Anti-Gun Zealot Hoisted on His Own Petard

by Charles C. W. Cooke

From New York State’s WIVB4:

More than a dozen cop cars, the SWAT team, K9 units and the Erie County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter swarmed Harvey Austin Elementary School in Buffalo on Thursday after reports of a man with a gun near the school or on the grounds. Dwayne Ferguson, head of the Buffalo chapter of MAD DADS, was taken into custody. He will be arraigned Friday.

Meanwhile, the SWAT team conducted a more thorough secondary search of the school. It was during the secondary search that police found Ferguson with a gun.

Police believe the 52-year-old may have been the person that prompted the 911 call. Police say they do not believe he had any ill intent and Ferguson has a valid permit for the weapon.

However, for having a loaded weapon on school grounds, Ferguson has been charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Authorities say Ferguson was at the school because he teaches an after school program, though he is not a district employee.

And who, pray, was “Ferguson”?

News 4 interviewed Ferguson in March of 2013 at a rally in support of the NY SAFE Act. At the time, Ferguson stated the law did not go far enough.

“Our kids are not buying assault weapons, they’re buying pistols and they’re buying them right out of community stores and back here in the school. So this is serious. It needs to go further than what it is,” he said.

Ah, that Ferguson. The Ferguson who, according to the Buffalo News, was a “well-known face in the movement for the SAFE Act, the state law that made carrying a gun on school property a felony.”

Here’s the thing: You live by hysteria, you die by hysteria. I have no doubt whatsoever that Ferguson would never so much as dream of hurting a child. But then nor would pretty much anybody who has been affected by the absurd laws that he supported in New York State and, it seems, to which he wants to add. I have no doubt either that Ferguson a good man who can be trusted fully to carry a gun in a school. But, again: Do you know who else is good? All of the other law-abiding citizens who are legally prohibited from taking guns into schools. And do you know who isn’t good? The sort of people who are going to shoot up a school and who don’t pay the slightest bit of notice to signs telling them that they are breaking the law.

Friends rallied around Ferguson:

“I’m sure Dwayne went into the school not thinking he had the gun on him,” said Rev. James E. Giles, a friend of Ferguson and president of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries. “We know this for a fact, that he called out to a Buffalo police lieutenant asking why the school was in lockdown, and that they were looking for a man with a gun.

Fair enough. But one has to wonder how Ferguson would have reacted if this had been, say, me. Would he have explained patiently that it was merely a mistake, or would he have talked about “protecting the children” and “securing the schools” and “making sure that we stop the next Sandy Hook,” as is his wont? Dunno. This much we do know, however: This is a country with an awful lot of firearms and an awful lot of carry-permit holders, and draconian laws such as those for which Ferguson likes to lobby are not only useless and counter-productive but often end up ensnaring the ignorant, forgetful, and the naive, too. Let this be a lesson, perhaps: This can happen to you, however good your intentions. 

Ferguson will now face the felony charges that he helped to push through. “For tis the sport to haue the enginer / Hoist with his owne petar.”

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