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Student Marcher Wants ‘Assault Rifles’ To Be ‘Taken Away From The Average Person’
though fully automatic weapons have nearly been entirely outlawed for any civilian since 1986.
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THE GUN DEBATE James H. Lilley
THE CURRENT CLIMATE:
It’s time… No… It’s long overdue for the people of America to reach deep within
themselves and pull up every ounce of common sense they can muster and prepare to
face reality head on. Tragically, once again innocent students and teachers lost their lives
Immediately the cries rang loud and seemingly endless, screaming for gun control
and ridding our society of the evil firearm. Take a deep breath and think. Firearms are
tools that have been a part of our nation, culture and society since America was founded.
It is estimated that presently there are over 80,000,000 gun owners across the nation and
they possess in excess of 300,000,000 plus firearms. Many of those gun owners also have
in their possession thousands of rounds of ammunition and high capacity magazines. And
yet, they are not out on the rooftops, running amok in nightclubs, businesses or schools
ruthlessly butchering innocent men, women and children. They are law-abiding citizens
who exercised their Constitutional Rights provided to them by the Second Amendment,
and legally purchased their firearms. By the way, included among the 300 million guns,
there are over 488,000 legally registered and owned machine guns, which are not being
used to commit mass murders or other crimes of violence.
Murder, rape, robbery, burglary, auto theft, the manufacture and distribution of
drugs, possession of drugs, drunken driving, varying degrees of sexual assault and child
abuse are crimes, which are prohibited by law. Still, they occur daily across our nation
and little to nothing appears in our national headlines reporting the thousands of senseless
murders taking place on city streets in Baltimore, Chicago and elsewhere. There is no
nationwide clamor for more laws and stricter penalties. At best, there are some local
marches and candlelight vigils to bring attention to or protest the violence. Most of these
marches and vigils seldom attract 50 people. Why? Is it because we, as a nation, have
become so desensitized that we are willing to accept these murders as a fact of life?
Then comes a mass shooting at a business, nightclub, school or concert event.
Within the first minutes of these tragedies politicians, citizens and every anti-gun lobby
in America is screaming for gun bans, magazine bans, more laws and more laws and
blaming the NRA. Now, take another deep breath and listen. Not a single word of new
legislation will impact a criminal and prevent him or her from carrying out their intent to
kill. Whether they obtained the weapon legally, received it via a straw purchase or gained
possession by theft, criminals will carry out their crime. Certainly past experience has
demonstrated time and again that every new gun law passed impacts only the law-abiding
citizen. The law-abiding citizen always pays the price and suffers the consequences,
while the criminals in our society go on unaffected by gun laws. They continue to use
illegal guns to commit crime. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE CRIMINALS AND
DON’T OBEY THE LAW, REGARDLESS OF THE PENALTY THEY MAY FACE IF
APPREHENDED. Even if arrested, tried and convicted of a crime of violence, many
will be released and immediately return to their life of crime.
OUR CURRENT TAPESTRY OF GUN LAWS:
So, the questions arise, repeated 24/7 by the media “How do we stem the tide of
gun violence? How do we keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or the mentally
unstable? How do we keep violent offenders off our streets? How do we keep our
schools, businesses, concert venues and social gatherings safe?”
To answer these questions we need to examine the current status of gun laws.
• Every state in America has its gun laws, some more stringent than others and
there are Federal Laws in place as well.
• Still, there seems to be cracks, failures and loopholes in these laws. To address
these issues, political, personal and biased egos need to be thrown aside, as they
in all likelihood contributed to the breakdowns in these laws. When it comes to
the safety and well being of our students as well as our adult men and women,
partisan politics and personal biases have no place at the table.
• Next, all states and the Federal Government should very carefully review all of
their existing laws relating to firearms.
• Then, list the cracks, flaws and loopholes discovered and take every measure
necessary to correct the problems.
• If it becomes evident that state legislation alone cannot repair the laws’ failings,
the Federal Government should join with the states and take immediate action to
make the laws ironclad.
• Enact legislation, state, federal or both if necessary, to ban Bump Stocks. They
serve no purpose other than offering a cheap method for someone to convert a
semi-automatic weapon to something close to a machine gun.
