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By Larry Pratt

September 10, 2004

Even before the victims were buried, the politically correct "Monday-morning quarterbacking" had begun. Why had efforts failed to stop the butchery of children and adults in a school in Beslan, Russia?

Some European leaders wondered why there had not been negotiations, suggesting that the carnage was the fault of the Russian government whose troops stormed the school and rescued hundreds of hostages!

Blame the victim. This is the disarmament logic that has hobbled national and self defense for most of the last century. Don't resort to violence when threatened by a thug . . . that will only provoke an escalation of violence, we are told.

The Russian government should be blamed, but not for the way it handled the crisis, once it unfolded. Blame is deserved for the immoral policy of civilian disarmament that left a school unprotected. No principals, counselors, teachers, janitors - nobody was armed except the bad guys.

And the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel scenario in Russia could just as easily happen in the United States because we have the same anti-self defense policy in our schools. We have invited terrorists to strike our schools because we have singled these institutions out as criminal safe zones.

The zero-tolerance mantra of the anti-self defense crowd would rather have us suspend a boy or girl for forming the likeness of a gun with their fingers than consider the danger of disarmament. America's porous borders have given ample opportunity for Islamist fascists to enter, form and launch a Beslan-type attack right here in the United States. Groups of illegal Arab immigrants have been apprehended inside our Arizona border.

A Muslim terrorist, Shamil Besayev, directed the Russian attack. Besayev is credited with the Moscow Theater and other acts of murder in Russia.

Shamil Besayev is a Chechin terrorist who is part of the Wahhabi sect of Islam - the same that spawned Osama ben Ladden.

The only way to stop terrorists like Besayev and his thuggish followers is to kill them. Negotiations are impossible with those who come to kill, not to talk; and appeasement only encourages worse attacks.

Surrender-at-any price advocates object that if teachers and other school personnel open up on invading jihadists, innocent people -- even kids -- might be killed. What can one say to such an argument in the face of 350 defenseless victims?

Oh, we should rely on SWAT teams, some will argue. First of all, the Islamist fascists kill on the way in. Talking is for bedwetters. They must suffer return fire immediately. And, what if more than one school is attacked simultaneously in one city? How many SWAT teams are there?

While these murderous thugs are willing to die, they want to do so on their own terms. It is up to armed defenders to kill them in the first moments of an attack and spoil their bloody plans.

The U.S. needs to change its deadly gun bans in the nation's schools. Otherwise, when a group of Islamist fascists attacks a school in the United States, we will join the Russians in mourning the needless deaths of defenseless schoolyard victims.

In 1975, Islamist butchers slaughtered students in an Israeli school. After that, their schools have been protected not only by guards, but by armed adults (staff and even parents) as well. By the grace of God, no further attacks have occurred.

Congress needs to act decisively to enhance America's homeland security. Congress must pass legislation enable schools to become armed. Our congressmen need to hear from us before it is too late.

� 2004 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:   E-Mail:








Islamist butchers slaughtered students in an Israeli school. After that, their schools have been protected not only by guards, but by armed adults (staff and even parents) as well.