News broke Tuesday morning that two men were shot and killed on UCLA’s campus in what has been deemed a murder-suicide. In the wake of the violence, thousands of students were left with no alternative but to barricade classroom doors with belts and hide under their desks in the hope that the murderer would pass them over.
The shooting occurred around 10 AM (PST) Just over two hours later, after a campus-wide lockdown, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced, “Campus is safe.”
Obviously Beck’s declaration of safety was meant to calm students and faculty who were scared for their lives. But equally obvious is the irony that UCLA’s campus, like so many campuses across America, is not safe from armed murderers. Even as Americans grow calloused to the news of mass shootings on college campuses and elsewhere in their country, the underlying reason why campuses are unsafe has been buried by media narratives.
Indeed, the LA Times‘s coverage of the shooting focused on the “massive response” from local and federal law enforcement. The narrative being spun by the LAPD and corroborated by the LA Times is that gun carry demands “an abundance of caution” not only in terms of police’s response to a shooting but also, by implication, in terms of gun-free zones and safe spaces on college campuses.
The facts, however, tell a different story: Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a long line of shootings in which the killer targeted an area where gun carry was prohibited. Gun control zealots need only look at the evidence to learn that concealed carry actually helps prevent mass shootings.
There are two kinds of evidence which support the previous claim. On a large scale, the Stanford University Library has a database that documents 54 mass shootings which have occurred since 2002. Thirty-seven of those shootings (69%) occurred in gun-free zones. On the other hand, in five of the 17 shootings which occurred in areas where citizens were allowed to be armed, the gunman eventually was slowed or stopped by an armed citizen. Clearly the data supports enforcement of American citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Those reluctant to reduce emotional events to numerical data need only look to the second, more human kind of evidence—the words of the gunmen themselves. In multiple instances, mass killers explicitly have acknowledged their preference was to attack defenseless citizens in gun-free zones:
- The Charleston church shooter scrapped his original plan to attack the College of Charleston upon learning the campus was manned by armed guards.
- The “Dark Knight”movie theater killer, James Holmes, revealed in his diary that he chose not to attack an airport because of its “substantial security.”What’s more, of the seven movie theaters within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment, six of them allowed concealed carry. Guess which one was targeted?
- Elliot Rodger, who fatally shot three people in Santa Barbara, Calif., explained in his 141-page manifesto that he ruled out various targets in the fear that someone with a gun would curtail his killing spree.
- Justin Bourque shot to death three people in Canada, and afterwards posted on Facebook alluding to the defenselessness of his victims.
What’s more, the National Review documented at least five instances where potential shootings were prevented by armed citizens, making the point that none of those stories made national news. Ours is a culture at once captivated and repulsed by violence; lost in that confusion is the fact that the surest way to prevent gun violence is to enforce the Second Amendment.