PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Ron Paul Slams Use of More Government to Protect School Children

 

Ron PaulPhoto: David M. Kinchen

Ron Paul
Photo: David M. Kinchen


By David M. Kinchen

It came as no surprise to me that my congressman, Ron Paul, R-TX 14, would oppose  the National Rifle Association’s suggestion that armed guards be placed in every school in the nation to prevent school shootings like the most recent one — the one that took place on Dec.14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. with the loss of 20 children and 6 adults.

The statement that I’m reprinting below, from Congressman Paul’s website, is consistent with his libertarian philosophy and what I consider to be his courage to speak out on what is right and wrong, as he sees it. I’ve been blessed to live in Texas 14 for four and a half years now and will miss the leadership he has given to more than a half million Texans from Galveston to Corpus Christi — including my current hometown of Port Lavaca.
Dr. Paul: We will miss you! The photograph of Congressman Paul, an Air Force veteran and physician and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate (I voted for him when we lived in California) was taken by me a few years ago in Port O’Connor,  Texas, during  the observance of the town’s centennial.
Here’s Ron Paul’s statement in its unedited entirety, from http://paul.house.gov/:

Government Security is Just Another Kind of Violence

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place.  Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.  Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.  We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality.  The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home.  U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.  We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

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