Columbine High School is by no means the first school shooting or attack in U.S. history; rather, what sets it apart is that it was one of the first that was broadcast around the world, almost instantaneously, in what is now typical 24-hour news cycle fashion. The coverage included all the “how could this happen here?” comments, along with the talking heads who insisted they knew everything that contributed to the decision by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to slaughter some of their classmates and teachers.
And, thus, it was one that went a long way toward influencing the views of people who were coming of age in 1999. In the decades since, each mass shooting has piled on to the argument that the gun control advocates make.
Chad Felix Greene was not immune to falling for the Columbine argument. To this day, he recalls the aftermath of the wall-to-wall media coverage that followed the incident. “We watched the news in shock and growing fear. Being in school was tangibly frightening as the hallways slowly closed in on us and each classroom felt like a cage,” he wrote for The Federalist.
And so, in the years after that Colorado school shooting, Greene became active in the gun control movement, even joining the anti-war movement after the 9/11 attacks.
But something happened as he morphed out of the teens/early 20s activism years. He came to understand that his opposition to guns wasn’t based on a solid foundation, but rather on an irrational fear.
“I changed my mind when I realized the Second Amendment was a recognition of an inherent right rather than something the government allowed us the freedom to enjoy. Like speech, it became clear to me that this right had more to do with liberty than personal security or interest. Restricting gun ownership is an act of government infringement on our civil rights,” he wrote.
He says the same irrational fear that influenced him as a youth is providing fuel for the fire of today’s clamor for gun control.
Today, he has taken his fight to the other side, joining the NRA, he said, “because I so strongly value liberty and deeply oppose government infringement on my civil rights for any reason that I realized I had no other choice.”
And there you have it in a nutshell. The right to own a gun is not just a way that people strive to answer the siren call of machismo. It’s about preserving an inalienable right to life and liberty, part of the very foundation of the American republic and something our forebears often have been called upon to fight for.