Gun Rights Debate Exclusive: A Massacre-Survivor’s Perspective

By Jim Allen, Editor, NuVoteReach

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Karissa Marcum, Columbine Massacre Survivor

As the US Senate prepares to formally take up the gun debate this week, various aspects of gun control versus gun rights are very much on the minds of most Americans in the wake of the December massacre of 20 students and six education caretakers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As theories on gun violence are spun, the body count daily rises from gun violence and political factions on the right and left dig in their heels for the debate, it may be instructive to the proceedings to hear a perspective from someone who actually survived a shooting-massacre scenario.

Karissa Marcum, a 28-year-old media professional, has lived half of her life with the memory of a fateful April day in 1999 in Littleton, CO when two of her school mates went on a shooting rampage.

On that day, Marcum was a 14-year-old ninth grader in her first year of public school, sitting in the cafeteria at Columbine High School with her elder sister and 480-some-odd others, mostly children, doing what most kids do at lunchtime in school.

The shooting conspirators, however, had earlier that day stashed their cache of weapons on the floor beside two tables near the Marcum girls, unbeknownst to them. The two duffel bags contained a TEC-DC9 assault pistol, Hi-Point 9mm Carbine, Savage 67H pump-action shotgun, and a Savage 311-D 12-gauge shotgun.

With no warning, the usual unintelligible din of a school cafeteria was interrupted by an odd sound from the front of the building, “pop-pop-pop!” There was a hush, then another report, “pop-pop-pop!”

There was a release of panic. Pandemonium erupted and then more “pop-pop-pop-pop!” crackled through the air. Hot metal cut through the flesh of children (and staffers) as hundreds of them screamed and scrambled toward the cafeteria exits—some running into the path of fire, some away from it—while others just froze in their tracks.

Marcum and her sister ran. They ran fast, but her sister fell, “oh no!” Marcum turned back to help her big sister back to her feet as the “pop-pop-pop!” of gunfire closed in.

Both girls managed to run to safety, shaken but uninjured. But by the time the shooting had stopped, 13 others (plus the 2 shooters, by suicide) lay dead and many others were injured.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said National Rifle Association President (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in December at a news conference in Washington, DC.

Marcum recalls there was an armed officer on duty at Columbine, who was quickly joined by a second sheriff’s deputy who was nearby, both of whom fired at one of the shooters, but both failed to stop him.

LaPierre has called on Congress “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation.”

“That’s a tough one,” Marcum sighed. “I firmly believe that even if we posted a security guard at every school, grocery store and movie theater, it wouldn’t be a guarantee that a Columbine or Sandy Hook wouldn’t happen,” she continued.

“When someone is bent on destruction, a security guard who is outgunned is likely to be outmatched by a mad man, nine times out of ten…may we see God’s great mercy,” Marcum continued.

A spate of national polling has tracked public opinion on second amendment rights since the roll out earlier this month of President Barack Obama’s plan to stem gun violence in the United States:

Rasmussen poll found that 65 percent [of Americans] see gun rights as protection against tyranny.

A CNN/Time poll says 55 percent of Americans say gun controls should be tightened.

An ABC/Washington Post poll says 58 percent back an assault weapons ban.

A CBS/New York Times poll says 63 percent support banning high-capacity magazines and 78 percent favor creating a database to track all gun sales in the United States.

A Johns Hopkins survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says about 70 percent support bans on military-style semiautomatic weapons and more than 80 percent back measures restricting guns sales to people with histories of domestic violence or serious juvenile crimes.

Also in the Hopkins poll, 89 percent of all respondents, and 75 percent of those identified as NRA members, support universal background checks for gun sales. It also indicates a majority of NRA members support prohibiting people with recent alcohol or drug charges to buy guns and 70 percent support a mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison for selling guns to persons not legally allowed own them.

“Not only are gun owners and non-gun-owners very much aligned in their support for proposals to strengthen U.S. gun laws, but the majority of NRA members are also in favor of many of these policies,” Daniel Webster, co-author of the Hopkins study and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research said in a written statement.

“Frankly, I’m surprised that some of the reforms weren’t the norm already,” said Marcum. “For example, the provision that requires background checks for all gun sales, I would have thought that that was a given,” she added.

The Hopkins survey also indicates most Americans favor greater spending on mental health issues which is a plank in the president’s plan intended to curb gun violence.

“I was…happy to hear that proper attention is being paid to the mental health aspect, which is a critical component of these tragedies that we cannot afford to ignore as a nation,” said Marcum.

“One of the things that we’ve seen is that these mass shooters are often depressed, so, I also hope that more people will reach out to people they know who are depressed or hurting,” said Marcum.

“I don’t know if that will prevent another Columbine or a Sandy Hook, but I know it couldn’t hurt. I do know that good is the antidote to evil,” she added.

The FBI reports that the most background checks done in periods tracked since 1998 were done in the month of December. Gun sales also reached a record high last month.

Law enforcement officials who met with the president this week tried to steer him toward strengthening gun-purchase background checks and mental health systems, but were split on more controversial gun-control measures, such as bans on assault weapons.

“We’re very supportive of the assault weapons ban,” as police chiefs, said Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief J. Thomas Manger to The Associated Press. “But I think everybody understands that may be a real tough battle to win,” he added.

