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We are pleased to announce Matthew Kessler as the winner of the 2008 $1,000 OFCC Academic Scholarship!

Matthew is a sophomore at Ohio University majoring in Adventure Recreation. He is a member of the Second Amendment Club, the National Rifle Association, and Ohioans For Concealed Carry.

Below is his winning essay, submitted in response to the question, "Is an armed citizenry relevant to the war on terrorism?"

OFCC created this scholarship, awarded to a student enrolled in an Ohio college or university who is a current member in good standing of an active on-campus student organization devoted to gun rights or Ohioans For Concealed Carry, because we feel it is important to invest in the future of gun rights activism. By helping these students now, we help ourselves in the future.

Congratulations, Matthew!

Is an armed citizenry relevant to the war on terrorism?

Ted Nugent said “God gave us the gift of life. It is the most precious gift ever. To be unarmed is to be helpless to protect that gift; that is outright irresponsible.”

Anyone who owns a gun for self defense has made the decision to take their protection into their own hands. This protection is from criminal threats of violence, which may take many forms, including the various types of terrorism. A person who uses a gun for such a reason has the ability to deter, or at a minimum, to mitigate many of the small-scale attacks that make up the vast majority of violence throughout this and most other countries. The following four examples, the Geneva County shooting spree, the Chhotrapati Shivaji Terminus attack, the Beslan school takeover, and the Israeli Mercaz HaRav yeshiva school shooting, show both how armed citizens can play a vital role in preventing terrorism, and how tragic these attacks can be when government forces are relied on as the only means for protection.

A recent small scale terrorist attack, occurring in Geneva County, Alabama, involved a lone gunman (Michael McLendon) killing ten people before shooting himself. However, as the rampage went through a hardware store, the owner and employees attempted to stop the attack with their own guns, owned for the purpose of protection. Had the citizens been a few minutes sooner they would have engaged the shooter, probably killing or wounding him, but at a minimum slowing him down so that the police would have time to intervene and he would have had to take his own life sooner. Unfortunately, McLendon drove off and killed several more people before being confronted by police. He held himself up in Reliable Products, and sensing that the end was near he took his own life.

Another example of a small scale terrorist attack occurred on November 26, 2008 in India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the largest train stations in India, was attacked by two terrorist armed with an AK-47’s and hand grenades. The attackers killed fifty two people and injured many others. The only gun in the station was a fabrique nationale .303 in the hands of a police officer. The officer missed eight times before his gun jammed. Had anyone else in the station been carrying a weapon, they would have had a fighting chance. The attack was ended

A third example is the Beslan school takeover which occurred on September 1, 2004. The North Ossetia-Alania School Number One, located on the same street as a police station, was infiltrated by Chechen Martyrs armed with firearms and explosives. They took roughly 1,900 people hostage for three days, of which over three hundred people (including children) were killed. It is impossible to argue that teachers with concealed weapons would have endangered the children more so than this team of terrorist. It is also impossible to argue that police can provide adequate protection of life and limb against militant extremism. It is however doubtful that a single teacher would have been able to stop this attack, but the school had 110 of them. The siege was finally ended when Russian security forces fired incendiary missiles at the school and stormed the building during a two hour gun battle, using civilian marksmen for support.

The final example involves the Jerusalem religious school Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, which was attacked by a single Palestinian terrorist armed with an AK-47. The gunman, Alaa Abu Dhein, killed eight and wounded ten students during the first fourteen minutes of the attack. While the police officer who arrived on the scene worked crowd control outside the building, Yitzhak Dadon, an armed student, engaged and shot the perpetrator. Without his weapon, he would have been powerless to stop the attack that police seemed reluctant to get involved with. This case of quick response with delayed action on the part of law enforcement is not uncommon. Earlier this year, Binghamton, N.Y. Immigration Services Center massacre ended when police, who arrived at the scene within minutes, but failed to enter for an additional forty minutes, when the perpetrator was believed to have committed suicide. Police forces cannot be relied on to protect civilians against terrorist attacks.

It is clear that an armed citizenry not only has the potential to aid the war on terrorism, but it is in fact the first line of defense against militant extremism in all of it’s forms. Government police and military forces have failed time and time again to provide adequate protection for citizens, even in first world countries such as our own.

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