Friday, December 21, 2012
The NRA's response to the Sandy Hook tragedy is reprehensible beyond belief. No remorse, no outrage (except at the media who dares to bring up the issue of gun control), no respect for the dead or for how the nation is reacting to this tragedy. They had an opportunity to join an adult discussion of the various issues involved, and instead chose to double down on their goal of putting guns in the hands of every living American, no matter how (in)capable.
1. If we say that schoolteachers need to be armed or have armed guards, aren't we essentially saying that our system of public laws and law enforcement isn't working? (Wonder how our police officers feel about that...)
2. Putting more guns in the hands of more citizens (whether schoolteacher or armed guards) simply puts more guns out there, and more guns equal more gun violence. (I'm a numbers guy; stats don't lie.) Worse, it puts more guns nearer the hands of school-aged children, and some will gain access to those guns, and more accidents or malice will result.
3. Speaking of guns in the hands of teachers, isn't this the same society that undervalues and underpays teachers? So let's go ahead and arm them and make them responsible for school security, too. Where's the logic in that?
4. Finally, I really don't want my grandkids going to a school that's essentially an armed camp. This isn't the wild west. I want better for my grandkids, and for all kids. It's a horrible message to send that they're in constant danger, and that only guns can protect them. Our country is better than that, or should be.
For anyone who says they really don't want to live in Australia or England or wherever that has stricter gun laws, I say, why not? Fewer guns mean fewer senseless deaths, period. Australia, England, et al have it right and we have it wrong. Second amendment be damned (and the intent of it is certainly open to interpretation), we have to reduce the number of unnecessary guns in this country, do something to tamp down our culture of violence, and ramp up and civilize our treatment of the mentally ill. Gun control isn't the only solution, but it's part of the solution. It's a tough situation, but that shouldn't stop us from attacking it.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
I believe that guns are weapons of mass destruction, and we should be as dedicated to their removal from our society as we are the removal of WMDs from unworthy foreign countries. If it were in my hands, here is what I would do:
1. Immediately halt the sales of all gun ammunition. Institute a program where hunters and qualified/trained professionals can obtain the necessary ammunition for their needs, probably one years' worth at a time, but make it difficult/impossible for citizens to purchase ammunition for any non-hunting guns they might own. (No current ammunition or weapons would be confisticated, although a government "buyback" program should be instituted to remove as much existing ammunition from the streets as possible.)
2. Whenever a gun is used to commit a murder or violent crime, immediately halt sales of that model gun in the U.S., forever. Require the manufacturer of that gun to pay $5 million (per incident) into a special mental health fund.
3. As soon as possible, convene a panel of mental health experts to determine how the new mental health fund should be spent, with the goal of identifying and helping those in mental/emotional distress and protecting the general public from potential incidents.
This plan would have the effect of reducing the number of gun-related crimes (no ammo to shoot), removing the most dangerous guns from the streets (those used to commit crimes), and improving the state of mental health care for those who seriously need it.
Feel free to discuss.