In a darkened and noisy movie theater a crazed sociopath shocks the audience with tear gas bombs and then begins unloading his guns into the crowded and now panicked audience. His clothing mimics the SWAT team he knew would arrive after his killing spree and too late to stop his massacre.
12 people are murdered and 58 injured. The national media descends on Aurora, Colorado and the race-baiters like Jesse Jackson move in so as not to let this latest crisis go to waste. Jackson claims the murders are “not just an incident but a pattern.” He tells any who will listen that
This is not an issue of guns for the house, or keeping guns for hunting but rather, domestic terrorism. None are safe in the rise of domestic terrorism.
So with families grieving and victims’ funerals starting, the clamor for more gun limits begins and the collateral attack on freedom reaches fever pitches. Funded by taxpayers through the Public Broadcast System, Bill Moyers uses his taxpayer salary to blast a private organization, the National Rifle Association, as the “enabler of death:”
But who is the real enabler of death in the Aurora massacre?
What if Jesse Jackson is right?
What if the Aurora massacre is a pattern indicating a rise in domestic terrorism? If so, is our reliance on police to protect us a fatal dependence that instead calls for greater self-reliance for our own protection?
Too many Americans mistakenly believe that the police have a Constitutional duty to protect us from crime. In a (ironically) Colorado-based case, the Supreme Court has ruled the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect us from harm. Even if you have obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent spouse the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect you by arresting the spouse.
In a 1989 case the Supreme Court held that the failure by county social service workers to protect a young boy from a beating by his father did not breach any substantive Constitutional duty.
The police in Aurora responded admirably and quickly. But nonetheless, they responded. Police have a moral obligation to do just that, respond to calls for help, respond to crime scenes, respond to accidents, and respond to 911 calls about shootings in theaters.
Police do not have a duty to prevent sociopaths from going off the deep end and shooting theater patrons. Police do not have a duty to prevent gun violence.
If the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect us from violence, then whose responsibility is it?
The responsibility belongs to all of us and to each of us.
If I own a weapon and carry that weapon, my responsibility in that darkened theater is to protect myself, those around me and, if possible, take down the shooter.
No one knows if an armed citizen in the theater that night could have stopped or even minimized the killing, but we do know this: the police could not and did not arrive until after the killer had opened fire.
We also know that if armed citizens had been in that theater the chance the shooter could have been stopped earlier is greater than it was with no one armed in the theater.
Yet we want the government to protect us from these deranged minds.
We abdicate our personal responsibility to the government.
We see the needy and the poor, and we ask the government to intervene.
We see how poorly we plan for retirement and we ask the government to intervene.
We see people uninsured for healthcare by choice or circumstance, and we ask the government to intervene.
We see people unemployed and we ask the government to intervene.
What are we not willing to ask the government to intervene into our personal lives so that we might escape or avoid personal responsibility? Nothing, it seems.
If Jesse Jackson is right and a rise in domestic terrorism exists, what is our role?
Our role is to understand that as a nation we have personal responsibility for ourselves, for our neighbors, and for our own morals that dictate how we respond to those around us.
At some point don’t we admit that life has risks, that bad things happen, and that the government can’t stop or prevent the harm that might come from all those risks without impugning our own personal liberty and personal obligations?
The more we abdicate to government to protect us from the risks of life, the more we become a slave to the oppressive government whose politics are driven by risk-aversion that says we can’t tolerate anything bad happening.
We see that risk aversion in action when government creates a bureaucracy that gropes and prods us at airports, that feeds people who have a difficult time feeding themselves, that compensates people for not working, that provides refuge to those who would ignore our borders to live off the American taxpayer.
The murders in the Aurora theater that night were an insight into the American psyche, a psyche that says we don’t want bad things to happen, but can’t trust ourselves to care for ourselves.
We have abdicated responsibility in this nation to the very government the Founders said would consume us if we failed to limit it. We are the enablers of death, the death of liberty and freedom.