A retired special-forces officer reflects on the Connecticut school shooting, arming citizens at home—and what a first-grade teacher shows us about courage.
U.S. society feels like a war zone to me. I want to carry a weapon, but I don't want the burden of walking around armed. I can imagine walking into a mall and feeling the weight of a revolver in an ankle holster. I sit down to watch my 8-year-old pick out a dress in a kids’ store and wonder who will notice the older gentleman with a strap hanging below his pant cuff.
I just came back from Afghanistan, where I didn't carry a pistol, but a rifle. Pistols are worthless when facing a rifle, and all the Taliban carry AK-47s. Also, by carrying an M-4 carbine, everybody knew I was carrying something that could stitch even U.S. body armor. My rifle was inconvenient to carry, but pistols were common to almost every dead U.S. service member who died in a green-on-blue attack. I have no idea if my rifle deterred an Afghan from shooting me in the back. But everyone knew I was armed and presumably dangerous.