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Parents: Let's look at the facts surrounding mass shootings and gun-free zones

Maybe, just maybe ... we need to listen to the logic of gun-free zones. For the good of our children and the safety of our society, what say we let the facts decide?

Members of law enforcement talk in front of Townville Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Townville, S.C. A teenager opened fire at the South Carolina elementary school Wednesday, wounding two students and a teacher before the suspect was taken into custody, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

So, Halloween’s coming up—and we got an email this week from our daycare/preschool announcing the upcoming Halloween festivities. We can send our kids in the costumes of our choice, so long as we “refrain from bringing weapons to go with the costume.”

I was so relieved to see that a zero-tolerance mentality extends to our daughter’s daycare as well; after all, we live in a crazy world.

I’ve never known such constant fear as that which I now experience as a parent. For those of you out there who aren’t yet, well— it’s just inexplicable. You worry from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, and even after. It’s a hard slog, this parenting thing.

In this world of evil people, I breathe a sigh of relief when I know that our nation’s schools—where so many of us entrust our precious children most of the day—are gun-free zones.

I know my relief is shared by the families of the 141 students and faculty “killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school since Columbine.”

I know my relief is shared by the families of the 235 students and faculty killed in all school shootings since Columbine.

I know my relief is shared by the families of the 334 students and faculty injured in all school shootings since Columbine.

I know my relief is shared by the families of the two children and a teacher in a Townville, South Carolina elementary school who were shot earlier this week.

Members of law enforcement talk in front of Townville Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Townville, S.C. A teenager opened fire at the South Carolina elementary school Wednesday, wounding two students and a teacher before the suspect was taken into custody, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

And it’s not just our nation’s schools that are such havens of non-violence.

I feel immense relief knowing that—as outlined in this study—“92 percent of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones.”

I know my relief is shared by the families of the 50 people killed in the Pulse nightclub attack, a gun free zone.

I know my relief is shared by the family of former “The Voice” contestant Christine Grimmie who was shot and killed in a gun-free concert venue.

I know my relief is shared by the families of the 16 killed in two separate attacks on Fort Hood, the 12 killed in the Washington Navy Yard attack, and the four killed in the Chattanooga Naval reserve attack—all of which are military facilities converted into gun-free zones by “Department of Defense Directive 5210.56, enacted in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush.”

There are simply just too many people relieved by the presence of gun-free zones for me to list here. But I know one thing: myriad deaths aside, we can find comfort in knowing that our politically correct consciences are clear since we *did* put that little sign on the door, after all.

Forgive the snarkiness, but get a grip.

Gun-free zones are a monstrous lie. As TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo put it earlier this week, the idea of gun-free zones is “deceptively cruel.”

It’s cruel because it lulls us all into letting down our guard, securely in the knowledge that our schools (and dozens of other public places) have banned all guns from the premises. They’ve banned them. Zip, zero, nada. No tolerance. Not even a Pop-Tart that looks like one.

And yet the killings continue.

People love to talk about how “sick” they are of school shooting after school shooting; of attack after attack. “When is enough enough??” they cry.

Newsflash: yours truly—your trusty neighborhood “gun nut” is, too.

What say we talk about some serious solutions?

Here’s the deal: we have evil in the world. There’s no two ways about it. Banning guns is never—I repeat— never going to stop evil. Just look at the carnage in Mexico: how many tens of thousands of people have been killed as a result of a war perpetuated by drugs that—by virtue of a law banning them—aren’t even supposed to be there in the first place?

Let me take this a step further: in the case of gun free zones at schools, do you realize that the perpetrators are not only ignoring the gun-free law, but many of them have been student-age themselves, which means they’re also violating laws stipulating that minors can’t use guns.

Laws don’t stop people. Consequences can sometimes deter people. But as these shootings demonstrated, even lifelong or life-ending consequences didn’t even matter. I’m not saying that laws don’t have their purpose—but the sooner we realize that evil DOES exist and will continue to exist regardless of laws, the sooner we can start getting serious about how we live in a world with it.

And that starts by not advertising that our kids are little sitting ducks.

Let me bring some perspective to this. In our homes, we lock our doors, close our windows, flip on the alarm system and rest easier knowing that little blue “our home is protected by____” security sign tells the whole neighborhood that this is a protected zone. Heck, back in Mexico I knew of people who would just buy those little signs and slap it on their house regardless of whether or not they had the actual system installed. The criminals and crazies didn’t know that—and most people (rightly) assumed that they wouldn’t want to take the chance.

So why on earth would advertising that a place is not protected do the same thing?

We sleep so well when we’ve protected our own homes, and then we wake up and take our children out of those homes, and shove them into big buildings that scream to the whole world that they’re unprotected.

I’m not saying every teacher needs to be armed with a Kalashnikov or that every lunch lady should be packing a Glock 19. But when criminals and crazies (who by nature don't follow the rules) know that they’re going to face little to nothing when they get there to carry out their heinous act, "gun-free" certainly isn't a deterrent. In some cases, it’s actually been a motivator:

"Another option was Deltopia, a day in which many young people pour in from all over the state to have a spring break party on Del Playa Street. I figured this would be the perfect day to attack Isla Vista, but after watching YouTube videos of previous Deltopia parties, I saw that there were way too many cops walking around on such an event. It would be impossible to kill enough of my enemies before being dispatched by those damnable cops."

That was a sampling from Elliot Rodger’s manifesto—a shooter who went on to kill three people in his Santa Barbara attack.

Or take James Holmes, the Aurora theater killer who went out of his way to pick “the single theater where guns were banned and the victims would be defenseless”—ignoring seven much closer theaters showing the exact same movie.

Here’s the deal. Just as I know that gun-free zones are obviously not a guarantee of safety, I also know that allowing citizens to carry guns in self-defense isn’t necessarily a guarantee, either.

But let me ask you this: you’re stuck in an attack situation, and you can choose to be in a gun-free zone or amongst trained, responsible civilians who can whip out a legal gun and stop the killer in their tracks. Where do you want to be?

Better yet, where do you want your child to be?

Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Monday-Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: afuturefree@aol.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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