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM:
If we are to reduce crime committed with a gun, crime and punishment has to be
included as a part of this discussion. To highlight an important point regarding this phase
I’ll step over to the crime of drunken driving. This is a huge problem in America and,
yet, incredibly, I recently read of a man arrested for his 23rd drunken driving offense. If I
recall correctly that offense led to at least one fatality. It is almost unimaginable to think
that this man could get behind the wheel of a car and drive.
When in Okinawa in 2007, I had a conversation with the Chief of Police of the
island. I asked how they dealt with the matter of drunken driving. I was stunned when
he said they don’t have many problems with people drinking and driving while drunk.
The reason? A conviction for a first offense is a mandatory 30 days in jail with full time
served. A conviction for a second offense is punishable by a six-month sentence in jail,
and again, every day must be served. I asked about three-time losers and he said none
came to mind. Obviously, fear of the consequences for breaking the law is proving to be
a very effective preventative measure.
At times our criminal justice system seems to aid and abet criminals more than it
appropriately punishes them for their offenses.
• Probation before Judgment, suspended sentences, parole, commuted sentences
and the often-used time served awaiting trial as payment for a crime, sends violent
offenders back on the streets to commit crime in a never-ending cycle that could
• Convicted felons arrested for a crime and found to be in possession of a handgun
often receive no more than a slap on the wrist and are released to repeat their
crimes again and again.
• They become repeat offenders because they have no fear of the judicial system.
Most believe they will, once again, serve little to no time for breaking the law.
• To send a real and life-changing message to all criminals, the punishment must fit
• A convicted felon arrested and found in possession of a handgun should face a
mandatory sentence of 10 years, no parole, no suspended sentence, no early
release or commuted sentence for a first offense.
• For second time offenders the sentence should be a mandatory 15 years.
• For third time offenders the sentence should be a mandatory 20 years.
• To ensure an end to the “Revolving Door Justice System” judges too must be held
accountable for their actions on the bench.
• If our laws call for strict punishment for offenses, judges should not be permitted
to dole out lenient sentences, Probation Before Judgment, or time served awaiting
trial as punishment.
• Nor should judges be allowed to arbitrarily dismiss charges against a defendant
because he or she disagrees with or does not like particular sentencing mandates.
• Any judge violating the sentencing mandates should face significant penalties for
their actions, up to removal from the bench and disbarment.
• Enact legislation, state and federal, that would allow law enforcement officers to
apply directly to a judge requesting a court order to enter a home and seize all
firearms from those arrested for:
l. Felon in possession of a firearm
2. Domestic Violence
3. Those served with Restraining/Protective orders
4. Repeat offenders of violent crime
THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND ITS BREAKDOWNS, FAILURES, CORRUPTION
THROUGH BRIBERY AND GIVING IN TO THREATS BY THE FEDERAL
• First and foremost, former President Barrack Obama, former Attorney General
Eric Holder and former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are, in large part,
directly responsible for the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School.
• It was the Obama Administration’s attempt to influence school districts across
America through what amounts to the crime of bribery and threats to cut off
federal funding if the school districts did not comply with the administration’s
demands to reduce the number of students being arrested for crimes on school
property. As Robert Runcie, the school superintendent willingly supported and
encouraged taking part in what is called the PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism
through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education) Program,
he too shares in the responsibility for the deaths of those students.
• As a part of this, local law enforcement agencies were brought on board and
agreed to fall in line and “look the other way” for crimes committed on school
grounds. Thus, no discipline, punishment or arrest record for criminal acts. What
were the results?
• Some 53 schools districts across the nation jumped on the Obama bandwagon to
get their share of offered federal bribe money.
• Within the first year of Obama’s anti-discipline edict, public schools failed to
expel 30,000 students who physically assaulted teachers and staff across the
• This anti-discipline edict allowed Nikolas Cruz to commit crimes on school
grounds without fear of arrest or having his crimes appear on a criminal rap sheet.
• Without the criminal record he justly deserved, he was able to legally purchase
the AR-15 he used to kill 17 students. Why? His criminal background check
showed he had no criminal record.
