The Lone Star College shooting and the cost of freedom (Opinion)
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The Lone Star College shooting and the cost of freedom (Opinion)

Houston : TX : USA | Jan 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM PST
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Police press conference on Texas Lone Star College shooting

Today, just hours after a conservative newspaper columnist exhorted the advantages of gun freedom despite the inevitable resulting damage, shots rang out on the campus of Lone Star College in Houston. The nation can now add another school shooting incident to the already lengthy list.

“[Gun control] would indisputably hold the freedom, health and happiness of the many hostage to the potentially bad actions of the few,” concludes Jonah Goldberg in an op-ed column in the Los Angeles Times. If an unfortunate few are hurt, he implies, it's sad but a necessary prerequesite for the Constitution to endure intact. It's necessary so that most of us can be happy and free, he says.

However, those from this Texas community who were hospitalized today are likely not particularly happy. Witnesses on the scene said a heated argument may have preceded the gunfire. According to an early report by Houston’s KHOU, two males were arguing before one pulled a concealed gun and opened fire. Two people have been apprehended. Three people were injured and a fourth was hospitalized as well. The investigation continues.

Should we be glad that the perpetrators took the liberty to carry such weapons? Is the community at the University of Colorado, where concealed weapons are permitted, reassurred? Perhaps the 18,000 panicked students who were evacuated from campus can comfort themselves with the knowledge that their inconvenience—or terror—allows the nation’s citizenry the freedom to own and carry firearms. Do those 18,000 students consider their own fear and interrupted lives a small price to pay?

The incident occurred in a central area of the campus near the library and a cafeteria where many were studying and eating lunch. Did those who hid, who ran for cover, and who frantically phoned loved ones on their cell phones do so with the self-satisfied knowledge that their sacrifice was earning the freedom of the US public to own and carry weapons?

No doubt NRA members will loudly declare, If only I had been there, I would have stopped the mayhem with my own concealed weapon.

Note to the NRA: I’m not convinced that more weapons would have improved the situation. Think what you will.

Lone Star College and four neighboring elementary schools went on lockdown today. Police also closed off surrounding streets, reports the New York Daily News. However, Americans young and old have the freedom to carry guns, even if a few of them get carried away from time to time. Or at least that is what some would have me believe.

Texas gun culture

Ironically, on Saturday more than 600 people gathered on the Texas Capitol grounds for a rally against the gun control proposals President Barack Obama signed last week. Sarai Navarro of Houston drove her family all the way to Austin to attend that rally. She told the Austin American-Statesman that guns weren't the problem. I wonder what the Houston police are thinking today about gun-related violence. Would they think that handguns were problematic at Lone Star College?

Equally ironic, let's recall that Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has a plan for combating America's violence problem. Instead of enacting tougher gun control legislation, Americans should just pray for protection, he says. One might ask:

  • Does this latest school shooting reflect poorly on the prayer life of Perry, Texas' chief executive?
  • Does it reflect poorly on God?
  • Does it reflect poorly on freedom?

Peace begets true freedom. Creating a culture of peace requires a real conversion from a violent US culture. Implementing nonviolent avenues to solve conflicts will require nothing less than a culture change. But this is the conversion that will bring real freedom. It will be a long journey for our nation. But every journey begins with commitment. Let us take the first step.

Because guns won't make you free, healthy or happy.

Sources:

Wikipedia list of US school shootings

Los Angeles Times

Austin American-Statesman

New York Daily News

Houston Chronicle

Huffington Post

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Video news report of police press conference from the Texas Lone Star College shooting incident.
Billie Greenwood is based in Davenport, Iowa, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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