.

We cannot prevent more Columbines. There it is. If we could, there would have been no Virginia Tech. The shooting at Red Lake High School in Minnesota would not have happened. We would never have read about the shooting at Northern Illinois University.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its state-level colleagues at various “CeaseFire” groups argue that “closing the gun show loophole” will help. That’s preposterous and they know it. While Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris obtained at least a couple of guns from an adult friend who legally bought them at a gun show, in the years since, none of the gunmen who shot up any school or shopping mall has gotten his guns from a gun show.

People call Columbine the worst school massacre in the country’s history, but that’s also a lie. Nobody remembers the Bath School bombing in May 1927 in which a disgruntled school board member named Andrew Kehoe blew up the Bath Consolidated School and killed 45 people, most of them elementary school-age children. He used dynamite, and he didn’t get it at a gun show.

The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe, who was upset by a property tax that had been levied to fund the construction of the school building.

Can we take steps to minimize the likelihood of future Columbines? Sure.

Step One: Abolish gun-free school zones and those insidious “zero tolerance” rules that victimize and demonize students who are now afraid to talk about hunting, target shooting or competition; rules that prevent teachers or administrators from having a firearm. Instead of firing those teachers, fire the Chicken Little administrators and replace the school board members – and their attorneys – who cling to zero tolerance and gun free zone mandates as substitutes for common sense and courage. (I wrote about this with co-author Alan Gottlieb in our book America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age)

Assistant Principal Joel Myrick stopped a school gunman at Pearl, MS on Oct. 1, 1997 – 19 months before Columbine – by rushing to his car, grabbing a pistol he had there, and confronting gunman Luke Woodham, who quickly surrendered rather than get shot. Myrick hardly gets mentioned these days because he used a handgun to stop a killer, much the same as the armed students who interceded at the Apalachian Law School shooting are essentially ignored.

Step Two: Schools should pin medals on students like Jacob Ryker, the hero teen of Thurston High School in Springfield, OR in May 1998 – 11 months before Columbine – who understood quickly “from his own experience with guns” that teen gunman Kip Kinkel had run out of ammunition and tackled him. Ryker was shot in the melee, but he got in some good licks on the little scumbag before the authorities arrived and took Kinkel into custody. Schools should encourage other teens like Ryker, they should offer classes in firearm safety and hunter education as part of the curriculum.

When his rifle ran out of ammunition and Kinkel began to reload, wounded student Jacob Ryker—recognizing from his own experience with guns that Kinkel was out of ammunition (and understood that this was the best chance to stop Kinkel)—tackled him, and was soon assisted by several other students.

Step Three: Instead of marginalizing gun owners and groups like the NRA, the news media needs a philosophical overhaul, after which it should marginalize gun prohibitionists and groups like the Brady Campaign. For decades, we’ve tried it their way with increasingly strict and intolerant rules that border on the insane, and all we have to show for it is a list of tragedies and a body count.

It should be noted for the record that, like school board member Andrew Kehoe, who murdered his wife before committing his atrocity, Woodham killed his mother and Kinkel murdered both of his parents.

What we learn from Columbine and other shootings is that gun control groups exploit such tragedies for their own political ends. They pretty much dance in the blood of the victims to push an agenda that may, but usually does not, have anything remotely to do with the crime they are condemning. Their goal is disarmament -- victim disarmament, if you will -- and they don't seem to grasp the fact that if people are caught in imminent life-threatening situations and cannot fight back, they frequently die.

The “real lesson of Columbine,” if there must be one is that we should have taken a lesson from Pearl High School and Thurston High School.