Top brass from larger metropolitan areas tended to be supportive of assault-weapons and high-capacity magazine bans, while, more often, small-town and elected sheriffs did not.

“I think what was made clear was that gun control in itself is not the salvation to this issue,” said Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald of Story County, Iowa to the York Daily Record.

Reportedly, in that meeting, the president did not specifically ask anyone if they supported banning anything.

Unlike the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords and the Aurora, CO movie theater shootings, the murder of first-graders and their teachers at Sandy Hook appears to have struck a different sort of national nerve and moved an emotional president to action, including signing 23 executive orders in January and urging the Congress to make new laws.

“I look forward to seeing how Congress handles this issue as advocates of the best interests of the people,” said Marcum.

Debate in the Senate begins on Wednesday.

Marcum has built a good life for herself. Her “story [is still] developing,” she says. She is warm with plenty of life in her eyes. Through it all, she is delightfully comical and upbeat.

“I believe, even after [surviving] Columbine, that there is more good in the world than bad and that evil doesn’t have the ultimate victory over us. Our world is just so broken…but this is not the end, I believe in a heavenly home,” added Marcum.

About Jim Allen, Founder/Editor, NuVote Reach

Currently serving as Chief Operating Officer of Alejo Media, emerging as one of Washington, D.C.’s most artistic and innovative video production and post-production media companies. Previously, as Director of News and Media Services at the American Institute of Physics, he led the creation of the InsideScience.org news platform, which includes Inside Science TV. He also previously served as Media Director, Energy NOW! and Clean Skies TV and as Special Reports Editor/Media Relations Director at The Hill newspaper. Jim has served in various executive, business development and/or programming roles for a number of media concerns including CBS Radio/Television, Radio One Inc. and the Los Angeles Times. Since 1995, he has been a contributor to the Reporters Notebook news roundtable program on NBC 4 TV, DC. He earned a music scholarship to Delaware State University, a Bachelor of Arts in English/Television Production at Virginia State University and, from 2003-2007, attended Concord University School of Law. His commendations include the Washington, DC Teachers' Union Media Relations Award and shared an American Academy of Nursing National Media Award. Jim also chairs a development task force for the faith-based, non-profit House of Help/City of Hope, founded and led by Bishop Dr. Shirley Holloway, which has provided substance abuse, mental health and continuing education programs and transitional housing for tens of thousands of homeless (and battered) women, families and men (including ex-offenders) at its shelter and treatment facilities in Washington, DC and Prince George’s and Charles Counties, MD.
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88 Responses to Gun Rights Debate Exclusive: A Massacre-Survivor’s Perspective

  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing her story.

  2. billyeats says:

    Excellent article. As a victim of gun violence myself, I would also encourage a very close look at handguns, which I believe are the most typical weapon of choice in person on person violence in America. Thank you for your article, your attention to this matter, and for checking out and following my blog.

  3. “…a security guard who is outgunned is likely to be outmatched by a mad man, nine times out of ten…” Perhaps, although many factors come into play in determining the outcome between armed combatants is such a situation, and the outcome is by no means preordained. In any event, I respectfully submit a 1 in 10 chance of ending or surviving a mass shooting is a *very* significant improvement over a *0* in 10 chance. A small chance is better than *no* chance.

    I am a CHL holder in Texas; my go-to carry gun is a Smith & Wesson M&P 360 PD revolver equipped with a Crimson Trace laser targeting device. It has a 1 7/8″ barrel and a five round capacity (I routinely carry ten additional rounds in two HKS speedloaders for rapid reloading, should the occasion permit). Although this revolver is chambered in the powerful .357 Magnum cartridge, much of the round’s potency is cancelled out by the gun’s short barrel.

    Although I am a reasonably proficient marksmen, my small revolver would be of limited effectiveness against a deranged maniac armed and armored like the Aurora shooter, and I shudder at the thought of engaging such an assailant with this type of gun. Such an action on my part would most likely result in my untimely demise. Nonetheless, after considerable thought and prayer on the matter, I’ve decided that’s exactly what I would do, particularly if I could engage the shooter without further endangering others. I would have a small chance of killing or disabling the shooter, and I might at least distract him long enough to enable my loved ones and others to reach safety. To me, such an outcome would be worth the likely personal price (my life). Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. (Unfortunately, as with most mass shootings, the Aurora theater was a gun-free zone. So if a law abiding CHL holder were present, he or she wouldn’t have been carrying.)

    Note that while I am willing to potentially lay down my life for others if the occasion demands, I feel no compelling desire to put myself in a situation where such action is required. If armed conflict is unavoidable, I want to have every possible advantage available. While my CHL weapon is a small revolver, my home defense weapon is a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a folding stock, a laser targeting device, a tactical light, and a 30 round magazine. It is chambered in 5.56 NATO. It’s kept in a locked safe that I can access in a matter of seconds. I rely on this weapon for home defense because I believe it is simply the *best tool* available for the job. Unlike most handgun rounds, the high-velocity 5.56 NATO round is naturally frangible, and even more so with bullets designed with that intent. This makes it an excellent choice for indoor use, where an important safety concern is avoiding inadvertently shooting through multiple interior, or even exterior walls. It is nearly as handy as a pistol, easier to aim and shoot, and has a higher capacity than any pistol. Needless to say, my home defense rifle appears on Feinstein’s proposed ban list.

