In one episode of CBS-TV's 1970s hit sitcom All in the Family, the central character, Archie Bunker, told his liberal son-in-law Michael what he would do to stop airplane hijackings. “Arm all the passengers,” Archie explained, to bursts of laughter.
Norman Lear, the show’s creator, is a prominent liberal who often put such comments in Archie’s mouth in an effort to portray all conservatives as just like Archie: ignorant and bigoted. Of course, it is unnecessary to “arm all the passengers” in order to stop a hijacking; however, it is clear that just one good guy with a gun in each plane could have stopped the 9/11 hijackers..
After the mass murders in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead, the issue of just how to best to prevent such shootings has once again garnered headlines. There are very different schools of thought as to what should be done, though one school of thought gets much more media attention than the other.
President Barack Obama and others on the Left have stridently pushed for more gun control laws — the usual knee-jerk liberal response that the establishment media never tires of trumpeting every time a mass shooting occurs.
But there is another school of thought — advocated by (among others) President Jerry Falwell, Jr. of Liberty Univerrsity in Lynchburg, Virginia. Addressing the university’s students this past week, Falwell announced a new policy: The students would be allowed to bring concealed weapons into their dorms. No longer would the college, founded by Falwell’s famous Southern Baptist minister father, be a “gun-free zone.” The younger Falwell even encouraged students, faculty, and staff to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, boldly predicting that this would counter any campus shootings.
Falwell's change in policy was provoked by the recent attacks in San Bernardino, California, by Syed Farook and his wife, Tasheen Malik that killed at least 14 people. The liberal media predictably attempted to cast Falwell’s remarks as an example of anti-Muslim bigotry, because he made reference to Muslims, when in fact Falwell was referring to just two specific Muslims: Farook and Tasheen Malik.
Although Virginia does not allow anyone under the age of 21 to obtain a concealed-carry permit, older students — who generally do not live on campus — may now carry a concealed firearm when they are on campus..
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, agreed with Falwell’s approach, asserting, “Any time you have a gun-free zone, you’ve got a dangerous area — especially if criminals or terrorists are aware of it.”
Examples that confirm Van Cleave’s position are numerous. America’s most infamous mass shootings have all taken place at those sites where guns are not allowed, such as post offices, schools, and churches. The “Joker” killer in Aurora, Colorado, murdered moviegoers in a theater that did not allow concealed carry.
Andrew Goddard, a gun control advocate whose son was wounded during the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech (another gun-free zone), dismissed Van Cleave’s views as “fantasy.” And so, apparently, would David Bioren (shown above, right), the president of Oklahoma University, whose views on how to protect his university from a would-be mass murderer are very different from those of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell.
Boren, who is also a former Democrat member of the U.S. Senate, strongly opposes allowing students, staff, or faculty to carry concealed on his Norman campus. He insists that such permission "makes no sense" and would “put our university students, faculty and staff at risk."
In January, 2014, someone on the Norman campus mistook a backfiring vehicle for a shooting incident, and alerted campus police. Boren praised the “quick response of campus and Norman police,” despite it being a false alarm, and two hours after issuing a text alert of a campus shooting, Boren took the opportunity to speak out again in opposition of firearms on the campus.
“I think the most unwise thing in the world we can do is put guns in the hands of all the people on campus," he insisted. "I feel such a sense of responsibility to the safety of our students that I am strongly — I can’t say how strongly — I am opposed to arming people and putting guns in the hands of people who don’t have specialized training to respond to this kind of incident.”
Following this incident, Oklahoma State Senator Jabar Shumate, a Tulsa Democrat, swiftly introduced a bill to prohibit anyone from bringing a handgun onto school property, regardless of a valid handgun license, even in the transport of students. A little over a year later, Boren appointed Shumate vice president of the University of Oklahoma.
While Boren fears guns in the hands of students, faculty, and staff at O.U., when he was a member of the U.S. Senate, he called for the creation of a “rapid deployment force of 100,000 volunteers that could train under common leadership” of the United Nations. Apparently the O.U. president fears guns in the hands of students, faculty and staff at his campus, but not in the hands of UN troops. Boren, who was a member of the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) while in Congress, declared, “Such a force, uniformly trained and ready to act, would go a long way toward making the New World Order more than just a slogan.” No doubt it would. Which is a good reason it should be opposed.
Thankfully, many local law enforcement officers around the country have stepped forward, urging citizens to be prepared to defend themselves from acts of terrorism, whatever the motivation. C. Mitchell Shaw, writing in The New American, quoted Hughes Springs, Texas Police Chief Randy Kennedy, who urged citizens to be prepared to defend themselves. After all, he said, when a citizen has need of a policeman in seconds, the officer is "only minutes away."
Chief Kennedy addressed Obama’s call for yet more gun control legislation. “Mr. Obama, you need to understand what the Second Amendment is for. It is not for hunting; it is there for the American people to protect themselves against the criminal element, to protect themselves against terrorists and radical ideology, it is also there to protect us from a government that has overreached its power.”
If Boren wants to see a stark example of how a good man with a gun can prevent the killing of innocent civilians in a terrorist attack, he need only read about an incident in September of 2014 in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, when Alton Nolan, a former employee of the Vaughn Foods processing plant who had just been fired, attacked two female employees of the Vaughn Foods processing plant, beheading one and critically injuring the other. Nolan, who was a convert to Islam, had expressed support for Middle Eastern beheadings by extremist Muslims. The company's CEO Mark Vaughn used his firearm to shoot the 30-year-old Alton, ending the savage attacks and saving the life of the critically injured woman and perhaps those of several others.
It is clear that while such armed citizens cannot stop all knifings, shootings, and other such murderous rampages, some innocent Americans can be saved by just one heroic person who is armed.
Photos at top: Jerry Falwell, Jr. (left, AP Images) and David Boren
Steve Byas is a professor of history at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore, Oklahoma. His book, History's Greatest Libels, is a challenge to what he calls some of the greatest lies in history.