Alas, gun-phobic school administrators and teachers, and gun-hating politicians, continue with their heads in the sand, and other dark places, enforce a philosophy and defend laws that haven't worked, and that will only give us more of the same.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; bradywatch; columbine; gunfreeschoolzones; gunfreezone; gunfreezones; guns; school
Good read, well argued. I would have mentioned the Israeli experience.
1 posted on 04/22/2009 6:06:06 AM PDT by marktwain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: marktwain; Joe Brower

2 posted on 04/22/2009 6:08:59 AM PDT by Travis McGee ("Foreign Enemies And Traitors" will be ready the first week of May.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

NOTE: The 2nd Amendment is SELF-incorporated to all government entities at every level. It is MORE ABSOLUTE than the 1st Amendment, or any of the others, because the wording forbids not only CONGRESS, but ANYONE from infringing on it. The 1st says “Congress shall make no law...”. The 2nd say “shall NOT be infringed!” Period! End of debate!


3 posted on 04/22/2009 6:12:05 AM PDT by 2harddrive (...House a TOTAL Loss.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

One lesson learned from Columbine is that the police cant wait until the SWAT team, all their equipment, and everything else arrives on the scene. The first four officers in place now go in using the diamond formation and search for the killer(s). Standing by outside while more die inside is a non starter now.


4 posted on 04/22/2009 6:15:30 AM PDT by Bulldawg Fan (Victory is the last thing Murtha and his fellow Defeatists want.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marktwain
Very good article. This line, to me, is key: "...fire the Chicken Little administrators and replace the school board members – and their attorneys – who cling to zero tolerance and gun free zone mandates as substitutes for common sense and courage."

Zero tolerance policies are nonsense, at best. Dangerous at worst. "Gun free zones"? C'mon. I watch news reports of students getting shot on playgrounds in N. Philly in full view of Gun Free Zone signs. I live near a Drug Free School Zone where last month a store owner, whose store was close enough to the high school to throw a rock at and hit, got busted for selling all kinds of drugs (including heroin) from his store. The storeowner had been dealing drugs out of the store for years before the police finally nabbed him. It's a joke. A complete joke.
5 posted on 04/22/2009 6:17:00 AM PDT by fleagle ( An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. -Winston Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

In addition to applying the first-aid of defensive firearms, we should also administer vaccination.

We can do this by vigorously and directly addressing schools where administrators tolerate or ignore, and thus foster, the unrelenting heaping of humiliation, degradation, and physical and psychological abuse on students who fail to conform to the prevailing “popular” norms.

Murderous rage in ordinary young men doesn’t come out of nowhere. Some kids eat a shotgun in order to escape the crushing degradation of acidic school cultures which they are required by law to endure. But as we all well know, not all of them decide to point the shotgun at themselves.

A good defense is laudable, but that’s usually addressing the symptom, not the disease.


6 posted on 04/22/2009 6:23:20 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mvpel

..Or addessing parents who say, “We do not see the shotgun barrel on your dresser. Here’s a car, here’s a computer, get out of our sight and stop bothering us”.


7 posted on 04/22/2009 6:37:07 AM PDT by Gorzaloon (Roark, Architect.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: mvpel
"We can do this by vigorously and directly addressing schools where administrators tolerate or ignore, and thus foster, the unrelenting heaping of humiliation, degradation, and physical and psychological abuse on students who fail to conform to the prevailing “popular” norms."

I was subbing yesterday (4/21) in a high school class when 'Code Black' came over the intercom. Thankfully, I'd written myself notecards on what to do for lockdown and already had the doors locked. Closed the blinds, covered the windows to the hall, turned off the lights and had the kids sit on the floor.

I took the opportunity to talk a little about why we have Code Black.. many had never heard of Colombine (freshmen), but one girl had and when she started telling her classmates the stats from that day and she got their attention. I had several that fall into the the "my poo don't stink, do you know who my daddy is" group so I informed them about the bullying aspect of what brought about that day.

I admit, I was a bit freaked, yet calm. The drill was during first block and I had a knot in my stomach the rest of the day! Yet I knew then that should something horrible happen, these kids were my responsibilty and I'd do whatever it takes to see to it they return home safely.

8 posted on 04/22/2009 6:39:49 AM PDT by sweet_diane (embracing Him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

For the record, and for anyone who has to respond to yet more gun-grabbing
because of Columbine:

The two murderers carried a total of four firearms.