    People need to bear in mind that the *vast* majority of law abiding gun owners and CHL holders are the *good guys*. We own our guns for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is self defense. None of us are ever going to shoot *anybody* for any reason other than self defense, or defense of others. A gun is a tool, an inanimate object, and of no import in and of itself. What matters is the person behind the gun, and that’s where our attention should be focused. Disarming, or partially disarming law abiding citizens does not make us any safer. In fact, it makes us collectively *less* safe.

    • huntmode says:

      Well considered and well said. Thanks for the info on the 5.56 NATO round as being better for indoor defense. I’ll check it out – always concerned about collateral damage.

    • Amen! The answer is NOT to take away firearms from the good guys but make it harder for bad guys to get them. The background check was a good idea – I needed one in order to have a Top Secret (Atomal) clearance in the military, and it did not hurt a bit. I am sick and tired of politicians with stupid solutions to problems, most certainly with ulterior motives. No government should tell the citizens they cannot have firearms that law enforcement and government officials are allowed to have.
      Besides the politicians, the major problem is mainstream media (corporate media) that has sold its soul to become the mouthpiece of Big Government, instead of the eyes and ears of We the People – as demonstrated by those quotes from major media outlets in this article. The FBI annual report clearly shows that from 1992 to 2011 the violent crime rate dropped 49% – while the rate of lawful citizens owning firearms rose 61%. This rate rose highest every time Feinstein, Obama, Hillary and other socialists attack rights and liberties, specifically the Second Amendment. It is because people are getting the firearms they feel may be necessary for DEFENSE. Hunting and target shooting rights are not mentioned in the 2nd Amendment because that was a given that if one was allowed to “keep and bear arms” it could be used for defense and hunting – which many folks did then. What was a cap-and-ball rifle in 1776, is an AR-15 carbine today.
      If law enforcement can have semiautomatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns, so can lawful citizens. The police show up AFTER the crime is committed (no fault upon them), armed citizens can react in time to save lives. All the mass shootings were in places that had “Gun Free Zone” signs posted. That is why those maniac shooters chose those places. If any of the people were armed, the tragedy would have been lessened and the taxpayer would not have to pay for the depicable human’s trial.
      Media will not publish all the occurrences that happen daily/weekly where lives and property were defended by lawful citizens excercising their 2nd Amendment rights.
      A government that does not trust its lawful citizens to have arms should not be trusted By the People. In every historical case, firearm confiscation was precluded by registration and banning certain firearms. The registration made firearm confiscation easier and more efficient. After the citizenry was disarmed, all other rights quickly disappeared. It is ironic that the Nazi Party’s gun control laws match those that Congress voted upon and a president signed in the United States – and sanctioned by the Supreme Court – until recently when they finally read and interpreted the short paragraph in the Second Amendment for what it was created for.
      Mr. Allen has an interesting blog here, and intellectual.

      • Sure do appreciate you weighing in Mr. Lehman, and for the kind words and reasoned approach to a daunting issue. I think many pols understandably feel pressed once the baby body count reached the nightmare that it has. I am in a minority who believe we need to take a hard look at cultural influences and how our young people are being programmed for violence — weaned on it through music and other “entertainment” in some communities. I was a trained, armed guard for a time, and do not love or fear firearms, but respect them and the hunting class. I am not sure how a “well-regulated militia” applies these days, but I have worked closely with the NRA braintrust and these guys are not monsters, maybe a little politically tone deaf right now. To me the larger issue is that framers intended for these politicians to serve for a short time then go back home TO WORK, not make a career as a politician. The Lobby, would be a non issue, if we were truly strict constructionists, and every issue would rise or fall, by the will of the people, by the influence of any lobby (which is also a viable construct of the framers) — but I do not think what we have, they had in mind for us.

    • trutherator says:

      Check the story also of another survivor of one of the first really big massacres in recent decades, Susanna Hupp, who lost both her parents in the Luby’s Cafeteria murders. At the time concealed carry was illegal in Texas, so her weapon was left in her car while she ate lunch with her parents. She pushed a CCL through and got herself elected to help even the odds against such a tragedy.

      MY WIFE STOPPED A KIDNAPPING when she pulled out her own concealed carry and that boy is a responsible young man today, very serious and proud to be his step-Dad. Thank God the “good gal” had a way to defend her family.

      John Lott did a great study on this issue, looked at dozens, hundreds, of peer-reviewed studies on it. “More Guns Less Crime”.

      But the main reason to respect the individual right to bear arms is not just the right to personal self-defense. It is the best protection against government tyranny, whether by foreign invasion or by attack against the people by its own government. By attack I mean government actions that violate natural rights, be it by legislatures, executive actions, or court decrees.

      Letting the government decide who can say what or where the poor can have their say through donating their dollars in a political campaign, or letting the government decide who is allowed the means to defend against a government tyranny, is a big conflict of interest. Power tends to corrupt, and Ron Paul exposed the whole dirty game.

