Vail Daily letter: Can’t make a cogent case for arming up
January 13, 2013
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” (Attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan.)
I have used this quote in the past, and I am sure I will use it again in the future. There is a very common theme in practically every negative response to my various letters. Often but not always (Fred Butler is an example), the letter contains personal and insulting attacks rather than a direct response to what I have written.
“In response to Henry Bornstein’s long-winded and wrong-headed letter (‘Arming up won’t help’), all I can say is that I’m glad he’s not in a position to implement his foolish, pacifist and dangerous philosophies.” (Stephen Johnson, Jan. 5, letter to the editor, Vail Daily.)
Under our First Amendment, everyone is free to say pretty much anything they want. But, rightwing personal attacks are made for two reasons: the writer disagrees with what I have to say, and he-she is not capable of providing a direct response supported by an identified, credible and verifiable source.
In substantially every one of my letters, I identify my source for every quote I use, as well as for the facts I state. This failure is consistent in most negative responses to anything I have written. Mr. Johnson is a perfect example in his response to my Jan. 3 article “Arming up won’t help.” There is not one statement in Johnson’s response that contains a single identified quote,nor are any alleged “facts” supported.
As is with most negative letters, the subject matter I have written about is usually ignored and instead the responder uses his letter to address issues that I did not discuss and to expound his-her unsupported opinions and beliefs on the unrelated issues.
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The subject matter of my letter dealt with the absurdity, practical impossibility, and obvious potential failure of any attempt to provide armed guards for 98,817 K-12, schools in the United State and all colleges-universities. As far as this number of schools, I cited the two sources I obtained this number from.
Johnson also stated: “Despite Bornstein’s flat wrong research, the facts are that in countless situations over the years, attempted gun assaults have been thwarted because one of the potential victims was armed and was able to stop the shooter.” Johnson provides no specific examples or credible sources support this claim. Johnson did not provide a single direct response to any of my research, not one.
Where are Johnson’s verifiable contradictory examples of my “flat wrong research” concerning the shooting incidents of the 22 schools and colleges from 2000 to the Dec.14 shooting in Connecticut ? Over 13 years there were 22 school shootings, all of which would have most likely occurred prior to the arrival of any of the 98,817 armed guards. Over a 13-year period, 18 K-12 shootings occurred which represented 0.0001821 percent of the schools based on the 98,817 schools.
Johnson also gives a completely unrelated example of an incident in a mall in which “an off-duty police officer … put down the shooter and saved many lives.” I have my doubts as to the accuracy and truthfulness of this alleged act. This supposed shooting occurred “Just a few years ago.” Where was the mall? How many stores were in the mall? Was anyone injured or killed in the “mall shooting”? If so, like every school shooting I have referred to, the officer’s actions were after the fact. Johnson’s example is totally meaningless and irrelevant to the issue I wrote about.
Further, the alleged presence of this officer was just a lucky coincidence. What if the shooter was in a store at the other end of the mall or on a different floor from where the officer was seated? This is no different than my discussion concerning the existence of a single armed guard in any one of the 98,817 schools. No guard could have prevented any of the 22 shootings, as I explain in my letter.
If the NPR statistics are correct (Johnson has provided zero evidence that NPR was incorrect), the cost of the 98,817 armed guards annually would be approximately $7,905 billion to allegedly prevent 18 K-12 and four college shootings over 13 years or to prevent any future shootings.
Further, this single incident used by Johnson was in a mall, not a school, and the alleged courageous officer was an off-duty police officer, not a “bystander.”
Does anyone honestly believe that any of the 98,817 guards would have prevented any of these 22 shootings without the luck of being in the right place at the right time? If the attacker was armed with a military weapon such as the Bushmaster .223-caliber assault rifle, Sig Sauer 9-MM and a Glock 9-MM, all used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, what is the likelihood that the armed guard would not have been killed?
As I stated in my article, a security guard at a Minnesota school shooting in 2005 was killed.
Further, I did not “propose” anything, nor did I suggest the implementation of “foolish, pacifist and dangerous philosophies.” I merely provided facts and history, which Johnson failed to prove anything I said or quoted was incorrect. Johnson in fact agreed, in part, with me: “Many schools across the country have already begun to recruit and hire armed and trained security personnel to protect their students. Is this a panacea? Of course not. Will this approach alone stop all future school shootings? Unfortunately, it probably won’t.”
How many schools have hired armed and trained security personnel? Does Johnson know? I doubt it? Where are the 98,817 “armed and trained security personnel” going to come from and who is going to train them or check out their alleged training? Johnson?
Look at the result of the New York City armed and trained police officers described in my article: They opened fire on a suspected shooter, killing him and wounding nine other innocent bystanders. What would happen if the one armed school guard was involved in a similar circumstance in such an enclosed area as a single building school? Nothing good! To expect otherwise is absurd, as well as very dangerous for any students and teachers in the vicinity of the shootings. Just look at the Sandy Hook shooting.
I stand by my position that arming 98,817 schools is a major mistake, practically and economically, and will accomplish nothing. I wish and hope that some form of serious gun control could be put in place, but I know that this is a complete impossibility, given the 300 million-plus guns in this country and the NRA’s opposition to any gun control whatsoever.