School Shootings, Gun Rights, and the Imitation of Evil

By John Zmirak Published on February 16, 2018

School shootings have become a uniquely American, demonic mode of performance “art.” Whichever evil spirits moved the killers of Columbine, they ensured that there would be imitators. As Christian philosopher Rene Girard observed, man is a mimetic animal. He learns what to do, for good or for ill, by emulating others. (That’s why we talk of “role models,” the “imitation of Christ,” and “copycat killers.”)  And it’s why we see bizarre phenomena like “suicide epidemics,” as teenagers see one of their own go out in a blaze of “glory,” and decide to follow suit, sometimes in the dozens.

Charles Manson had hoped that his “Helter Skelter” slaughter in Hollywood would ignite a contagion of violence that led to a race war. He failed. But countless men like him succeeded, whether they knew what they did or not. Someone was the first to set a store on fire during the Watts riots and the Los Angeles riots. Somebody got the idea first in Spain in 1936 to dig up the corpses of nuns and put them in pornographic poses. Some guttersnipe in 1789 decided to start mutilating aristocrats, and carrying their genitals hoisted on poles through the Paris streets.

That kind of evil emulation doesn’t only happen with mobs on the spur of the moment. The killing of John F. Kennedy probably inspired the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Twisted, little men see others just like them catapulted into the news, and the history books, by a single crime. Some of them follow the promptings of their own personal Screwtapes, and “go therefore and do likewise.”

Such people will always find the weapons they need. If we banned every private firearm in America, they would reach back to that traitor and murderer Timothy McVeigh. He used a fertilizer bomb. If we banned all fertilizer, then degenerates who craved fame would use pressure cookers. You know, like the Muslim refugees who blew up the Boston Marathon. Evil will find a way. It always does.

The citizenry as a whole must be kept defanged and helpless, dependent on faraway riot police to come and collect the corpses.

But stripping our law-abiding citizens of weapons would do something else. Actually, it would accomplish a long list of things, all of them awful.

Helpless Before Jihadists

Why is it, do you think, that Muslim colonists feel free to maul, rape, and assault women in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Britain? They know perfectly well that none of the helpless natives in the area will be armed or could resist them. (In Britain, of course, not even the beat cops have guns.) By contrast, a terrorist striking here in Texas knows that some armed citizen might stop him. So one stopped the would-be massacre at the Draw Muhammad event in Garland, Texas.

Stripping the population of the means to protect itself renders them helpless before the barbarians whom our elites keep inviting in. In America, that would mean not just jihadis, but members of the drug cartels that control our southern border. Their native land, Mexico, has draconian gun control. How’s that working out for them?

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

Powerless Before the Government

Those who despise the “deplorable” masses in their countries, from the U.S. to Western Europe, share certain attributes. They want to preen as promoting “high-minded,” outrageously reckless policies that impair the nation’s safety. They also want protection, so many of them have their own private or government security. But the citizenry as a whole must be kept defanged and helpless, dependent on faraway riot police to come and collect the corpses. Meanwhile their nations get handed over piecemeal to aliens, and their votes made meaningless by oligarchical bodies such as the EU and the UN.

Some of us remember the greatest threat to innocent human life in history: The modern state. Non-partisan historian R.J. Rummel documented in his classic, Death By Government, the death toll of citizens murdered by their governments — apart from war time — in the bloody 20th century. His total? Hold your breath … it’s 133,147,000. Those citizens, mostly disarmed beforehand by their governments, had no means of self-defense. 

Veal Calves for the Slaughter

Legal historian Stephen Halbrook noted in Gun Control in the Third Reich that previous, liberal governments had cleared the way for Nazi tyranny by seizing or registering the guns of law-abiding citizens. When the Nazis came to power, they just opened up the books and demanded that every socialist, Jew, or other likely victim come turn in his weapon. Tragically, thousands complied — and ended up in death camps. What resistance movements thrived in Nazi-occupied countries relied on whatever private firearms its citizens hadn’t turned in to their previous liberal governments.

Stripping the population of the means to protect itself renders them helpless before the barbarians whom our elites keep inviting in. In America, that would mean not just jihadis, but members of the drug cartels that control our southern border. Their native land, Mexico, has draconian gun control. How’s that working out for them?

It’s telling that in America, after the Civil War, one of the key goals of the Ku Klux Klan was to use gun control laws to disarm black citizens.

No Second Amendment? Then There’s No First. 

But we needn’t look to Stalin, Hitler, or the Klan to see the powerful impact of disarming the citizenry. One news story from gun-grabbing Norway pointed it up. As The Christian Post reports:

A Canadian Christian family is crying out for help after their 12-year-old son was forcibly removed from their home in Norway by government officers in response to their decision to homeschool him. The parents had pulled him from a public school after he was bullied.