• To read the full article regarding this Federal Government atrocity go to:
OTHER AGENCY FAILURES:
The deeper we explore the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School it
appears that this was not merely a breakdown, but a complete collapse by all agencies
involved that could have prevented this tragedy.
• The Florida Department of Children and Families, after a home visit with Nikolas
Cruz, determined that he was at low risk of harming himself or others.
• How did they arrive at this conclusion?
• Is it possible they were reluctant to label him as a potential threat to himself or
others because they didn’t want the “blemish” to appear in an official file?
• When the safety and wellbeing of innocent people becomes secondary to the fear
of blemishing the future of a person of questionable mental capacity, that is the
perfect example of Political Correctness at its worst.
• Those failing to take all necessary steps to prevent someone of diminished or
questionable mental capacity from obtaining the proper care and prevent them
from obtaining firearms, must be held accountable.
• Had Cruz been diagnosed as a threat to himself or others, and that information
was properly recorded, he would not have been able to purchase a firearm.
• The FBI failed to act on information regarding threatening posts on Instagram by
Cruz and telephone calls providing information that Cruz planned to shoot up the
• Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to over two-dozen calls regarding
Nikolas Cruz and his violent behavior. Yet, none of this information was recorded
in such a way as to prevent him from legally purchasing the AR-15.
• The failures by these agencies to investigate Nikolas Cruz, his violent behavior
and threats and officially record that information, contributed to his deadly assault
on students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
THE CURRENT CONDITIONS OF OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM:
Firearms are being blamed for assaults, murders, and mass shootings across our
nation in schools, businesses, nightclubs and concerts. Once again, it’s time for that deep
breath and a long, truthful look at what’s happening and contributing to violence in our
schools and society in general.
• There is almost a total breakdown of discipline, self-discipline, respect and
courtesy in our schools, homes and society.
• Just look back at the reported 30,000 students who physically assaulted teachers
and staff and did so without punishment or fear of punish
• In just one example, in Baltimore County, Maryland elementary school teachers
have witnessed almost daily fights in the hallways between first through fifth
grade students. But, there is no punishment/discipline for their actions.
• Teachers who have tried to correct the problems are often threatened by the
parents, some assaulted by parents or they are told to “stand down” by school
• Teachers in all school levels are forced to give passing grades to students who
have failed tests and exams and move them on to the next grade. Those who
argue to hold them back are threatened with the loss of their job for failure to
• Teachers trying to do “the right thing” have had their cars vandalized.
• Teachers drawing close to their retirement dates are saying their departure day
cannot arrive fast enough for them. I have heard teachers say, “I’ve grown to hate
a profession I once loved and was proud to be a part of.”
• Young men and women just out of college and joining the ranks of professional
teachers are immediately dismayed by the obstacles they face. Many are so
miserable within their first years, they are already taking anti-anxiety medication.
• There is the politically correct mentality of “even the losers get trophies,” that
seems to apply to everything from sports to the classroom. That teaches our
children that failure will be rewarded. What happens later in life when they find
there is no pay raise or promotion for failure and poor performance? The usual
lawsuit, I assume.
• On the flip side of the issue, there are teachers telling students it isn’t necessary to
show respect to anyone.
• Teachers wanting to be the “good guy” and partying with their students.
• Parents hosting parties where alcohol is served to minors.
• Parents drinking to excess in front of their children.
• Parents using drugs legally prescribed and/or illegally obtained.
• Parents failing to accept responsibility for their children’s actions and blaming
teachers and others for their children’s problems.
• A breakdown in family communication:
1. Conversation at family dinners has become almost nonexistent. IPads,
I-Phones and/or other electronic devices have taken the place of
2. Look around at families in restaurants. You might see all family
members occupied with their electronic toys, or parents talking while
children are ignored and left to play with their I-Pads, I-Phones, etc.
OTHER CONTRIBUTORS AND EXAMPLES:
In addition to the above listed causes for school shootings, there are multiple cultural
realities that contribute. Here are just a few:
• Every day children of all ages are blasted with music that advocates and glorifies
murder, the killing of police officers, rape, drug use and referring to women as
• Children are playing violent video games, games where you earn greater points
for a higher body count.
• Law breaking politicians, celebrities and professional athletes cannot be
overlooked when we speak of examples and contributors to the problems.
• Nebraska State Democratic Party member, Phil Montag said he was “glad” Rep.
Steve Scalise was shot and that he wished “he was f****** dead.”
• Johnny Depp, Madonna, Kathy Griffin and Snoop Dogg, from the celebrity circle,
have all inferred in one way or another that President Donald Trump should be
dead or killed.
• Hundreds of professional athletes, the role models for so many children, have
been arrested for domestic violence, rape, sexual assault while employing a date
rape drug, drug use and violation of the substance abuse rules of pro sports. Yet,
they are given second, third and fourth chances to continue their careers. (See
Wikipedia’s List of Professional Sports People Convicted of Crimes).
• Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf warns criminal illegal aliens of a
pending raid by ICE.
OTHER MEANS OF MURDER/TERRORISM:
Firearms are not the only means to commit acts of mass murder, terrorism and
• Cars and trucks are being utilized in America and other countries as a means to
commit acts of murder and terrorism.
• Pipe bombs.
• Fertilizer bombs.
* FBI statistics for Homicides in the United States show the following numbers:
1. 2014 – 14,249, 2015 – 15,883 and 2016 – 17,250 – Total: 47,382
2. Of those, it is estimated that 72.1% were committed by use of firearms.
* According to Wikipedia statistics for traffic fatalities show the following numbers:
1. 2014 – 32,744, 2015 – 35,485 and 2016—37,461 – Total: 105,690
* Opioid deaths according to Wikipedia show the following numbers:
1. 2014 – 47,000+, 2015 – 53,000+ and 2016 – 64,000+ -- Total 164,000+. If the
current trend in opioid abuse continues, it is estimated that in 10 years the deaths
caused by opiates will surpass 500,000.
* For the three years shown, there are 58,308 more traffic fatalities and 116,618 more
opioid deaths than homicides.
Yet with all of this available data, only firearms are proclaimed the ultimate evil
and the demands continue to ring loud and long for their abolishment. The mainstream
media is there to fan the wave of anti-gun hysteria, while they turn a blind eye and deaf
ear to traffic deaths and the opioid epidemic.
Citizens, senators, congressmen/women, law enforcement agencies on all levels,
clergy, and school administrators need to approach the issues of violence, be it by firearm
or other means, with an open mind. If you objectively ask the question, “What are the
roots of America’s problems and the cause of so much violence?” It seems the only
logical answer is, “America is a badly broken society in desperate need of repair.”
James Lilley is a former Marine and highly decorated 25-year veteran of the Howard
County, Maryland Police Department. He began his career in law enforcement by
graduating at the top of his police academy class and rose through the ranks to Sergeant.
His police department awards include The Medal of Valor, Four Bronze Stars, Four Unit
Citations and the Governor’s Citation. During his career in the police department he
worked various assignments including Uniformed Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Police
Academy Instructor, Forensic Services and Drug Enforcement. His Street Drug Unit is
featured in the book “Undercover” written by Hans Halberstadt and published by Simon
Mr. Lilley is also a published author with several novels to his credit, including “Fatal
Destiny – The Carjacking Murder of Dr. Pam Basu,” which was named the PoliceWriters.com
Book of the Year for 2013. He was named the 2008 Police-Writers.com
Author of the Year for his novel “The Eyes of the Hunter.” Johns Hopkins University
adopted “The Eyes of the Hunter,” which will be used as a text for the Communications
course in the Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis degree program. Mr. Lilley has
written articles on fitness for Police Chief Magazine and written a Handgun Retention
training program, published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He has
also written over 40 articles for the Baltimore Reporter, one of which was reprinted in the
book “Prisons” published by the Gena Cengage Learning Center.
In addition, Mr. Lilley is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University in the Police Executive
Leadership Program and the Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis degree program.
He has also presented Case Studies to the Johns Hopkins University’s law enforcement
students on the Pam Basu Carjacking Murder.
Mr. Lilley currently holds the rank of 9th Degree Black Belt in Kobayashi Ryu Karate and
is the first American, and one of only three Americans, to be promoted to the rank of
black belt by Mr. Takeshi Miyagi. His book “Mr. Miyagi and Me” details his journey
from awkward beginning days to the present.1 0 2- -