In almost every action movie we eventually arrive at the critical point where the bad guys hold all of the cards and the good guys are seemingly out of options. It is at this juncture that the hero steps forward and says, “I’m going in. “
He risks everything to save the day. We are allowed to project that in a similar circumstance we would have summoned the courage and done the same thing. We may even feel the endorphins pulse through our veins as we watch the scene unfold. It is for that feeling more than anything else that millions fork over eight bucks for popcorn.
Real life is a bit more complicated. We saw real life play out in that sleepy little town in Texas recently. While the facts remain a bit sketchy, the story that seems to be emerging is anything but heroic for local law enforcement. In this drama the hero was an off-duty border patrol agent. Unfortunately, he arrived too late on the scene. The on-duty officers had taken cover for half an hour while the madman delivered unspeakable horror upon the innocent children trapped inside that school. Like virtually all similar stories, the bloodbath finally ended when a good guy with a gun took down the bad guy with a gun.
Images like those of 911 will be forever burned into our memories.
We remember the off-duty firefighters who gave up their round of golf to race down to the towers…never to return. The ones who ran into the burning buildings to save those trying to get out. Or of Todd Beamer who was headed to a business meeting in California when he boarded United flight 93. The 32 year old father and Sunday School teacher had no way of knowing that by noon he would die in a field in rural Pennsylvania. Or that his actions and immortal words “Let’s Roll” would be chiseled into history.
Having met several Congressional Medal of Honorees, I found a similar thread to their stories. They generally don’t consider themselves heroes. They invariably say that they were put into a situation where they realized that something had to be done and they were only ones who could do it. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was no other way out. All knew the risks were great. There’s a reason that many of these medals are awarded posthumously.
It’s as if just the right metal was put into the furnace, heated to the correct temperature, poured into the perfect mold and a hero was coined.
The purpose here is not to second guess or question the delays by the police in Uvalde. We want to believe that the police are super heroes who will risk their lives to save the day. Reality paints a different picture. Real heroes are rare. Police forces recruit from the human race. We’ve seen that delays like waiting for SWAT teams can produce horrific results.
Predictably, the enemies of the Second Amendment jumped in front of the klieg lights to demand that we restrict the rights of law abiding citizens to own firearms. They know (or should know) that we already put restrictions on felons and lunatics acquiring guns. We know that with over 300,000,000 guns in circulation, Satanic madmen will eventually find weapons. According to actual FBI crime statistics, more Americans are killed with fists, knives and blunt instruments than with long guns (shotguns and rifles). https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-11. But facts never get in the way of some good demagoguery.
The lessons of this unspeakable tragedy are there for all to see. First, evil still walks among us. That has not changed since man fell from grace. Second, we cannot expect our police to arrive or even act in time to protect us. It takes a good guy with a weapon to stop a bad guy with a weapon. Therefore we need more, not fewer good people who are trained and equipped with firearms to stop evil before casualty counts rise.
We are reminded that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph in this world is for good people to do nothing. The Second Amendment has little to do with hunting deer or ducks. It’s about our right to defend ourselves, our families and our liberties.
Recent events demonstrate that it’s a right that’s well-worth defending.