Guard schools with ex-Marines, former Marine and Congress candidate says

by Liam Madden

Part of my frustration with the gun control conversation is that liberals have their hearts in the right place but rarely know enough about guns to make effective policy. Banning assault weapons as a main strategy assumes that there is a meaningful difference between what qualifies as an assault weapon and any other semi-automatic firearm. It feels like liberals hear ‘assault weapon’ and picture Rambo, but as a former Marine, I see that it is sadly true that most of the violent tragedies very easily could have been – or were – committed with firearms that don’t qualify as assault weapons. Therefore, what liberals hold as the beacon of good gun control policy- banning assault weapons, is not likely to achieve much other than pissing off conservatives.

Liam Madden (center) with family

As an independent, one who has at least some knowledge of firearms, although I haven’t owned a gun since the I left the Marines, here is my offering to the policy conversation. Hopefully we can expand the framing of the debate to create some middle ground to actually move both parties into:

1) Mentally ill people should have severe restrictions on firearm use.

2) Schools need former Marines guarding them. It’s a sad fact, but the only thing that would make me feel safe with my children going to a school at this point. I don’t like the idea of militarizing schools, but I don’t see a near term alternative that actually protects our most precious beings.

3) The second amendment should remain intact – restricting 18-20 year olds’ gun ownership, Vermont’s most recent measure, is unconstitutional. I’m not judging it as a bad idea, but I need to call a spade a spade. Nowhere in the Constitution does it saythe people, 21 or above, have the right to bear arms. If you can be drafted into military service, and have your income taxed, you are entitled to every constitutional right and the state does not have the authority to abridge that right.

4) However, to me, the second amendment implies “a well regulated militia” i.e. – a community of people who impose discipline about the use of deadly force. That, to me, means that the RIGHT to bear arms comes with RESPONSIBILITY to bear arms as part of a community of ethics.

In practice, firearms for hunting or self defense (pistols) should be allowed in homes and personal lives. Firearms with military applications should not be allowed at homes unless people receive multiple references from a local community of ethics on firearms. In lieu of actual militias, we should be able to verify from among our community interactions who is responsible enough to privately keep a weapon with the capacity to cause mass violence.

5) Hunter gatherers prevented sociopaths from destroying their cultures by having close relationships throughout the entire community. If we want to prevent more tragedies, our communities need to become strong enough where people who become dangerous get help way before they inflict harm. This is a systemic issue that needs a systemic response.

What made those hunter gatherer communities work, in this respect, was total transparency. Everyone knew everything about everyone. It was impossible to hide malicious or dangerous habits. In our modern society, we can either achieve that total transparency with dystopian government surveillance, or, preferably, through strengthened local communities. In the community of ethics scenario I outline above, I am clearly suggesting the ladder.

The author is an independent candidate for Congress, former Chairman – Iraq Veterans Against the War. and M.I.T. Solve Climate Change Award Winner

Categories: Commentary

17 replies »

    • Keep in mind that “professionals” once deemed homosexuality, transgenderism and even daydreaming as aberrant behaviors. Now, flying your freak flag and recruiting children into your sicko lifestyle choice is celebrated with colorful flags, parades and multiple “holidays” throughout the years. Just as there are no perfect physical specimens, there are also no perfect mental specimens among us. Everybody has some kind of quirk or oddity to their personality. When that “quirk” takes the form of becoming a threat of physical harm to others, then the line has been crossed. The “professionals” simply make excuses for aberrant behavior now, and incorporate tolerance for it into the textbooks. When mental illness makes someone a discernible threat, we used to confine them. When we as a society made the choice to de-institutionalize the dangerously mentally ill out of respect for everyone’s civil rights, we accepted a certain level of carnage into our midst. That decision should have NO influence on infringing on the Constitutional Rights of the law-abiding, particularly where self defense and bearing arms is concerned.

      • Rich Lachapelle, I’m not sure how you mean that. However, homosexuality is, like other consensual sexual behavior, guaranteed under the Bill of Rights when involving adults. The drawing of children into sexual activity has been, and should continue to be forbidden. I don’t see what this has to do with the arbitrary assignment of mental illness diagnoses.
        Your syntax isn’t clear. Do you feel that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms? Is that your point? Are you implying that I’m homosexual, without the slightest indication of such?
        What is your point? Please clarify.

    • A Combat Rifle, purchased by the military have automatic and semi-automatic capabilities. Generally, in a Combat situation, the rifles are set for semi- automatic to save ammo. Rifles bought in a gun store never have automatic capabilities.

  1. Your interservice bias is showing. If a vet has a dd214 showing an honorable discharge, they should be able to apply for this duty. A check up from the neck up, weapons proficiency, and background check at a minimum would be necessary. Limiting guards to former members of Uncle Sams misguided children is shortsighted.