    • I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I would only add that the cities with the toughest gun laws are those with higher homicide rates and violent crimes. Chicago is often used as a example, unfortunately. I beleive the local police and the Sheriffs of the country need to spend less time jailing minor drug offenses and more time clearing neighborhoods of gangs. Like what happened in LA when those gang members shot and killed a family who turned into the wrong alley( the wrong turn murders) . Basically marshal law was enforced in this gang ridden neighborhood and the short lived war began. Swat teams and police went in blazing . They removed hundreds of illegal guns from the gang members homes. Universal background checks will not do any good simply because the criminals will not follow the law. I believe its Sweden or Norway that gives a modern rifle to every male child or child in every home. Their Government has yearly parades and shooting competitions , celebrations of their militia . They have near zero violent crimes, near zero crimes by gun and are the worlds well known “neutral” country. Near perfect if not for the slight socialism economics. I would also use my firearm to defend against a mad man at my peril if only to stall him and save lives. Nobody wants death, it just comes in so many unjust ways. Most victims of gun violence are those who are innocent on the streets of Chicago. You cannot leave your home with your gun as a law abiding citizen. Criminals do all day everyday.with no end in sight. They will not comply with confiscation as they never registered their weapons. They will never ever comply with background checks. The solution is continue the current background checks the FBI already does. Put the violators of gun laws away for a long time. The world is not perfect but if the good guys are armed the bad guys know it, crime will drop as it has here in MN after the carry law passed.

  4. jericho777 says:

    Reblogged this on Jericho777's Blog and commented:
    Thank You Jim for sharing this story, we do need to hear more of them, even strict gun rights activist such as myself realize there are serious implications to owning weaponry of any kind, especially one that can quickly take so many lives when placed in the wrong hands and I mean in the possession of both the criminal and mentally ill..
    I strongly believe in the 2cd Amendment as it is strictly written and I don’t care how the Democrats paint or debate over it, as Americans, we have individual, indivisible sovereign right to bear arms under our Constitution that allows us to protect not only ourselves, but our loved ones, neighbors and properties in whatever lawful means are necessary including the taking of a life who places us in a life threatening situation and the reasons for that are becoming clearer with every passing day as we are becoming rapidly oppressed of our rights as freedom loving Americans by lawlessness and and a growing oppressive corruption of our government “both are criminal” from which the Tyranny comes to bear…
    Taking the guns from law abiding Americans are about the most insane solution I have ever heard of and it’s ludicrous, it’s insanely and criminally wrong. There are two points to their argument here and then there are nothing, no outside or broad spectrum to their thinking or the laws that protect us, we either lose our rights or we keep them, that’s it, that’s their focused solutions…
    The Democrat’s want to strip us of all our gun rights period, for anyone to suggest other wise haven’t been listening to them and most are not and prefer to remain uninformed, that is however their ultimate goal period.
    They can easily place armed guards in these schools with comparably little cost to the priceless and very fragile lives of our children and then they can reenforce our laws that are already implemented. most schools here in SC already have Police emplacements and have had them for some time, perhaps that is why we hear so little about mass shooting in those Southern schools or the fact that so many do carry here, both openly and concealed and I understand that this will not always deter these murderers from mass killing, as was told in this wonderful essay you shared with us, but it’s a step in the right direction until fair and well thought out solutions can be found or even a combination of solutions that will work in the best interest of us all, and at whatever the cost that might be asked of us, Americans will be more than willing to pay that price, but not the taking away our Constitutional 2cd Amendment rights to bear arms, all arms, not just a selected few as our incorrigible and corrupted government would have us believe is in our best interest and are trying to do this very moment and let us not dally over what is and what is not Constitutionally considered armory, under the 2cd Amendment I have a right to own a fully automatic weapon, a tank, a bazooka, an F-16, anything that I thought or could afford to protect my Republic, myself, my loved ones and neighbors and my fundamental right to my belief in God that this 2cd Amendment has afforded me under the Constitution that gives me the damn right to bear them in the face of Tyranny, how can anything less be made of our Constitution and the Amendments implemented therein and their roles into the sovereignty of our lives?
    All of these murderers are cowards who for the most part take their own pathetic lives after their evil deed is accomplished, so the threat of stiffer sentences are but a joke and are not going to deter them period, I have to laugh at those ideas, these are sick, ill, demented and evil people who plan, orchestrate and set out to murder innocent people, especially our innocent children because they are an easier target for evil cowards.
    I understand as a fact, that aside from taking the guns out of the hands of everyone, or placing armed guards in our schools, enclosing/encasing them, there are but little else we can do to safe guard our children or innocent lives, but it’s a damn start..
    I went to Robert Smalls Jr High School in Beaufort SC and that school had three armed guards, 12 foot barbed wire fence enclosing that school with mesh wire safety windows installed protected by cast iron bars in front of them. We had periodic locker checks for weapons and walk ins were checked also for weapons. as rough as that school was, not one life was ever taken there and believe me, there could have easily been a loss of life had it not been for sensible solutions that were put into place and enforced by the law!
    Why in the name of love for our children’s sake, are we not using those same common sense approaches instead of trying to restrict lawful American gun owners of their 2cd Amendment rights and the answer to that are simply clear, an unarmed citizen is a compliant citizen and that’s what this whole fabricated charade is all about from a political stand point and all the grave standing in the world by Democrats and their Liberal supporters are not going to water down that fact, nor will it protect our children, because in truth, we will never rid ourselves of the evil that comes with a criminal minds intent and until that time, that has been set aside for their demise, we have to be reasonably fair and stick to the laws within our Constitution that gives us protection from criminals inside our governing body and from outside of it, if we err to protect those rights, then we all lose, we will all perish at the whelms of both our government.and criminals alike.. and they and the criminals both know this, and until their comeuppance is at hand, they will both have their day with us, now won’t they?

    It all depends on our personal interpretation of what our freedom really mean to us and what that entails for us, do we surrender them over to a godless government and a criminal element, or do we supervene them and fight like free men and woman for the rights afforded us by the many others who have sacrificed their lives and limbs to ensure we retain them…It’s our call and we better make the right one…

    • Thanks so much for reading and writing!

      • jericho777 says:

        WOW! A woman with a limited vocabulary, very impressive deary! And definitely without substance, very Liberal like even… :)

      • judithatwood says:

        I have a more than adequate vocabulary, and much of substance to say, but I don’t waste it on people like you.

      • jericho777 says:

        You need more therapy Judith, your hatefulness is making you ill…What could I have possibly written to make you so insanely impossible.Your a hateful substance-less woman with no care but for your own inner Judith, she’s in need of a long term vacation too deary, Oh, and please join her, you could use one as well!
        Try being nice, it’s very refreshing and renewing…

      • Almost missed this! Thanks for writing, Ms Atwood!

    • As I pointed out in one of my entries… Why is it you trumpet the right to bear arms, while conveniently forgetting about the “well regulated” part. Do you have any idea what regulation means? It means that if the government says you don’t get ALL the guns, guess what? You don’t get ALL the guns.

      Also, who are you expecting to regulate this anyway, if not the government? Your mommy? Sorry. It doesn’t work like that.

      Stop twisting the constitution to suit your desires.

      • Ahhh yes”well regulated” indeed. I couldn’t resist replying. Technically the government doesn’t tell us what guns we can it cannot have. It simply says if you want to buy a fully automatic rifle you must pass a very thorough background check federally. You will be subject to random searches of your home or business to satisfy the ATF agency regulations on safe storage and you still possess said weapons etc.. Essentially you enter into a contact with several federal agencies. Regulated? Yes. Impossible, not really for law abiding citizens. That’s where shortly after”well regulated militia” comes”shall not be infringed” meaning regulate using common sense, don’t allow felons to buy weapons etc. We the people who obey laws can buy firearms of any type. Its really up to us how much of our freedoms we are willing to sacrifice for them. I personally don’t find it necessary to give up my fourth amendment just to own a fully automatic M-60, or worth thousands in gov’ment fees and tens of thousands for the weapon. We accept some regulation because we understand the risk to public safety if anybody could illegally, illegally buy machine guns. Remember the original militia understood the dangers of a wild west, and tyranny. They fight for the best balance possible, the Constitution.

  5. redneckdixiewarrior says:

    Yes…I remember that Columbine Tragedy. Interesting to note that out of 480 some odd students in the cafeteria…only 13 were shot and killed. It could have been so many more and I would like to think that perhaps more didn’t die because of the Armed Guard and Sheriff’s Deputy shooting at the boys, along with the pandemonium and screaming of the kids, rattled the two youngsters so much that they had a tough time concentrating and getting a fix on targets.
    Not only are armed guards a sort-of-solution to the problem…but I would say that if the School Admin. would take a tough stance on bullying in the schools….the kids would not become depressed ( as the young lady stated) and decide the only way to solve the problem was to go on a shooting rampage in the school.
    It was only one week after Columbine that in Taber, Alberta, Canada there was a similar tragedy, at one of the schools. The Shooter had been bullied for many years and nothing was done to stop it from occuring, even when it was brought to the School Admin”s attention. The boy had enough and decided to fix things himself….with a rifle.
    Here’s the write up on it… Taber Shootings – The Canadian Encyclopedia
    … the Taber police school resource officer at W … But while the timing and details of the Alberta shooting sent ripples of apprehension through many schools …
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/…/macleans/taber-shootings – Cached
    Only two students were shot….one died and another survived. It could have been so much worse!
    I pray every day when I send my youngster to school, that someone doesn’t get it into their head to go on a shooting spree and has a death wish for themselves.
    Bring in the armed guards to the school…it’s better than a lock-down any day!

    • I too, have no aversion to armed guards in school. But Karissa of course is entitled to her opinion and I for one cannot position myself to judge her experience — I just listened and wrote it down. Thanks for writing!

      • redneckdixiewarrior says:

        Yes…I agree…Karissa does have the right to her opinion.I’m not judging her. I’m wondering if her opinion will change though when she has youngsters attending Public school? Mine sure did. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hear what she had to say.

      • jericho777 says:

        It’s true and we must keep it in mind, there are always two sides of a story, but there is always only one right side to a story…I can’t fathom anyone being against armed guards, what possible wrong can be seen in that, Karissa made no valid points at all, just assumptions. Guards do work, but nothing is 100% against evil. You would think she just wants us to throw up our arms and surrender to death.
        Wow! What a thought?
        Have we become so corrupted that even our precious lives mean nothing any more compared to cost…My freedoms are dear to me, and I sure as hell didn’t have to be enslaved to know it’s worth in my life or to appreciate it…
        I just don’t understand this kind of thinking at all, and perhaps it isn’t to be understood, just something else to marvel at?

    • By the way, what you said it not true “13 shot or killed” Many children and teachers were shot– only 13 people died in the tragedy..

      • redneckdixiewarrior says:

        Jim….

        In your article above it states… But by the time the shooting had stopped, 13 others (plus the 2 shooters, by suicide) lay dead….

        So what part is my saying that 13 were shot AND killed is not correct? Please read my top comment once again! I did not say OR , I did say AND!

        I know more were shot and survived…. only someone with no common sense would think that others did not get shot.

      • A mere oversight. I have no emotional ax too grind with you, about your comments or mine, kind sir. I just shared the experience of someone who survived something horrible. I just thought you misread what I wrote- didn’t mean to anger you. I have made no judgment about your common sense or not- I know nothing about you-but you sure seem smart enough to me. You take care and be well, sir. Thanks again for writing.

    • jericho777 says:

      I too believe that had not a guard been there and chased them down, that more students & teachers would have perished., and they would have, if not for those guards interfering with them and disrupting their train of thought, which was to kill, it was now for them to kill and evade, big difference had no one tried to stop them or had not been there to thwart their efforts….Great post RDW…

      • The presence of those two officer certainly must have caused the killers to modify their movements– I am not sure about the exact time line. But if you ask me if I would want an a properly trained, armed guard, or not, at my minor childrens’ school — my answer– You Betcha!

  6. Violence of this kind is repulsive. An illustative article especially those surveys which bring out the difference between talk and action.

  7. barack2012 says:

    Excellent article!!!!

  8. barack2012 says:

    Excellent article! Rather than listening to misinterpreted 2nd amendment ramblings concerning gun control, we get to experience, through words, the feelings and thoughts of someone personally affected by gun violence.

  9. onewithclay says:

    I enjoyed reading your article, and getting Karissa’s perspective. I’m also glad a concealed-weapons holder weighed in on the comments. It’s a shame the comments included some extremely snarky exchange, but I respect an anti-censorship stance and understand such inclusion. Finally, I’m glad the mental health aspect is being discussed, as it is (as you aptly pointed out) an element in the President’s concerns to be addressed. Thanks, Mr. Allen, for a thoughtful post!

  10. Pingback: Gun Rights Debate Exclusive: A Massacre-Survivor’s Perspective « Pdlyons's Weblog

  11. drrik says:

    Once the non-politicallycorrect guns and magazines are banned, then criminals will no longer be able to steal them from law-abiding citizens. Instead they will be forced to deal with that shadowy underworld market that smuggles drugs in from outside this country. They will have to deal with high school students.

  12. drrik says:

    Americans have always been prone to resist government infringment and the free market will always find suppliers. History rhymes. I’m not sure of the author but a philosopher once said that it makes no use to argue over the “isms”. Society finds order in a central authority. Always. A firm hand breeds revolt. A weak one, chaos.
    I like your writing. Will have to spend some time delving into your archives.

  13. I do like this posting, its share is honest, and I share this, I understand the point of a survivor, but to say it simple, all of us, people who care, we do not consider our-self a survivor, we failed, I failed…me most of all in protecting our children, knowing of certain issues within, I tried to give warning for over 4 years to our Government of something I see, and now a great many people agree with me…..
    I will not share here, but I do thank you for dropping by at our new News Network…

  14. drrik says:

    The only thing that stops bad people with guns is good people with guns. The RATE of murders by gun in the UK is double what it is here and they have essentially disarmed their entire citizenry, And it is 100 times what it was there before they took the guns away from law-abiding folks.

  15. josiesvoice says:

    Thanks for the follow. Am honored. I believe in responsible gun ownership and use. My article on Newtown if you have the time to read it conveys my feelings that a turning point on the gun debate has to happen now.

  16. Very informative post–a lot to think about and consider–thanx for liking my “simplemeditations” blog–God Bless

  17. huntmode says:

    Jim, I wanted to say thank you for following my blog at chasingrabbitholes.com. I am delighted to have found your site and look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you. ~ HuntMode

  18. Hi Jim, Thanks for the like at rabidlittlehippy.wordpress.com . This is a very interesting article. I’m here in Australia and we have been through gun law changes back in the late 1990′s after Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people and wounded 23 at the old Port Arthur penal colony in 1996. Semi-automatic rifles became illegal to own I believe (I was just finishing high school at the time so my knowledge is both rusty and minimal) and the people it most impacted were farmers. I truly believe though if someone is hell bent on shooting people they will obtain a gun no matter what the law allows. I believe though that reaching out to the mentally ill and often marginalised or ostracised people is probably the best way to help prevent future tragedies of this nature.