Two were sawed-off shotguns, the making and possession of which have long
been felonies.

Only one of the four firearms qualified under the original “assault weapons”
ban.

The two murderers also carried 95 bombs, the making and possession of which
have long been felonies.

A popular line of reasoning is that if only the AWB had been in place, then
Columbine would not have happened. Such willful ignorance boggles my mind.
Never mind the bombs or the sawed off shotguns. The are not the threat. Only
ugly guns are the threat.


9 posted on 04/22/2009 6:46:48 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sweet_diane

My daughter’s middle school had one of those complete lockdowns a couple of weeks ago.

It was not a drill.

A student had a seizure in the hallway during classes, so the school locked itself down so the student would have privacy, and called an ambulance.

Of course they didn’t tell anyone what was going on. It lasted an hour. My daughter wasn’t scared during the hour she stood with her classmates away from the windows and door.

Why not? She knew it was fake, that nothing bad had happened, because the school’s front doors are locked and nothing bad ever happens in our town.

She found out what happened when she got home because the school used their message system to call all the parents so they would know what was going on if their children were scared.

I would have been all over this with the government workers at the school, but we are leaving this state within the next 2 months, and it is just not worth it to me.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with a lockdown to protect a student’s privacy, especially when all the other students are in their classrooms?


10 posted on 04/22/2009 6:53:17 AM PDT by cookiedough
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; Shooter 2.5; wku man; SLB; ..
Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!
11 posted on 04/22/2009 7:16:18 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Sheep have three speeds: "graze", "stampede" and "cower".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fleagle

We need to replace these administrators. These administrators are generally liberal, and like the feel good policies such as “gun free zones” around a school. I think Virginia Tech was a gun free place.

And it bears repeating that all of these killers were in violation of numerous existing gun laws even before they began their rampages. The sad fact is that the criminal element and demented people don’t obey the law. Any regulations or laws will be ignored by them.


12 posted on 04/22/2009 7:16:41 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Bulldawg Fan
SWAT has become more about managing the situation than solving the problem. The same mentality infests most Goobermint efforts. Another notable failure is the Fire Services. They have become all about themselves.

Give me 8 Iraq tested soldiers or Marines and I will clear any building you want in minutes after arrival on the scene.

13 posted on 04/22/2009 7:21:13 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: cookiedough
"Does anyone else see anything wrong with a lockdown to protect a student’s privacy, especially when all the other students are in their classrooms?"

Seems to me the student's privacy could have been maintained without stopping the learning process for the whole school for an hour. I've no problem with drills.. ours lasted about 15 mins, time for admins to walk thru and make sure everyone did as they should.

When I was in Jr High a boy had the end of his finger twisted off by some piece of machinery in shop class. I was in art and we heard the ruckus as he (and the tip of his finger) were walked to the office and passed our door. No disruption to class.

I do think there was a time Littleton CO thought they were just a small town where nothing ever really happened tho. No one is immune, IMHO. And I do like the message system.. I get emails and calls. A local middle school was evacuated Monday because some Einstein sprayed pepper spray into the air system! We heard the sirens and shortly thereafter came an email explaining there was smoke in the school and everyone evacuated and ok.

14 posted on 04/22/2009 7:30:24 AM PDT by sweet_diane (embracing Him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: marktwain
I am in the process of making my kids kevlar bookbags. I taught my oldest to change a flat, and both my daughters to shoot... and now I have to teach them how to protect themselves in a school shooting because it will happen again.
15 posted on 04/22/2009 7:42:03 AM PDT by DocRock (All they that TAKE the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52 Gun grabbers beware.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sweet_diane

>Yet I knew then that should something horrible happen, these kids were my responsibilty and I’d do whatever it takes to see to it they return home safely.