  2. You have many good points, but I don’t see how a ladder (sic) is going to help.
    As a retired high school teacher, I fail to see how one, or even a few ex-marines, would take responsibility for the security of a campus of hundreds of teenage students and employees, many of whom have to enter and leave the building multiple times a day, in large part to make the community connections and obtain access to the services and opportunities of which you speak. Would they be guarding one entrance and checking everyone’s ID? At my school we had a resource officer, mostly for internal community support, and locked double doors that one had to be buzzed through or tap your magnetic ID card. But students would often hold locked doors open for others who forgot, lost, or misplaced their card (as teens will do). So would an ex-marine be stationed at every entrance to make sure no students let in others, no doors get propped open (maybe just to ventilate buildings with no AC and for Covid mitigation?), and no alarms are disabled? Would these guards be volunteers or school employees? Who would fund this program? Where would they go to refresh their firearms training and obtain the necessary body armor?
    In my experience, local communities are more concerned about the tax consequences of any school program, and as often as I invited involvement in every aspect of what went on in my classroom, few participated or took much interest until there was a problem. I agree that this is about protecting our most precious asset, our children, our future.
    I suggest that anyone who thinks this is a solution, make an appointment with your local school district superintendent, go visit every school in the district to see how they operate, visit your local law enforcement office and ask what their response plan currently is, and then come back and write an essay about how you will implement an ex-marine school guard program.

  3. As guns are not the problem, and Americans surely cannot be more homicidal than other nationalities, doesn’t that only leave schools as being the real issue? As if to prove my point, how many school mass shootings were there when schools were closed in the pandemic – none, right!

    So, to ban mass shootings at schools, ban schools! Make home schooling mandatory. No need to go the the expense of closing up doorways or hiring guards. No need to traumatize kids with lockdown drills. No need to send thoughts and prayers every few months.

    I have solved the problem – no need to thank me.

  4. Gun control is not the answer. A gun free , zone is asking for trouble. I believe that some of the staff should carry concealed. They can be trained in active shooter scenerios. Install locks on the inside of classroom doors to keep the bad guy out. I carry concealed, I was a firearms instructor, and retired Navy. We trained in battle procedures in case,did it so many times it became second nature. Get the kids involved too. There aren’t very many mass shootings in the south, because the majority own guns.

  5. After these horrible shootings, everyone has an opinion, but nobody has an answer to the problem because pandering politicians muddy the water, so the truth is not heard. The liberals jump right on the ban the guns mantra. Cooler heads say lock down the schools without realizing how difficult that would be in some huge schools.

    The real issue is that our society has degraded to a point where nothing can get done. The Biden answer is to ban guns as our southern border is left wide open to foreign invaders from 105 different countries. Closing the border stops gangs, terrorists, smugglers, drug mules and human traffickers to name a few categories. What would banning guns do if they are being smuggled through our porous borders? Will criminals give up their illegal guns? No.

    In the 60s and 70s, mental health facilities were shunned as cruel and a movement was in play to defund mental health institutions. We are seeing the results of this now. Homelessness, drug addiction, the lack of propper care for mentally ill people and the drugging of young overactive children who are abandoned by responsible parents and left to wonder on their own into dangerous situations. These kids are known to people in the community and ignored. Ignored because there’s no place for them to be referred to. Who are the monsters doing these shooting? They aren’t members of the NRA, they aren’t healthy minded people. Is a monster who can kill little children mentally healthy? No.

    While the politicians wring their hands and pander for votes to make it look like there doing something, what are they doing, nothing? their pandering and like Biden, they lie about almost everything to avoid the real problems, the degradation of our society and the ignoring our mental health crises all across America. We’ve heard it after every mass shooting, ban the guns. It can’t be done, it won’t be done and if they try, who’s coming for them. Nobody. A revolution started when the British tried it in the 1700s. When politicians pander, nothing gets done. When they go after people who aren’t the problem, nothing gets done. When they lie to Americans, nothing gets done and we move on to the next troubled monster ignored by those around him and the politicians will pander and lie some more. Until we close our borders and solve the mental health crises expect more pandering.

  6. If restricting an 18-20 year old’s right to purchase and own a firearm is unconstitutional then the same logic would apply to a 6-8 year old’s rights. The adult brain is not fully formed until early to mid twenties.

  7. Upside down. Only adults 21 and older only should be subject to the draft, eligible to volunteer for military service and eligible to vote. Conscription of children by the U.S. military is unconscionable. Somebody under the age of 21 should not be allowed to purchase or own a firearm and always be accompanied by an adult when in possession of a firearm.

  8. When my dad was a boy, maybe around the age of 10 years old, he could go to the local store and buy a gun. Maybe the reason there were no school shootings in 1947 was because of the community, hard work, no screens. Is the way back to sanity created with more community, lifting up youth with responsibility and purpose. The purpose project at could be a start for may kids and even adults.

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