On Monday, extreme Islam once again displayed its true colors as Man Monis, an Iranian refugee, held more than 15 people hostage inside a café in Sydney, Australia. After a 16-hour standoff with police, Monis was eventually killed, taking two of his innocent hostages with him. While the world reflects on how this happened and attempts to learn from the incident, one point in particular is especially difficult for me to avoid. Specifically, events such as this are precisely why gun owners here in the US so vehemently defend our right to carry a firearm in public.
I often hear anti-gun people state that no one “needs” to have a gun in public and that doing so is an indication of insecurity or worse, phallic inadequacy. At the same time, we have Moms Demand Action bullying companies like Starbucks, Panera Bread, and Target into adopting soft bans on firearms in their stores. What these groups have in air time is made up for by their lack of perspective. The same thing that happened in Sydney on Monday can absolutely happen here in the United States. No law or corporate policy will ever prevent a similar tragedy in the US. I will not argue that “good guys with guns” always bring about the desired end to dangerous situations. However, if gun control advocates can speculate that an armed citizen would make such a situation worse, we can absolutely argue (more reasonably) that a Good Samaritan with a firearm could have ended it before two innocents lost their lives.
It’s time to stop living in a fantasy world where feelings make policy and false security rules the day. Even with some of the tightest restrictions on firearms ownership in the developed world, Australians still fell victim to a determined criminal with terroristic intent. The least those of us that live on the opposite side of the world can do to honor these victims is to accept that we are not immune to their fate and to learn from their experiences.