Commenting on the actions of a "homegrown terrorist" who set off a deadly explosion in downtown Oslo before dressing up as a police officer and heading to a summer camp on Norway's forested island of Utoya, there to shoot and kill at least 80 "Labor Party" offspring in what The AP calls "one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history" (isn't it funny how they never count government "shooting sprees"?) as "terrified youths ran and even swam for their lives," the editorialists of the Standard remind us it is customary, after every violent tragedy, to observe that lessons must be learned from it. But the reality of the Norwegian massacre is that there are rather few to be learned.
"Anders Breivik," the Standard men continue, "was patently an obsessive extremist but his background was both prosperous and liberal; he would not have been first on anyone's checklist of a potential mass homicide."
Tell me I'm just imagining the Standard men mean that such a crime might be more understandable if committed by some lower-class barefoot Okie, or a fan of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek—as though Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were not all well-fed leftist intellectuals.
"The only obvious moral is that Norway's relatively strict gun laws should be better enforced," the Brit editorialists conclude. "Norwegians need a license to own a gun and must keep them in a safe; individuals may not buy automatic weapons. Police may inspect a gun-owner's home. Yet plainly, those laws were poorly enforced. ..."
Ah. So Norway's draconian police-state gun laws, which had the effect of all gun laws (disarming the victims while posing no noticeable impediment to the deranged conduct of their assailant), would have prevented these murders if only they'd been "better enforced."
Leaving aside the fact Norwegians used to be proud of their small but dedicated Resistance to the Nazi occupation of 1940-1945 — made possible only because a few Norwegians retained firearms that weren't always "locked in the safe"—let us review the results when a few other lunatics have decided to engage in mass murder, with special attention to the variable "how effective were the local gun control laws."
In the worst American non-government mass shooting in recent memory, one George Hennard in 1991 drove his pickup truck through the window of a Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., jumped out and began firing two pistols at the defenseless customers and employees inside. Twenty-three occupants were shot down like dogs—even though Hennard took time to reload—because state law required them to leave their firearms out in their cars.
One customer, Suzanna Hupp, saw Hennard gun down her parents. Mrs. Hupp later testified, under oath, that she had brought a handgun with her that day but, to her bitter regret, left it in her car, as required by state law, which at the time barred the carrying of a concealed handgun.
Suzanna Gratia Hupp ran for and was elected to the Texas state Legislature, where she was able to win approval of a ¬shall issue law that requires authorities to issue a concealed carry permit to any resident who meets certain objective criteria.
Unless they join the Army.
Among President Bill Clinton's first acts upon taking office in 1993 "was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases," the Washington Times reported in November, 2009. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.
"Because of Mr. Clinton, terrorists would face more return fire if they attacked a Texas Wal-Mart" than jihadist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan encountered in November, 2009, as he reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" and opened fire at a soldier readiness facility in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 28, the Times editorialized that week.
In an interview on CNN the Monday night after the Fort Hood shooting, news anchor John Roberts asked Mandy Foster — wife of one of the soldiers shot and wounded at the base—how she felt about her husband's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Foster responded: "At least he's safe there and he can fire back, right?"
Clinton's deadly rule disarms even officers. "Six of the dead and wounded had commissions," the Times pointed out. This despite the fact that "All the public shootings in the United States in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where concealed handguns have been banned—a ban obeyed only by the victims, of course.
Now let us compare these examples of what happens when victim disarmament "gun control" laws are enforced "effectively" with the killing spree which occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in 1999 in Santa Clara, Calif.
In that event, Sgt. Anton Morec of the Santa Clara Police Department told Reuters 21-year-old Richard Gable Stevens "intended to go out in a blaze of glory," noting Stevens had accumulated more than 100 rounds of ammunition for his rented 9 mm semi-automatic weapon.
Police later found a note from Stevens to his parents, predicting they would be bankrupted by lawsuits from the relatives of his victims.
Reuters reported "Morec said Stevens arrived at the National Shooting Club Monday evening and rented the rifle for target practice. ... After several minutes on the range, however, Stevens returned to the club's gun store and shot at the ceiling. He then herded three store employees out the door into an alley, saying he intended to kill them," after which "It certainly looks like he intended to take a lot more people out."
Do you remember the big headlines about all the people Richard Gable Stevens killed over that Fourth of July weekend in Santa Clara, Calif.?
Don't bother trying to look it up. Richard Gable Stevens never killed anyone. Have you guessed why?
"Unknown to Stevens, one store employee was carrying a .45 caliber handgun concealed beneath his shirt," Reuters reported. "When Stevens looked away, the employee fired, hitting Stevens several times in the chest and bringing him to the ground."
The would-be mass murderer was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. Police concluded "The quick action by the gun club employee may have headed off a massacre."
Need more examples,? Look up John Lott's accounts of how the intended mass shootings at Appalchian State Law School (2002) and Pearl, Miss. (1997) were cut short by law-abiding bystanders with guns.
Terrorist shootings by Arabs sneaking into Israeli schools also dropped almost to zero when Israeli authorities decided to allow teachers and parent chaperones to start carry semi-automatic weapons.
Yet we're supposed to believe the best way to have cut short the murder spree allegedly carried out by 32-year-old Norwegian anti-immigration activist Anders Breivik last weekend would have been to "better enforce" victim disarmament laws which require that any gun owned by one of those Norwegian camp counselors be kept at home in a safe?
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, and author of the novel The Black Arrow and The Ballad of Carl Drega. See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.