Except, you know, have a gun and drop whoever was threatening you and your students. {That’s not allowed!}


16 posted on 04/22/2009 7:44:58 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Gorzaloon
..Or addessing parents who say, “We do not see the shotgun barrel on your dresser. Here’s a car, here’s a computer, get out of our sight and stop bothering us”.

So they were in a double bind - the school administrators would not enforce justice against the abusive student elites at the school, nor would their parents. And given that elites with criminal charges and convictions suffered no consequences at school, apparently the police wouldn't either.

17 posted on 04/22/2009 7:45:52 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: cookiedough

>Does anyone else see anything wrong with a lockdown to protect a student’s privacy, especially when all the other students are in their classrooms?

Yes, it was a waste of time, energy, and resources. All that would have been needed was clearing the path between the kid and the medics.


18 posted on 04/22/2009 8:00:27 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$

>Give me 8 Iraq tested soldiers or Marines and I will clear any building you want in minutes after arrival on the scene.

You’d probably want more than 8, but eight could do the job, unless the perp is familiar with the building & has planed for clearing procedures being used against him.


19 posted on 04/22/2009 8:02:40 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Travis McGee

...is it wrong to want this pic on a T-Shirt that I can wear to school?


20 posted on 04/22/2009 8:03:12 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$
"Give me 8 Iraq tested soldiers or Marines and I will clear any building you want in minutes after arrival on the scene. "

While I was subbing and had the Code Black, my daughter was in her 'Govt/Current Events' class. Her teacher served in Iraq and is pretty conservative. He got all the kids squared away and brought out a bat one of the pre-Engineering classes made for him and stood by the door, should someone try and enter. He assured the students that anyone trying to get to them would have to go thru him first!

21 posted on 04/22/2009 8:11:27 AM PDT by sweet_diane (embracing Him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$
"Give me 8 Iraq tested soldiers or Marines and I will clear any building you want in minutes after arrival on the scene.

Some of those "tested soldiers" will eventually become teachers. I would trust them in a heartbeat to carry a firearm to protect the children. "Gun Free School Zones" are simply ridiculous.

22 posted on 04/22/2009 8:15:09 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

The world is a seething pile of dung. When you bring children into the world, you are opening up the immediate possibility that they will be slaughtered and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t count on this country ever coming to its senses. Things will only ever get worse.


23 posted on 04/22/2009 8:15:36 AM PDT by Soothesayer (The United States of America Rest in Peace November 4 2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneWingedShark
I'm not a gun owner so before any of that I need a gun lessons! We have two long guns (rifles or shotguns, not sure) that my Husband inherited. I don't know if we even have ammo for the.

I do want to get a handgun when we have the money to do so. I think I would enjoy target shooting and it would offer more protection than the large knives I keep hidden (bedroom & kitchen) yet handy, should I need them.

24 posted on 04/22/2009 8:16:59 AM PDT by sweet_diane (embracing Him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: marktwain

Billions of dollars are spent on fire alarms and sprinkler systems in schools, yet not one child has died in a school fire in decades in the US. Hundreds have been killed in school violence, yet most administrators and politicians just put their fingers in their ears and chant, “LALALA, I CAN”T HEAR YOU!!” whenever school violence is mentioned.


25 posted on 04/22/2009 8:18:38 AM PDT by Right Angler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dilbert San Diego
Yep. There are enough laws already on the books. Any and all additional laws will only cause unnecessary problems for legit, responsible gun owners.

All this crap reminds me of the DEAs inability to break up meth rings, or bust at-home meth labs, so they took certain, very legal, OTC meds off the drugstore shelves so the meth crowd couldn't get their hands on it. So late one night when my daughter was sick and I ran to the Rite Aid to get her some medicine, the only kind that works for her, and there were none on the shelves because the DEA sucks at their job, and the pharmacy was closed, my daughter couldn't get the cold medicine she needed. Thanks government! I hope keeping that ONE BOX of cold medicine from me prevented thousands, nay millions of high-quality meth from making its way onto the streets. Way to go government! Keep up the lousy work.
26 posted on 04/22/2009 8:29:58 AM PDT by fleagle ( An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. -Winston Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: marktwain
[Gun prohibitionists] don't seem to grasp the fact that if people are caught in imminent life-threatening situations and cannot fight back, they frequently die.

