Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preventing the Next Sand Hook: Two Ideas, Both Bad

With the recent shootings, gun control laws and the 2nd Amendment are front in center again. They are talked about, debated and argued everywhere right now. With the horrible act of insane violence that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the debate is more important than ever.

There are two knee jerk reactions gaining momentum right now. A large group of people think the best solution is to ban firearms. Some want to ban military style weapons, some want to ban everything. On the far, far other end of the spectrum is the idea of having armed guards at schools.

If implemented both ideas would have almost the exact same result. Some people would feel a false sense of security. Other people will fee less secure and that they had their civil right impeded upon. And the schools would not be any safer than they are right now.

Why Banning Firearms Won't Work

A partial ban on firearms will not work. It has not worked in the past. It does not work now. Currently in the United States cities with some of the strictest gun laws included Chicago and Detroit. Look up the stats yourself on firearm violence for those two cities.

Plus a gun is a gun. It doesn't matter if its a scary looking black AR-15, or your grandfather's lever action 30-30 deer rifle. A gun in the hands of a person who wants to kill who knows how to work the weapon will be able to kill a lot of people in a short period of time. With practice, a person can load a gun about as fast a they can shoot it.

A full ban would be next to impossible to enact, but even if it could take place, it would not work. Just look what happened when the United States banned alcohol during Prohibition. A black market developed and organized crime flourished with the sale of alcohol that; eluded the initial destruction, was smuggled into the country from Canada and the Caribbean, and the production of unregulated, dangerous moonshine and "bathtub gin."

One could expect the same thing with a full (or partial) ban on guns. An initial hording, followed by smuggling in arms from elsewhere and people making their own unsafe weapons.

Also look how well the ban on drugs has gone. I'm willing to bet if I drove around the county I live in with a pile of cash and knocked on the right doors, within a hour I could fill a grocery bag with marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine. All illegal.

Bottom line, criminals don't follow the laws we have. If facing life in prison or execution is not enough of a deterrent to keep someone from opening fire on a school, do you really think making it illegal to possess a firearm will help? You can not make guns disappear off the face of the Earth and better than you can make methamphetamine disappear. Besides, most of these people are on a suicide mission anyway.

I could go on and on about the subject of gun control and I might in other posts.

Arming the Schools is Just Bad, Bad, Bad

I am even more against the idea of having armed security at schools. Just how are we going to accomplish that? Give the teachers guns? They have more than enough on their plates right now. Their budgets are wasted on administrative BS before the funds make it to the classroom. More and more of the kids they work with are close to uncontrollable. And their struggling to keep up with testing requirements. Now you want to throw marksmanship into the mix?

Do we add government security? Should we have all the kids and visitors pass through a TSA security check at the front door? That will do wonders. Can't wait to take off my shoes and step through the scanner before the next volleyball game I go to.

Yes the arming of teachers and the TSA examples are silly and completely unrealistic. But, even a realistic example of having a couple of city police officers is not a good idea. