CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many amateur and professional commentators will offer comments on Trayvon Martin's murder and the Florida prosecutors' surprising inability to find a crime of which George Zimmerman could be convicted. Instead of treading that ground, I want to try to find some lessons we can take home from the murder itself.
We have had some spirited debates about gun control as our country has suffered the shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook Elementary School. There are a number of less-noted incidents that have not generated the casualty count or the poignant pictures of the sweet children whose lives were wasted before they ever fully began. We ask our politicians to take some collective action to restrict guns from our streets.
Nobody has asked for legal restrictions that would take guns out of our homes for protection. Nobody has asked for any restrictions that would infringe on our proud hunting traditions. Nobody.
Instead of passing some common sense laws that would restrict the guns on our streets, most of our West Virginia politicians give us the obscene and pitiful spectacle of running in the opposite direction to encourage more of our citizens to bring their guns onto the streets. Most of our delegates this last legislative session voted to overrule communities like Charleston that had imposed restrictions that limited people to wait for three days to buy a handgun and limited purchasers to one handgun purchase per month. Charleston also had banned guns on publicly owned property, such as parks and pools.
Our Delegate Patrick Lane, in an eleventh-hour move, created an amendment to an unrelated bill that forced the city to give up sovereignty over its gun laws to get flexibility in taxation. "Crime could happen anyplace. You obviously want to be able to defend yourself and your family if something happens," Lane said.
Where does this guy live?
Lane joins those who think that having more guns on the street makes us safer. He joins those whose pretzel logic would predict that more poorly trained people of unknown mental fitness carrying deadly weapons makes things better. Some say that the way to have better safety in public schools is to have more people carrying guns even in our public schools.
Having more guns on the street only creates more George Zimmermans.
Would Zimmerman have disobeyed the 911 officer, getting out of his car to interrogate Treyvon Martin, if he hadn't been carrying a gun? Would he have taken the chance to get into a confrontation with this unarmed teenager if he weren't fortified with a firearm? Might he have left law enforcement to trained law enforcement officials without the artificial fortification of a gun in his pocket?