Imaginary Gun-Free Zones
I was heading to a friend’s home the other day to do some target shooting in their backyard. No worries, they live in the country and have a berm set up as a wall for bullets. The nearest home is nearly 2 miles away.
After an afternoon of doing what we could to improve our shooting skills, I headed home. As I did so, I passed a school that was positioned among nice groves of pine and oak trees. It was really a very nice looking and relaxing setting.
As I drove passed, I noticed the obligatory signs posted out front of the school that boldly stated “DRUG FREE ZONE.” I did not notice a sign that said “GUN FREE ZONE.” Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there; it simply means I didn’t notice it.
I taught in the California public school system for roughly 10 years as an elementary school teacher; mainly 6th grade. The schools I taught at all had signs boasting that the school was either drug free, gun free, or both. I recall at one particular school, we even had a full ceremony out front where officials from the city were invited to tell us what a wonderful thing it was that the school was drug and gun free, as if posting a sign to that effect meant that it reflected the truth.
If you stop to consider it, when schools post signs like this with absolutely nothing in place to back up the claim, the sign itself becomes a bit of a joke, doesn’t it? Give that some thought.
What criminal is going to approach a school that has one of the above-mentioned signs if he has either drugs or a gun is going to toss them in the garbage can before entering school property? Yet, it appears that the average person fully believes that a sign that states a policy is equivalent to a police officer standing at the entrance of that school with a portable metal detector and checking everyone’s person and bags before allowing them to enter. It’s really asinine.
On one hand, I can certainly appreciate the fact that the schools want to boast that they are drug and/or gun free. That’s a noble claim; one that any school would be proud of claiming. However, in point of fact, there is absolutely no way that the school can guarantee that they are those things unless they have some type of system in place that can 1) verify it, and 2) enforce it. This simply is not part of the process.
Believing otherwise is like driving down a two-lane road and being convinced that the painted line in the middle of the highway that separates the two lanes will never be crossed by someone who unintentionally veers across that line into your lane. The line is not a brick wall that can actually keep vehicles out. It is a painted line that simply tells people “hey, don’t cross this solid yellow line!” That’s it. The line itself has no ability to enforce what it tells you to do as a driver.
I remember living in Fresno, CA quite a few years ago. As one who thoroughly enjoys looking through history books about places I’ve lived, I found one particular book in either a bookstore or library (can’t remember which) that highlight what I call the “glory” days of Fresno. During those days there was a billboard as you entered the town that said something like “There are no motorcycle cops in Fresno. The Speed Limit is 30mph. You are on your honor to drive the streets of Fresno safely.” I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but it was something like that.
Now I’m sure in those days, most people obeyed that sign. However, even then, there were some who likely ignored it. Today, nearly everyone would ignore it and many people do not obey the laws as they are written even when they know the chances of getting pulled over are great.
But we really need to ask ourselves a serious question about the role that signs play in thwarting crime and criminals. If a lunatic sees a sign on the front of a school that brags that there are neither drugs or guns allowed anywhere on campus, will that lunatic obey those signs? We all know that this is seriously doubtful.
A sign like those mentioned above, do not have the force of law. They cannot force anyone to obey. Moreover, if there is no system in place that backs up the statement on the sign, the sign might as well not be there because all it does is tell criminals that they will find no resistance inside that particular school. That’s shocking.
I may have written about this before, but even so, it’s worth a repeat. I saw a sign on the front of someone’s lawn not long ago boasting about the fact that they their household was 100% gun free. Of course, they did not place that sign on their lawn as anything more than to state their position to other people, ostensibly law-abiding citizens. I’m quite sure the reason they put that sign on their lawn was not to inform criminals that should they decide to rob that home, they would receive absolutely no lethal resistance, yet in the end, that’s really what it amounted to and they were not intelligent enough to figure that out.
Criminals will go where they have the least amount of resistance. Adam Lanza went to Sandy Hook, a school that was a “gun-free zone,” until Lanza showed up with his guns. Notice that he was not deterred by the sign at the front of the school. Note also that it took emergency personnel nearly 20 minutes to arrive. Is it any wonder that many young children and adults were shot to death in that time? Why do most massacres take place in so-called “gun-free zones”? There is little to no resistance there.