It's not that they don't grasp the concept; they don't care.

Their policies are aimed at preventing others from conducting the kind of self-defense that they know they are incapable of doing. What they fear isn't guns, but that someone else's courage will draw attention to their cowardice. In the gun grabber's mind, the courage of one only serves to highlight the cowardice of another. It's rather like the zero sum gain theory of economics that many of the same people embrace; the idea that if one person becomes wealthy, another must have become impoverished. The gun grabber would rather die cowering in a corner knowing that everyone else around them cowing rather than be saved by one brave individual who chooses to act. They would rather die than risk having their cowardice exposed for all the world to see.

Freud had it right: The fear of weapons is a sign of mental illness.

27 posted on 04/22/2009 8:48:59 AM PDT by Redcloak ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sweet_diane
Good for him!!! we need more like that.
28 posted on 04/22/2009 8:54:43 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Wonder Warthog
Last Fall I had the pleasure of meeting some of my Son's fellow D-boys. They were all bored to death on leave (adrenaline deficit I suspect) so I took them to an extensive piant ball facility in Kalifornia. We spent the day and about $2,500 on the deal. We took on all challengers. This facility has extensive buildings which are used by LOE’s in the area for training. The D-boys and I cleaned the clock of the local SWAT team and slaughtered the best paint ball team in the the area. That was a fun day I will never forget. These guys had all been to Iraq and Afcrapistan multiple times and all had over 10 years in SpecOps in the Army. They can literally smell a bad guy in the next room. The swiftness and precision that they use to take a room down is breathtaking. We even played hostage rescue a couple of times - eveyone went home - except for the one hostage I nailed in a trigger happy moment.
29 posted on 04/22/2009 9:03:20 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Redcloak
Freud had it right: The fear of weapons is a sign of mental illness.

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” ~~ Sigmund Freud

30 posted on 04/22/2009 9:48:42 AM PDT by wastedyears (Iron Maiden's gonna get ya, no matter how far!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Bulldawg Fan
One lesson learned from Columbine is that the police cant wait until the SWAT team, all their equipment, and everything else arrives on the scene. The first four officers in place now go in using the diamond formation and search for the killer(s). Standing by outside while more die inside is a non starter now.

True, but first the police have to show up. That takes time. And just as the perpetrators know to do their mayhem at disarmed victim zones, they also know that they need to blockade themselves in if they plan on maximizing the damage they do.

31 posted on 04/22/2009 11:58:51 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Joe Brower
Instead of marginalizing gun owners and groups like the NRA, the news media needs a philosophical overhaul, after which it should marginalize gun prohibitionists and groups like the Brady Campaign.
Dave's not here. /Chong

While the idea is nice it's never going to happen. The mind set of the news media is thoroughly so ensconced in gun control that it'll never get away from it.

32 posted on 04/22/2009 6:49:01 PM PDT by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Soothesayer
Don’t count on this country ever coming to its senses. Things will only ever get worse.

I share your pessimism. Why? Because answers such as proposed in this fine article will never be implemented.

The great battle between Community and Individuals was lost by Individuals a long time ago. Even though the Constitution was written to 'protect' individuals with freedom, our institutions have rejected this wisdom and replaced it with plastic communitarianism.

This symptom/disease may be common among large societies where 'rules' designed to affect behavior become the norm, and liberty is told to ride at the back of the bus. The joke's on them though: people will always break 'rules', but they'll hesitate, and may even change their mind when their intended victim has them in their sights.

Their chosen path to Nirvana is the wrong path, thus making most things 'dung' as you observe. How any society is to successfully navigate the River of Sh*t without paddles is anyone's guess.

33 posted on 04/22/2009 7:04:15 PM PDT by budwiesest (Respect my rights as a child.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson