The Holocaust Shooting

In loving memory of Officer Stephen Johns, I write this blog today honoring his heroism in the line of duty.

I’m sure every reader joins me in honoring each and every security guard at the National Holocaust Museum who knowingly placed his or her life on the line to protect visitors and, more importantly, to take this murderer out. It’s difficult to fathom what goes through a law enforcement officer’s mind when they stare down a dangerous threat, but they do it instinctually and unselfishly, and for that, this city and the nation are grateful.

This world is full of evil. James von Brunn was one of its many ringleaders. He was so filled with hatred that he would stop at nothing to exact his own twisted version of vengeance toward a group he had publicly menaced for years.

But as senseless as this act was, we as a nation should not fall into the temptation to call for an equally senseless ban on guns. This crime and the subsequent discussion shouldn’t even be about guns. If von Brunn had carried an automatic rifle into the museum, the calls for banning assault weapons would have howled. But the murder weapon was a .22 rifle, so the hue and cry is focused at the more generic (and easier) argument to ban all guns. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction now for anti-gun activists.

But the truth we all know in our hearts is that if von Brunn had wanted to kill someone, he would have. Period. He could have driven his car into the crowd waiting outside the museum. Yet no one would think of calling for a ban on autos. He could have pushed someone over the railings to his death.

My own view is thank God there were guns in that building yesterday — the weapons of the officers who took von Brunn down. Yes, it’s sad we live in a world where even exiting an Army recruiting station or attending church could lead to lives lost. But the sooner we face that unfortunate reality, and insist we have an active “equalizer,” the more secure we can be. Guns are not the answer, but banning them is certainly not a viable solution; not now, not today.


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