According to law enforcement officials and most media outlets, fourteen police officers in the United States have been killed since January 1, 2011. While that figure may or may not be a surprise to some, it is a troubling trend. If that trend continues, this year will break all previous records.
In a study conducted by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, they stated that 14,000 federal, state and local officers died in the line of duty from 1900 to 2000. There were 405 deaths in the 1970s, 426 in the 1980s, and 651 in the 1990s. If one were to extrapolate all the extenuating circumstances into the latest figures, the number of law enforcement officials soon to loose their lives in the line of duty for the current decade could easily exceed the 1,800 mark.
The study also indicated that approximately half, 49%, of those officers killed, lost their lives from firearms wielded by violent offenders, while another 30% lost their lives from various crash-related incidents on our roadways. The trend shows that police officer deaths due to firearms may now rise to the 60% level. That percentage figure may seem at first blush to be somewhat benign, but the reality is extremely disturbing.
In the wake of the recent horrific acts of violence in Tucson, Arizona, where six people lost their lives during a political rally, and several more were wounded, including one gravely-injured congresswoman, all at the hands of one apparently very disturbed individual, the gun control lobbyists have, as expected, come out of the woodwork. Our Second Amendment rights will always be under attack, but never so much as when gun violence finds its way to the feet of a high profile celebrity or politician. Yet, where were the anti-gun folks when the two officers were shot to death in Florida this last week, or even the week before, when two others lost their lives in the Sunshine State?
Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), referring to a female officer in Texas who died in the line of duty several days ago, told a congressional audience that law enforcement personnel are our, “last strand of wire between the chickens and the foxes.” He was right. They are our protectors, the very last barrier between us and those out there who are perfectly willing to do us harm. Well, then, what is the answer? Should gun ownership be redefined in some way, perhaps curtailed altogether? Will that actually stop police officers from being shot, or protect the folks attending a political rally in front of some supermarket?
In a knee-jerk reaction to the Tucson tragedies, Representative Peter King (R-NY) planned to present legislation that would prevent armed offenders from approaching within 1,000 feet of any senator or congressperson. Really? Would that actually work? If it did work, we could use the same set of rules, and have them apply to law enforcement personnel as well. That’s it then, have all the armed violent offenders stand at least 1,001 feet away from all police officers. What a brilliant idea!
Look, the reality is this, it isn’t the guns that kill people, it is the lovely individual pulling the gun’s trigger. And it doesn’t matter if the rules state an armed person must stand 1,000 feet away, 5,000 feet away, or 5 feet. If someone has the mindset to arm themselves for the sole purpose of taking another’s life, a simple rule, such as some mysterious distance, isn’t going to stop that person.
In my less than illustrious career, I have been shot three times, and stabbed twice. Do I blame the three guns or the two knives that did the damage? No, of course not. I do blame the five idiots, but certainly not the weapons they carried. Thinking that banning guns and preventing gun ownership will prevent violent crime is absurd. It would be akin to banning automobiles and motorcycles because, after all, 30% of all officer-related death were the result of crashes on our roadways. That is, likewise, ridiculously naive. Taking guns out of our hands, only disarms law-abiding people, yet violent offenders will find weapons no matter what.
Perhaps we should insist that judges actually begin to throw the book at offenders, instead of allowing second, third and forth chances, just so those same people be allowed to prove their worth. God forbid, we actually took a hard stand against violent offenders, and stopped treating them as if they were first-time traffic violators. Our Second Amendment rights must be preserved, and violent offenders need to find a home. I could recommend any of a number of excellent prison facilities. Just ask me. I would be more than happy to help.