    • Very nice to hear from you, across the dateline and down under. There are so many guns in America — that horse is out of the barn. I agree with you that we have to keep an eye on troubled people. I do believe they way we are programming our children (and I do not mean hunting and gun-sporting families), but I think the desensitization of our kids to violence through movies and other entertainment doesn’t help– and weaning kids on rap lyrics like “Die MF Die” cannot be helpful to the nurturing of peaceful spirits, especially in populations are experiencing lags in literacy. I visit Syndey in Nov 1987 connected with Michael Jackson World Tour — we were at Paramatta Stadium — but I got around pretty well Centerpoint Tower –even got a private tour of the Sydney Opera House, arranged by an Australian-rule football playing friend, Max Brown, of Max Brown Travel…Singer Sheryl Crow (who was singing background for MJ at the time)and a couple others took the tour with me. MJ took the LA based singer of the band I was playing bass guitar for– that’s how I got to go. Flew the Concord there, with a brief layover in Papeete, Tahita—wonder if that is still an active route?

      • I agree with you. Violent video games, films, lyrics and all the rest do contribute. I remember once when I was housesitting for a friend who’s son had a gaming station and my now husband and I played grand theft auto. Not long after we hopped in the car and drove to pick up some dinner and we were freaked to realise that we were driving erratically and without care, just like in the game. It was a sobering moment that I will never forget. I also was bullied at school and although I never turned to thoughts of violence, I can understand the hurt and anger that many people may feel when they are on the outer. Both the Dunblane massacre in Scotland and Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania happened during my final school year, about a month apart.
        Wow you sure did enjoy a whirlwind tour of Sydney. As a Melbourne resident (born and bred but recently moved out to the country) I’m pre-programmed to hate Sydney. ;) I’ve never been to America but my parents recently returned from their 2nd trip in as many years.

  19. Brian Pages says:

    It’s not clear to me how gun control laws will impact those who disregard the law. Can someone explain that?

    It’s the person that pulls the trigger that I’m concerned about. Why are they not to blame. Why isn’t this a mental health issue? Why is it the weapon that we’re focused on?

    • Hi Brian: Thanks so much for writing. I attempted to, at some level, address your questions in an earlier piece:

      “Bill of Rights Challenges to Preventing a Sandy Hook”

      on this blog. at this link: http://wp.me/p2SYZp-8i

      Let me know if you find anything helpful in their and I might freshen it up. A lot has happened since I wrote this. Best, Jim

      • Brian Pages says:

        That’s a good article. However, I still don’t understand why people think more gun laws will affect those who ignore the law. Murder is illegal. Why do we think a murderer will obey a gun law?

  20. Pingback: Gun Rights Debate Exclusive: A Massacre-Survivor’s Perspective | Did You Check First?

  21. Naphtali says:

    I like your writing style Mr. Allen! You are a busy man! The Bible states in Luke 22;36 “He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Jesus never intended for us to stand by and not defend ourselves. He showed David how to use a slingshot. He spoke to the people with Jehoshaphat and told them what to do against the enemy. (2 Chronicles 20) He drowned the Egyptians as they chased the Israelites through the Red Sea. Through out the Bible God guides and leads his followers through war, pestilence and fights. Psalm 120 7 ” I am a man of peace, but when I speak; they are for war.” WE live in a fallen world. The enemy is attacking relentlessly. If we don’t defend ourselves, who will be here to carry on the gospel?

    AS a member of the NRA and married to a hunter, we are protected. We also live 5 miles from the largest jet fighter AF base in the world. These bomber jets practice by flying over our house. These are remarkably genius pieces of artillery not to mention the men and women who fly them. We hear the detonation of bombs as they practice at the bomb site. The amount of artillery, weapons and ammunition in this one city must be astronomical. It makes me feel very safe; and that is also with the many huge Angels that line my yard. The Bible speaks of a strong defense; if a government requires people to pay taxes then that government is required to supply the people with a strong military. Our taxes are being spent on waste instead of what God intended.

    We hear, see and know many service people who have been deployed sometimes for a year at a time. We know their stories of heartache, homesickness and injuries. I can tell you firsthand how they feel this President and his administration have abandoned them. They are afraid to go to certain parts of the United States for fear of those who hate them for what they do; which is saving those who hate them and maintaining what freedoms they can. They feel alone and deserted by many Americans and yet they are the true heroes. I have written numbers of blog posts in support of these fighting soldiers and the families who are often left behind. ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH THE MILITARY; DON’T COME HERE. YOU WILL QUICKLY BE RUN OUT OF TOWN.

    The country of Israel is a sitting duck for terrorists and those who hate them. The only way Israel has survived the centuries has been with God’s intervention whether it be by angels or military or God’s hand alone.

    We need to focus on the hearts of people; not what they carry. You will never get a criminal or someone with mental issues to register anything, much less a gun.

    GOD HATES WAR; SO DO I AND MOST OF THE MILITARY. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT WON’T HAPPEN.

    • I am afraid most of the horses are out of the barns that folks (politicians) are trying to board up. I happen to know Wayne LaPierre, I happened to be with him and NRA Atty Bob Dowlette on the day the DC v Heller Supreme Court case came down. I would have advised him to play this one differently, if I was still sharing office space with him. When I was in college I was a trained armed guard –sometimes posted at a bank in downtown Richmond, VA, sometimes as personal protection for hotel-based jewelry merchants, sometime retail, etc. Protective services are unfortunately a necessary part of keeping the peace. I do not have the least troubling or fear in my spirit about the prospect of violence against me, not the least( I thank God for that)– but if someone asked me would I be willing post a trained armed guard at my kids schools– you betcha!