Go to a military installation sometime, like “Area 51.” What will you find? A plethora of signs warning you that if you attempt to cross over into government property, you will be shot. It is the same with most prisons, that have policies like “no warning shots fired.” These are some of the best reasons for a person to not go there or to not get into a brawl. No one wants to be shot and most people take seriously the statement that they will be shot if they do not obey the sign.
Yet, on our schools, we blatantly tell everyone including criminals and lunatics that there is no gun that might be used against them if they come in and attempt to do harm to innocent children. How stupid is that?
But, you say, there was an armed officer at Columbine and a lot of good he did! The two perpetrators in that incident waited until that officer was actually off-campus and by the time he had returned, they had already begun their massacre. The armed officer wasn’t able to stop anything because he wasn’t there when it began.
There are a good many things that can be done to strengthen existing gun laws without having to add yet more laws on top of everything. We can have better mental health checks and provide armed guards at schools. We can also remove the signs that essentially warn criminals and loons that they are free to take out a gun and start shooting at schools and resistance will essentially be nothing.
True “gun-free zones” are those areas where guns are not allowed and a system is in place that verifies and enforces the fact that guns are not allowed there. Simply placing a sign that announces to the world that the place is “gun-free” is tantamount to leaving your doors unlocked with a sign outside that tells everyone what’s inside your home. It becomes an invitation for the criminal.
There was a reason that James Holmes of the Aurora, CO shooting chose a Cinemark theater as opposed to the numerous other movie theaters he could have chosen that day. Cinemark theaters have signs posted that forbid the presence of guns. No one is allowed to have them on their person when they go to a Cinemark theater. Apparently, the powers that be believe – stupidly, I might add – that all people, including law-abiding citizens and criminals are going to leave their weapons out in the car.
What Cinemark did was create an imaginary gun-free zone that was only obeyed by guess who? That’s right, law-abiding citizens. James Holmes came in through an emergency exit door and started blasting away inside the theater. What? He did not obey the posted signs forbidding him from bringing in guns? Uh…yeah, that’s what he did.
Schools need to do a number of things. It may be too late to remove the “gun-free zone” signs, but they should be removed unless and until the schools also have in place the means to forcibly keep guns out of schools. Obviously signs by themselves are not going to do the trick anymore than putting a billboard up telling people that they are on their honor to obey the speed laws of the city.
But too many people, led by politicians who also do not have the ability to think clearly or logically, believe that the push should be on eliminating guns from society. There is no logic in that type of thinking because there are way too many guns out there for this notion to become a reality. Removing guns from society really only means removing guns from law-abiding citizens. I’m certain the politicians know and understand this, but prefer to resolutely ignore it because they’d prefer to play on people’s emotions instead. That makes them seem caring. In truth, they don’t care about law-abiding citizens. If they did, they would do what they could to take guns away from criminals. The problem is that they just don’t know how to do that, so they’ll settle for removing them from or making them harder to get for law-abiding people.
The imaginary gun-free zones that exist in our schools and other places like Cinemark theaters are absurd. They don’t work because they are nothing but imaginary zones. They are not real. They provide no real threat to the criminal or loon and because of that, they are completely ineffective.
Of course, if a young girl brings a piece of paper shaped like a gun, well, let’s make sure she is suspended or at the very least embarrassed because of it. Things are way out of whack today and it’s because of erroneous beliefs that continue to prop up the empty arguments about eliminating guns from society. Too many people think that by simply posting a sign, we have done what needs to be done to keep the bad guy out. When that doesn’t work, it is argued that we need to ban guns or certain types of guns (even though as it turns out, the “assault” rifle was not actually used in the Sandy Hook tragedy).
I cannot help but wonder when lunacy will fall by the wayside and people will start to think logically about the problem of criminals with guns in our society. As it is, the focus now is essentially on law-abiding citizens and it appears it always will be if the morons continue to run the asylum as they are doing in Washington, DC.
Adam Lanza should not have had those guns. He wasn’t old enough. He broke the law, didn’t he? Obviously, the law itself does not restrain criminals and lunatics. If it did, we would be a society of no crime.
We need to consider looking at things in a different light if we are going to take and keep guns out of the hands of the wrong person. A good place to start is in realizing that schools are not gun-free or drug-free zones simply because the school officials placed a sign at the entrance stating as much.
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