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The other victim
By: Geoff Metcalf
Monday, April 26, 1999

In the wake of the tragedy in Littleton, Co. most of the focus has been on who, or what to blame. The parents, the teachers, the school administrators, movies, music, the Internet, and even a few intrepid types have claimed the two disturbed kids might actually be accountable for the havoc that resulted in 15 deaths, including their own.

Now that the dust has settled and bodies cooled it strikes me that the most amazing tragedy of the event was no one ... no student, no teacher, no adult, no cop, attempted to do anything resembling courageous. The media reported acts of "bravery" as getting people to hide here, there, and everywhere. Hiding may be prudent, but it is not heroic. Even the heavily armed SWAT troops with their flak jackets and kevlar helmets avoided putting themselves at risk. Why? The mere fact I have to ask the question is beyond daunting.

Were the students, teachers and cops so conditioned by politically correct programming that action became anathema to them? I guess to ask the question is to answer it.

I've had a lot of e-mail on this. One international security firm wrote: "We are getting calls, all from the older guys throughout the business, who take great exception to the Colorado cops who waited to go in. The killing obviously took a while, and the event could have ended sooner with less loss of life. It is politically correct to say 'the objective is to go home at the end of the shift.' For the rest of us, 'The objective is to go home at the end of the shift -- and be able to look at yourself in the mirror.' There is no honor in going home if you do it at the expense of others."

"You GO IN! If you take a bullet, you did it trying to save or rescue children. You don't say 'what a tragedy.' You don't come up with multiple reasons why you couldn't go in. That is the job, and you go in. ... We have real-life counter terrorism professionals living about 30 miles outside of Denver -- who can't get the cops there to listen when they are told this type of stuff is coming their way." That's from professional badge carrying, gun carrying career types. Sadly, a dying breed... guys who actually probably read 'Red Badge of Courage.'

I don't like to Monday morning quarterback what happened in Columbine High school. You and I were not there. We were not faced with the choice of sacrificing our personal safety to do something courageous. We still don't know all the details. However, we do know 15 people are dead, and despite the scope of that tragedy, fewer lives should have been lost. One report tells of a security guard who actually engaged the deadly duo but missed. There was a long period of time during the "hostage stage" that gunfire continued and young people died.

Am I suggesting someone should have put themselves at risk? Am I suggesting someone do something stupid and use deadly force? Yes I am. For some of the witnesses, to the great sadness, it was their job ... for others it was their duty.

We as a people have become so conditioned to comfort, so indoctrinated to correctness, that we are mutating from the land of the free and home of the brave, to the land of the sheep and home of cowards. Ask your oldest living relative if they would rather live on their knees or die on their feet? Then ask the same question of your children's teachers.

Books have been and will be written about the myriad contributing factors to what caused two kids to do what they did. There is a long list of suspects to blame from parents, to teachers, to cops who had been warned, to a society that in an effort to embrace diversity -- any kind of diversity -- has sanctioned perversity.

We have become so focused on our own comforts that far too many people fail to acknowledge an inherent duty we all share. De Tocqueville once observed, "America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good it will cease to be great." It has come to pass. We are witnesses of the age in which America ceased to be great, because it ceased to be good.

From our national leadership tainted by a contemptible, lying, misogynist with the moral compass of a slug, to states that undermine parents' rights, and cherish victimhood as a role to be embraced. Schools don't teach, parents don't parent, and the body politic is shocked and amazed when bad stuff happens. There ARE consequences to actions ... and to lack of action. Fifteen people are dead because of actions which never should have been allowed to transpire. Fifteen people are dead because of lack of action by individuals who were in a position to do something and didn't.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, and who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Survivors of the Littleton, Co. tragedy must live their lives as "cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Reprinted with Permission of Geoff Metcalf

Mr. Metcalf is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Veto The Governor initiative to get The Right to Keep and Bear Arms amended into the California Constitution.  

Hire Geoff Metcalf to speak at your organization, event, or group. For further information click here.

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They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin Historical Review of Pennsylvania. [Note: This sentence was often quoted in the Revolutionary period. It occurs even so early as November, 1755, in an answer by the Assembly of Pennsylvania to the Governor, and forms the motto of Franklin's "Historical Review," 1759, appearing also in the body of the work. Frothingham: Rise of the Republic of the United States, p. 413. ]

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