The father, Leif Kristiansen, posted a video to Facebook last Thursday that shows police officers and officials from Norway’s child services agency, Barnevernet, chasing and tackling their son, Kai, before taking him away from their apartment in Ås.

“Can somebody please help us? … Barnevernet is stealing our child!” Terese Kristiansen, a Canadian citizen, shouts frantically in the video posted to her husband’s Facebook page.

According to Kristiansen, the action taken by the government occurred after they decided to remove their son from public school due to “death threats” from classmates and other forms of bullying.

“They are punishing the family and the child for standing up to this oppressive state,” Kristiansen says in the video as her son screams for help with an officer sitting on top of him in the snow.

As I wrote on Twitter:

Try That in America, Pal

It’s not that an American family facing such a seizure would shoot at the cops trying to carry it out. Rather, it’s that in a country with an armed citizenry, the government wouldn’t even try to impose such an outrageous law. A citizenry that insists on keeping its guns also insists on firm parental rights. And the fact of our Second Amendment is finally the best guarantee of all of the other amendments. Without it, they’re paper tigers.

So when our elites try to imitate the evils of their peers over in Europe, by disarming our populace, just remember every one of our other rights, which would be at risk after they disarmed us. They’ll just have to pry them out of our cold, dead fingers.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • For perspective— in case any is needed — the number John Zmirak gives here of people killed by governments in the 20th century is equal to the entire population of the United Stated just before the middle of the century. The whole country.

    • Andrew Mason

      Much of this would be the result of the Stalinist and Maoist regimes though correct? Love joy and tolerance Atheism style :;

  • Paul

    John, you previously commented the 2nd Amendment wasn’t your specialty, and once pointed me to a lame opinion piece about guns. You must have been doing some homework, this is a great article.

  • ImaginaryDomain

    Yes indeed John.

  • Jeff Gibbons

    So do we just sit and accept school shootings? Arm every teacher, student, and administrator with a handgun or assault weapon? The reason that these “liberal elites” keep bringing up gun control is because they want the shootings to stop and the only answer they’re given is “suck it up and buy a gun.” I can’t own a gun, so I guess that means it’s my fault if I get shot. I don’t believe that regulations or restrictions will stop school shootings, and I’m not trying to be critical of this article. I’m just weary of seeing such violence, and it makes me just want to stay inside and retreat from the world entirely.

    • tether

      Actually we don’t need gun control we need to teach our children morals.
      In an immoral society as we are becoming these types of events will escalate.

      • michael

        Having guns in everyone’s hands isn t going stop anything . Immorality starts from the top and form the pulpit.

        • tether

          Yes it does start at the top. Beginning with our government, all 3 branches, parents who no longer discipline their children, absent dad’s and moms. Preaching of a watered down version of the Bible. A society that promotes objectification of women. A society where an unborn baby is only a life when it is convenient for the woman carrying it, like when she loses the baby as a result of an accident involving a drunk driver, then it is manslaughter or murder but if the woman wants to abort it then it is no longer a life but just tissue so the person destroying that unborn baby has done no wrong.

          • michael

            It reminds me of the poem the second coming. It spoke of the evil people having all the passion.

          • Cody


    • Bryan

      Jeff, I agree. I’m weary of school shootings particularly and mass shootings in general. I think tether is right though. It’s not accept shootings and move on, it’s not arm every teacher (though training teachers to hide in place, isn’t a great idea either). I get that “liberal elites” in general do care about safety. The problem is their solution won’t work. And when others suggest something along the lines of what tether posted, it’s scoffed at or ignored.
      The key issue is our hearts and our minds. Will we regulate ourselves with self-control, temperance, etc.? Or will we encourage our passions without any regard to how our actions impact others? Will we encourage virtues and the discipline to maintain them? Or will we allow vice to bring anarchy to our lives and the lives of those around us?

    • Paul

      As John is pointing out in this article, the greater threat is the violence that comes from government.

    • Charles Burge

      If just one teacher at that school (or Sandy Hook, or Columbine, or any other in recent history) had had a gun in his or her classroom closet or desk drawer, and was trained how to use it, how do you suppose events would have occurred differently? I contend that far fewer people would have died. Further, I contend that these kinds of massacres will stop when the would-be murderers figure out that someone is likely to shoot back.

      • Jeff Gibbons

        I think instead of investing in a house, I’ll buy myself an underground bunker. Seems to be an appropriate response to survive the world.

        • Paul

          It was not long ago in the US during the cold war that many did add bunkers to their property, and it is still not a bad idea. Far too many folks have a false sense of security in our stick framed boxes.

      • Paul

        I agree with your overall sentiment but would emphasize the need to keep a firearm in a securely locked storage when not in the owners physical possession.

