We have all been listening to the gun debate since the appearance of a man possessed by such a level of evil that he could kill child and adult alike without a moment’s hesitation.
We have all heard the solution . . . . disarm. Forgo semi-automatic carbines, “large capacity” magazines, your weapon with a bayonet lug on its front . . . . just let it go . . . . for the good of the children . . . . let it go . . . . .
What they are really asking is . . . . .
“Trust Me! I can protect you!”
Let’s chat a bit about trust, it’s place in our lives, some of my personal experiences with it and then I want to apply this idea of “trust” to a couple of acts of evil that are being use to bludgeon us all with.
Trust: a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b: one in which confidence is placed
The sound of the 120mm rockets were deafening. The satchel charge that had just removed a substantial portion of our building’s roof was still ringing in our ears and the B40 rounds striking the runway tower left a sickening feeling in our stomachs as Mike and I ran towards its base looking for the VC that had infiltrated our perimeter and were working us over. The thought of whether either of us could be trusted to cover and protect the other never even appeared as a glimmer of doubt – our trust in each other solid, our determination firm - we hunted. And such is “trust” that is developed in areas where your life may well be in another’s hands. LEOs, firefighters, EMTs, first responders, those who have spent time as “rough” men and women - they have a level of understanding of the word “trust” few ever develop.
Easter dinner is slowly roasting in the oven at our daughter’s home. Mrs B and I are on the living room floor with Ms. L. She is standing firm. But walking??? MMMmmmm, not so much. I have her one hand and she is attempting to step towards grandma – arm out stretched. She is giggling – eyes glinting with a joy only an 11 month old can have – full of trust that as she stretches her arms and learns this difficult skill of walking – grandma and grandpa are there with a sure grip. She instinctively trusts with her soul and her life. The trust of a child is total and absolute.
The troop trailer closes for a final time. Our paddle has been long planned over the winter. Our practice runs complete, food kitted and stored, canoes loaded and a parking lot full of kids/parents/leaders try to get everyone loaded for the 10 hour drive that lies before us. A mom looks me directly in the eye . . . . “You’ll take care of him . . . right?” “Yes Ma’am . . . he’ll be fine. We’ll see you in a week.” At that moment I had pledged my life to this mom. As with Mike three decades earlier – I saw her son as my charge. He would be fine and return in a week – she had my life on it. The trust placed in a leader – be it a scout leader, platoon leader, an EMT, a police officer – is a sacred trust. A true leader takes all risks into account, examines the objective, the orders given and then leads in a way that provides the best possibility for survival. The trust given becomes a responsibility of the individual accepting it.
The trust of a soldier, a grandparent, a scouter – a few examples that help define what I mean when I say the words – “you can trust me”. That word has depth and breadth and fiber. What are our politicians asking of us with all this rehashed gun legislation?? “Trust us. We do not believe YOU can be trusted with a carbine or a magazine with more than “x” number of rounds. Place your trust in us instead, we will protect you.”
Three different examples.
August 20th, 1999 – 5 years after the enactment of the 1994 assault weapon ban went into effect. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold executed their plan attack their high school and kill as many of their classmates and teachers as they could. Using a pump action 12 gauge shotgun and a 9mm carbine with 13 10-round magazines they wounded and killed over 30 people. “Reasons” that sound all too similar to recent events were thrown about – they were bullied, they were heavily medicated, they played violent video games and watched violent movies. Yet, under all of these “reasons” – it was simply an evil act conducted by evil men. Period. The real tragedy here – in my eyes – is that the federal government and state governments demanded – by law – that Columbine High School trust them to protect the students. They made it a criminal offense for a parent, teacher or school administrator to have the tools available to defend their charges and instead said – “trust us”. Over 30 dead and wounded victims show in the starkest possible terms that their trust was sadly misplaced.
The evening of July 20, 2012 found a theater full of friends and family anxiously awaiting the premier of the latest Batman movie. James Holmes was excited for an entirely different reason. This would be his opportunity to become a villain – a real life villain. Armed with a carbine (and, gratefully, a defective 100 round magazine), a shotgun and a .40 caliber handgun and but 15 minutes time - he killed twelve and wound around 60 more. This was all done behind the safety and protection of a “No Firearms Permitted” sign prominently displayed at the entrance of the theater. Once again federal and state politicians said the words – “trust us, we will protect you”. However, James easily proved that true evil cares little for stern words. Again, those within the theater found their trust misplaced.
Finally, Sandyhook. A walking example of pure evil carrying a carbine and 9 - 30 round magazines along with semi-automatic pistols shot his way into an elementary school killing 6 staff and 20 children. These victims were again protected by signs and locked doors. Their parents and love ones were asked to trust local, state and federal politicians as signs were dictated, door locks installed and drills were conducted. These steps would keep the children safe. These people were trusted by the victims and the families of Sandyhook. Yet again – a trust sadly misplaced.
Today, months after Sandyhook and over a decade after Columbine we hear the same mantra over and over and over . . . .
“Trust us; we will protect you and your children.” All that is needed is that we surrender our weapons, our magazines, our constitutional rights to the government. All that is needed is that we place our lives, our wellbeing and those of our children in the hands of the government and their laws against our right to keep and bear arms. Once we are disarmed . . . . once our ability to defend ourselves is gone . . . . then evil will stand down. Then the James Holmes’, the Erick Harris’, the Dylan Klebold’s and the evil that walked the halls of Sandyhook will stop their violence, end their killing and leave us all in safety.
“Trust Us” . . . .
Have we not learned our lesson . . . .?