The Column, No. 81:

Evil From a Man, Not a Gun

By Major Van Harl, USAF Ret.

A redneck friend of mine and a native Texan sent me a picture by e-mail of a Texas road sign. A green highway sign, with the Texas flag on it that you see as you drive into that state. They usually have the expression “Don’t mess with Texas” on the bottom of the sign. The sign in the picture had four more lines added. “Our citizens have concealed weapons”; “If you kill someone, we kill you back”; “We enjoy gun fights, it’s a Texas tradition” and “We have 120 prisons – enjoy your stay.” There is a good chance that the signage has been enhanced on someone’s computer. Perhaps Texas does not officially endorse such verbiage.

The alter-ego of my red neck Texas friend is a mild mannered, retired Oklahoma grade school teacher. I am sure there is no way she would indorse lawlessness in the guise of revenge or streets of Laredo justice. Evil, however, sometimes knows no justice. Sometimes you just have to stop evil before it can harm again.

I have been to Columbine high school. I was in Colorado Springs four years ago, when evil in the guise of a wannabe missionary (who was removed from training) killed innocent family members walking out of church on a cold December, Sunday morn. As a Colorado Ranger, I made the offer in my column to attend the execution of Major Hasan, assuming he ever goes to trial for the massacre of thirteen soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas.

Now we have the movie theater massacre of twelve innocent people (including three military members) in Aurora, Colorado. A planned, practiced, and very well orchestrated public display of evil. The shooter was seen at an outdoor firing range practicing with the very rifle, handgun and shotgun he used to dispense evil in the form of murder. There is video footage of the two Columbine high school murderers shooting their weapons prior to their deliverance of death and unrecoverable family destruction. The guns are only the tools to facilitate the pain and carnage that the deliverers of evil used. It was not guns that the 9-11 hijackers used to kill almost 3000 victims. It was airplanes that were controlled and guided by pure evil that flew into the towers.

Colorado citizens have the state sanctioned right to carry a firearm to protect and defend their lives and the lives of their families. The City of Aurora and the movie theater took that right away from the innocent patrons. There is probably little chance that a lone theater patron carrying his or her legally authorized handgun was going to rise from their seat and single handedly charge the “machine gun of evil” and kill the destructive shooter.

Many of the patrons were, however, lying on the floor looking up at the shooter from a few feet away. In that scenario, a single armed citizen could have made a big difference in how many were killed or injured that night, but no, Aurora is "gun free" by city ordinance. By Colorado state statute, a business can post their premises for the open (non-concealed carry) carry of a firearm, but they cannot post against concealed carry. Again, Aurora is a gun free city, as far as I can see against Colorado state statute.

Wisconsin enacted concealed carry in November of 2011. They made sure in the new statute that if you did not post your business against carrying a firearm on your premises, you would not be held liable if an evil person used his weapon to harm people on your property. However, if you choose to post your business and disallow a citizen the ability to carry their firearm to defend themselves and they are harmed because they cannot defend, you the business owner are liable. I believe this is not the case in Colorado. So, the dead and the many wounded could not defend from or repel evil.

The current liberal government is laying low on the gun control issue. They know it is a political career stopper and want to side step any semblance of trying to stand in the way of the Second Amendment, at least until they can get their candidate reelected. The firearm in the hands of evil can and most assuredly will destroy, but it is evil that drives this train. Evil will always be with us and Americans must be able to oppose, defend and stop it whenever they can. The words on the Texas road sign seem less funny and ring more true.

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Copyright 2012 by Major Van Harl, USAF Ret. and/or All rights reserved.