      • AvantiBev

        I suggest you look up PEARL H.S. shooting (early 1990s). Shooter Luke Woodham killed his ex and another girl and then headed to his car which was filled with ammo he intended for his 2nd rampage planned for a junior high. He was stopped by the vice principal Joel Myrick who raced to his truck and got his pistol holding Woodham for the 8 to 10 minutes it took police to get there. He was NOT accorded to hero status by our dear lame stream media though his action with his gun SAVED lives. It is not what you take into your hand which makes you unclean but that which proceedth from your heart.

    • Andrew Mason

      The issue is that the only way to stop a shooter is with a gun, police won’t be around when the shooting starts, and a well thought out plan could ensure scores of casualties before the police finally arrive. The alternative to relying on police is some form of self sufficiency – armed teachers for instance. There’s no need for everyone to be armed – in fact some should not be armed, but armed defenders would complicate any plan immensely!

    • tz1

      To riff off my abortion observation, we need to make School Shootings safe, legal, and rare. Well, they are already rare.

  • BTP

    The right to sell-defense is a natural right and laws that attempt to remove it are, according to Catholic tradition, not laws at all. I expect the USCCB will make this point publicly any moment now.

    • Paul

      And yet many Catholic churches prohibit law abiding people from carrying a firearm while attending. Some protestant denominations also engage in the same folly making their congregants more vulnerable.

      • BTP

        Well, I’d simply disregard such rules. If you’re properly concealed, nobody will be the wiser. Around here, most parishes have shown the, perhaps uncharacteristic, wisdom of simply not saying anything.

        • Paul

          Yes, far wiser than the foolishness of putting up a sign declaring this place is full of defenseless people.

  • TheSaint4JC

    The problem with mental illness is that the mentally ill think that they are the ones who are okay and the rest of the world is crazy…

    The other part of this problem is that we have been bullied by liberals to not label people, and therefore instead of identifying the mentally ill as such, we pump them full of drugs and pray to God that they never stop taking them… the problem is, they can’t be trusted to keep taking their meds b/c they don’t see themselves as sick.

    Not to mention that the drugs do nothing to address the emotional problems and poor coping skills of those who are mentally unstable.

    • Paul

      Yes, the question there is who decides what mental illness is or isn’t. We now live in a country that validates the delusion that a man is a woman and vice versa, and TV personalities feel free on their shows to deem Christians as mentally ill.

  • tz1

    Non-partisan historian R.J. Rummel documented in his classic, Death By Government, the death toll of citizens murdered by their governments — apart from war time — in the bloody 20th century. His total? Hold your breath … it’s 133,147,000

    Not counting aboritons. But that is indifference instead of direct action. The police stand aside or arrest those who would protect the innocent.

    Private firearm ownership? Whom are you going to protect? Are you going to an abortion clinic near you and stop the slaughter of innocents (I noted there were fewer Abortionists in the USA than Al Queda, but for all the Krav-Maga, guns, assault training, that the big bad Christian crusader soldiers would REFUSE to protect these innocents, but then what is the point?).

    • Paul

      In China abortion was directed by govt

      • tz1

        Then we should sanction the evil murderous Chinese government and refuse to have anything to do with them much less trade, not unlike North Korea.

        • Paul

          I think the plank in our own eye needs addressing first

    • Andrew Mason

      The problem is, how do you justify an attack on an abortion clinic? Thou Shalt Not Murder goes both ways. If Christians, and like minded people could convince a majority of Americans that abortion was murder then they could be closed down, and lives saved. So long as most Americans seem to think they’re a constitutional right your options are limited.

      • tz1

        So if you were armed, and at the school where the gunman murdered 17 teens, you would not use your weapon to kill him to prevent it?

        The definition of Murder is part of objective ethics, not subject to a democratic vote.

        Moreover, in 1974, I doubt even 10 states would have voted to say Abortion is NOT murder. We recently voted – even California – that Marriage was between opposite sexes only. So what is the point of convincing 330 million people, when it only takes 5 of 9 to override it?

  • Arnold Kropp

    “Sorry. Your son/daughter was killed.”
    No. No. No. No. NO. NO! It’s a mistake. Oh my
    God. No No No. You fall into the arms of a stranger weeping. Entire body
    shakes. Cry till the eyes dry. Pray. Grab a pillow and weep. Do not disturb me?
    I want some answers God. Why? Why?
    The week passes, the loss returns in the morning as
    the school bell rings. Every evening as expectations of their return from
    school you weep some more. Sitting at the dinner table trying to keep the
    conversations on the light side. I should have told him/her I love you more
    often. I never should have done that. Oh, why did I ever say such and such? I
    should have been a better mother/father. I should have bought that for him/her.
    We should have gone on that vacation.

    Why? Oh God, if you’re real, why did you let this
    happen? Why? An answer came . . . . . . .

    “I’ve been kicked out of schools.”

History is His Story
Dwight Longenecker
More from The Stream
Connect with Us