This time the State didn't commit the slaughter directly, as it did fourteen years ago in Waco, Texas. Instead, it created a veritable hunting preserve for the armed psychopath who carried out the massacre. Since the victims had been disarmed by the State, the murderer was able to carry out his crime methodically, even going back to his dorm room to re-load – and he ended the attack on his own terms by killing himself.
As is almost always the case when atrocities of this sort occur, the government's role was limited to disarming the victims, penning them for slaughter, and then sending in heavily armed police to draw the chalk outlines and string up the crime scene tape. And since government is the only entity that grows and prospers through failure, we can anticipate that this State-facilitated mass murder will result in new initiatives to disarm potential victims, embolden private sector criminals, and empower the criminals who rule us and the rented thugs who do their bidding.
“The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus," recounted an AP report. "Witnesses [reported] students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire. SWAT team members with helmets, flak jackets and assault rifles swarmed over the campus. Students and faculty members carried out some of the wounded themselves, without waiting for ambulances to arrive.”
The SWAT team was useless here, of course, because the mission didn't involve kicking in doors in early-morning no-knock raids. Although advertised as hostage rescue specialists, SWAT operators are generally trained to think in terms of “officer safety” first. After all, the important thing is to protect those who bear the State's insignia.
“Many local SWAT teams descended on the high school parking lot and vicinity after the shooting started. But none of the SWAT teams confronted the killers. Police spokesmen said the SWATs were not sent in `for fear that they might set off another gunfight'.... At least there was no danger of a `gunfight' when Eric Harris and Dyland Klebold were executing unarmed students.... The police response also seemed paralyzed by concerns for `officer safety.' Steve Davis, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, said, `We had no idea who was a victim and who was a suspect. And a dead police officer would not be able to help anyone.'”
Well, at Columbine, as at Virginia Tech, the live police officers weren't any help, either. But then again, they're not expected to protect and serve law-abiding citizens under assault by armed criminals, nor are they legally required to.
Notes Bovard: “A federal appeals court declared in 1982, `There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.'”
This principle doesn't apply only to situations involving a maniac armed with guns. During the 2001 Mardi Gras riot in Seattle, 20-year-old Kristopher Kime was beaten to death by a mob of young predators armed with skateboards and brass knuckles as the local paladins of public order stood placidly at the periphery. Although Kime was the only one killed, many others were attacked at random and severely injured.
In fact, Kime was killed after he went to aid a woman who had been assaulted by the marauders: He was murdered, in other words, because he was doing the job the police supposedly were there to do.
“Police, vastly outnumbered, stood along the perimeter of the crowd and watched as the wounded pleaded for help,” recalls the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Police commanders ordered officers to stand by, fearing any move would incite the crowd further and....”
OK, stop right there. What do you think comes next? “... risk injury to innocent bystanders”?
Or perhaps, “... result in open gunplay, leading to the deaths of unarmed civilians”?
No, indeed. Here's how that sentence ends:
“... fearing any move would incite the crowd further and endanger the officers.” (Emphasis added.)
Once again, the operational principle was not to “protect and serve” the innocent, but officer safety uber alles.
This is not always the case, of course. There are, I happily and gratefully acknowledge, many genuinely heroic men in law enforcement and rescue units who defy the officer safety dogma to and on behalf of the innocent, despite the fact that the State does not require them to.
He died trying to save a stranger: The heroic Kris Kime (l.) and the memorial plaque in Seattle's Pioneer Square district, where he was murdered (r.).
In fact, that's what happened in the case of Kris Kime, as described in this excerpt from an account compiled by a Seattle law firm:
“Kris Kime was with his friends in the midst of Pioneer Square.... The group of friends became separated. Some of the young women were assaulted. They were in the process of desperately trying to leave when Kris bent over to help a victimized woman who had been knocked to the ground. As he reached out to her, Kris had no idea that [Jerell] Thomas [who murdered Kime] was approaching him from the rear. Massive blows were delivered to the back of Kris’ head and he fell to the ground....
The group of friends and onlookers created a circle around Kris as the mob surged around. A few people tried to kick him.
As he lay dying in the street, the City [police] stood by and did nothing. Friend Louis Dickinson called 911 to get help. The dispatcher explained that the police would not go in to the melee. `He’s hurt bad' Dickinson pleaded. Not giving up, he ran to the perimeter and begged the police directly. In wooden tones they told him that they had heard the dispatch but would not go in. Meanwhile two off duty paramedics came to help and along with a few of the friends were able to drag Kris out of the square. No ambulances or aid vehicles were present, so Kris was placed into the rear of a patrol car and taken to Harborview.”
While the entire police force – commanders, dispatchers, and officers on the street – allowed this murder to unfold before their eyes, it was a couple of off-duty paramedics who risked their lives in a doomed but noble attempt to save the life of the stricken Samaritan.
Perhaps these heroic paramedics were able to see their moral duty clearly because they were off the clock, and thus not working for the State.
The only excuse for putting up with government at all is the assumption that it will protect us from the violence of the lawless: That's the actual import of the much-misused passages in Romans 13 urging Christians to be subject to governments: God has placed the sword into the hands of rulers to defend the innocent against evil-doers.
Where governments do not carry out that function, they have no moral or practical reason to exist.
As we mourn for the innocent dead and wounded, and pray for the consolation of their families, let us also reflect on the unambiguous truth that the State that rules us cannot protect us -- and that only idolatrous fools would permit that State to disarm us.
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