20 February 2008

National Service

It seems a joke in Britain that a conservative politician will say that "we need to bring back national service" when youth act out of control. On the other hand, I am thinking this isn't a bad idea. For those who don't know what national service was, it was a compulsory two year stint in the military which was in effect from 1939 until 1960 in Britain.

I was listening to the Radio Times interview with Eric Fair and it was pointed out that we probably wouldn't be in Iraq or Afghanistan if there was still a draft. Most Americans want to avoid military service. And they want to avoid military service if there is any risk to life and limb. On the other hand, there is no risk that the average American will go into the army which means most people don't care what the military does.

Likewise, I am pretty sure that any love for the Second Amendment would dwindle away if people who claim to support it were told they had to go to boot camp for a couple of months training, give up a couple of days a month for drill, and then go on exercises for a week or two a year. All this would not count toward their vacation time. I know that it was this type of sickener that caused the institution of the universal militia to die in the first place. Most people wanted exemptions from militia service, or would pay someone to do their militia duties.

But, this isn't about the War in Iraq, it is about something stupid I read this morning.

David McGrath, a university literature professor in Alabama wishes to carry a gun into class to be able to "protect his students". Prof. McGrath's states that:

I am no Rambo. I am a middle-age English professor with no military background. But as an outdoorsman, I have a passing acquaintance with the use of firearms, experience which could be refined to a skill of safety and competence, with adequate training.

Now, Prof. McGrath, I am a person with military experience Worse case scenario is that you end up being shot by being mistaken for the gunman. Best case is that you only add to the confusion and panic.

A situation with a gunman requires more than being able to shoot a gun, it requires being able to deal with the panic and confusion which accompanies that situation.

A civilian with a firearm in a situation like a school shooting is only going to add to the confusion when the professionals arrive. The last thing that is needed is armed civilians bungling around trying to be heroes.

Now, I posted this in another forum and someone mentioned the Colorado Church where a "concealed carry permit holder" saved the day. Now, if I remember correctly, that permit holder was a security guard, not Joe Blow professor who has a passing knowledge of guns. Anyway, I can come up with many more circumstances where trained officers were unable to stop the shooters, such as Columbine and the Kirkwood City Council shootings.

Quite frankly, an armed civilian is far more likely to add to the confusion than help it. Not to mention put themselves and others at risk.

Of course, maybe we should allow armed civilians. This is called the Darwin Awards. Armed civilian is seen by the SWAT team and is picked off. I am waiting for that to happen. Or that the armed civilian does cause more harm than good by shooting innocent bystanders adding to the carnage.

Additionally, the armed civilian is not insulated from lawsuits the way that the police or military are. So, if the armed civilian does shoot the wrong person, they can be sued into penury.

On the other hand, the RKBA crowd loves the myth that an armed person can save the day. They seem to have had a steady diet of dime novels, movies, and fairy tales that portray this myth. I am not sure if reality can be brought in to these people's minds.

On the other hand, maybe we would see a drastic change of opinion if the RKBA heroes had to go through military training and exercises of situations where people are shooting back at them. It is one thing to shoot at a target, or to hunt something which can't shoot back as opposed to hunting the most dangerous game.

A foe who has no regard for human life and is willing to kill as many people as possible before being killed himself.

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