Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Throwing Gas on the Fire

Jerry Stratton, March 11, 2000

If any incident hilights the violence of prohibition and the futility of gun control, this six-year-old killing is it. A six-year-old problem child living in the midst of the illegal drug trade found or was given a handgun that had previously been acquired as a trade for cocaine and used it to kill a classmate.

None of the current “gun control” solutions have any hope of stopping events like this. Child safety locks won’t work. Waiting periods won’t work. “Instant” checks that take 72 hours won’t work. This was a stolen firearm in a crack house! There are only two solutions that have any hope of preventing such an occurence in the future.

One solution is to address the root causes on the societal level. The other is to innoculate the child into understanding the dangers of firearms on the individual level. Both should be tried, but the fastest and easiest is the second: we need good firearms safety training from kindergarten up. The best, most tested safety training program is the “Eddie Eagle” program from the National Rifle Association. We need to put aside our concerns over the NRA and get down to the business of saving lives. If Eddie Eagle saves lives--and it is clear that he does--we need to introduce him to every child in America. While this child’s home life was a mess, he was still within the normal school system. Safety training might have inoculated the child against the notion that firing a handgun at a classmate is a reasonable thing to do. Safety training for the killer’s classmates would definitely have stopped the killing. The killer had shown off the handgun to his classmates previously. Eddie Eagle teaches children that if they see someone using a firearm they should immediately tell an adult. (“Stop. Leave. Tell an Adult.”) If just one of the children who the six-year-old showed the handgun to previously had done as Eddie Eagle says and told an adult, Kayla Rolland would be alive today. The victim’s mother said, “I just couldn’t imagine how a 6-year-old baby could bring a gun into school and nobody seen it”. People did see it. Unfortunately, those people were other six-year-olds who had not received training in what to do when seeing another child acting dangerously. “Stop. Leave. Tell an adult” needs to be in every school.

In the long term, we need to fix the underlying problem. What was happening here? We have a six-year old with a stolen gun. Where did he get it? Where were his parents in all this? Well, his entire family, from his grandmother to his mother to his father and his uncle and an aunt, have all been involved in the black market. His father was in jail. He received the gun from someone who got it in a drug trade, from someone who bought in on the black market, from someone who stole it. Why does this six-year-old have access to the black market?

Why? It turns out this boy was living within the biggest black market of all. He was living in a “crack house”; when his mother, an addict, was evicted from her apartment, he went to live with his uncle, a drug dealer. This kid had access to anything the black market had to offer.

Who gave him this access? Everyone who supports the black market: everyone who supports the drug laws that create a black market in coca, that escalates the very minor problem of coca use to the major problem of cocaine and crack use.

We have created a violent world through the creation of stupid laws. This incident, and the others that occur because of prohibition violence, should tell us that we need to repeal those laws. Instead, children die because of stupid laws and we call for more stupid laws, this time against gun owners. What gun laws would have stopped this incident? Laws requiring trigger locks on stolen guns? Laws making it illegal for six-year-olds to smuggle guns into school that were picked up on the black market? Laws requiring drug dealers to keep their firearms safely locked away? (Believe it or not, Michigan prosecutor Arthur Busch is calling that the solution!) We’re talking about a six-year-old with a stolen gun, with one parent in prison, one in bondage to black marketeers, and a third guardian who is one of the black marketeers. If anything highlights the futility of using gun control to stop violence, this is it.

Using this incident to call for more gun control is utterly silly if the politicians believe it will help, and disgusting if they realize it won’t. The true solution is fewer laws. End the black market and we’ll end incidents like these. Throwing more gun laws and drug laws against this violence is like throwing gasoline on a blazing fire. It will only make the problem worse. Here’s something I ran across while doing research a few years ago:

“Instead of entering legitimate employment, they help in the family business and tend to acquire a distaste for work with less excitement and smaller returns. A violation in itself does not involve a sense of guilt; the only shame is in getting caught, and successful violation is rather a matter of boasting. Fear of punishment does not act as a deterrent to manufacture for home use or to engage in the traffic... usually wife and children help in it...” (Wickersham Commission Report on Alcohol Prohibition)

“Because of the fear of [drug dealers selling to children], students of Cass Technical High School were required to bring their lunches or to purchase them in the school cafeteria, but under no circumstances were they to leave the school premises during the noon hour. Bishop School was closed because of the abundance of [dealers] nearby. A spokeswoman for the Florence Crittendon Home announced that [drug dealers] serving teenagers were the principal contributing cause for a 300 percent increase in the number of delinquent cases handled by the home. The school board demanded that the police maintain safety zones’ for children in school neighborhoods.” (Larry Engelmann, The Lost War Against Intemperance)

Sound familiar? This is from 1931 and 1927, respectively, and the drug in question was alcohol. Alcohol prohibition resulted in the very same problems we’re seeing now. Children became involved with the black market. Children began carrying firearms inappropriately. Children became violent in schools. We ended that problem decisively, not by increasing stupid laws, but by ending them. We repealed prohibition, and violence in our schools ended. Today, our increased defense of the failed drug war sees more violence the more we spend on enforcement. When we renewed prohibition against hemp, coca, and poppies, we returned violence to our schools. The more we push the drug war, the more incidents like these we’ll see. We ended alcohol prohibition because we saw that “more laws resulted in more crimes”. We should do the same to eradicate the violence inherent in modern prohibition.

Look at Kayla Rolland’s tombstone. Look at the flowers outside her school. That is the face of the drug war. Support the drug war, and this is your responsibility.

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