      Let’s face it,the politicians have to appear to be doing something, because kids are dying. I personally believe our culture is given over to violence in no small part due to the way we allow, or not, our children to view violent programming, be weaned on vile music and play destructive and violent video games during their formative years. I do not agree necessarily with all of Karissa’s positions, but was honored with the privilege to tell her story. Thanks so much for reading and writing and God Bless and keep you and your family! Stay in touch!

  22. Paul Jones says:

    Well written and researched, Jim. As an Australian, it astounds me that gun laws aren’t tougher in the USA. Those arguing that bad people won’t obey the laws narrow-mindedly overlook the facts: In other countries, when stricter gun laws were introduced, gun-related homicides fell dramatically. The New York Times demonstrates this here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/opinion/the-gun-challenge-strict-laws-work.html?_r=0

    In most cases, gun violence happens when emotions boil over. If someone is freaking out, and a gun is within reach, look out. If no gun is available, they still might lash out somehow, but at least not with the terrifying killing efficiency and speed that a gun enables.

    • Thanks for writing, Paul. I spent some time in Syndey in 1987 connected to the Michael Jackson World Tour at Paramatta Stadium, also got a wonderful pvt tour of the opera house. I agree the statistics speak for themselves, but this country is so flooded with guns, if they never make another one, that horse is out of the barn, and going door to door is impractical. But hopefully some common senses measures will be arrived at– HC mags, assault weapons, etc. What also concerns me is the general bent toward violence that we begin to program into our children through TV/Flim, games and music..,We have a generation of kids weaned on lyrics like “Die MF Die.” That cannot be helpful, I think. Thanks again, Paul, very encouraging to hear from you. Be well and God Bless!

    • The opposite its true in Switzerland. Every child, or male child is given a rifle of the times. That means every single natural resident has a rifle from I think the age of five, provided by the Swiss gov’ment. In their case they celebrate guns many fully automatic. Their gun crime is nearly zero. I agree through common sense that removing every single gun would contribute to less gun crime. Yet violent crime increases as people cannot defend themselves. That is a God given right. Nobody has the right to harm or kill me but God. The New York Times loves to look abroad to push their agenda. They never look to Chicago, Detroit, New York, where the gun laws are strictest yet violent crime soars. If you want to know why violence is skyrocketing, look to the public education system, Hollywood, the gov’ment propaganda machine and the media. Look at the history of those the key things. Hollywood in the 50′s , public education up to 1959, the media I’m the 50′s and the government in the 40′s and 50′s. Now notice no welfare, no global warming, no violence from Hollywood, the family virtue compete and strong. Handout’s killed this country, not the second amendment.

  23. mikerana says:

    I do not know about US politics, but my book 5th generation, soon to be released contains all that is wrong with the Indian politics. Should not be very different from the US policies. I would appreciate if you could give me feedback on my writings, particularly the negative comments.

    I am glad that you follow me, and I hope your contacts too would follow me

    • I have already begun to read your writings under the “Budget” concept, you are obviously a very thoughtful and compassionate person with a gift for writing and I look forward to reading more. What immediately comes to mind when you discuss the 5th generation after 100 years of Indian independence is what true value for yourself can you extrapolate from comparisons to “developed” countries. You eloquently talk about character and other admirable traits we would hope to instill in our children, and my observation is “developed” countries have gathered for themselves (through colonialism, imperialism, genocide,capitalism, communism, slavery and other implied manifest destinies) great valuables, but what about the more meaningful (to me) spiritual and human values?

      The drinking well of western modernity may be sweet tasting– at first sip—but as it has been said it takes a deep drink to become satisfied — and at what cost to succeeding generations?

      Godspeed on your most worthy quest, my friend in spirit!

  24. Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading. I am so impressed with your blog. You do us a great service, sir. Nancy Leport

  25. Jim, thank you for following 20 Lines (anexerciseindiscipline.com). I have followed in kind as I have found myself in the position, since Newtown, of no longer being able to keep silent on the issue of gun control or responsible gun ownership reform. These conversations are good to have, and I have had many with gun owners who are also friends. But the statistics are there to support tougher laws and I am going to do what I can to support that effort.

    Thank you for your thoughtful writing and I am looking forward to reading the rest of your work!

    Bright days,

    Melissa

  26. Argus says:

    Different worlds.
    I live in New Zealand and the entire topic is fictional to us. I call the difference ‘mindset’. True, we have had the odd nutcase go berserk with a weapon, and one or two with grievances against the government take up arms (as Gerald Celente says “When you’ve got nothing left to lose, you lose it”) but the entire topic is so very foreign to us America may as well be on another planet. I wish you luck …

  27. Pingback: Gun Rights Debate Exclusive: A Massacre-Survivor’s Perspective | leslinetmd

  28. Lisa Bellamy says:

    Powerful post. Thank you for liking my latest piece on Walking Across Egypt. Always great to have new readers,

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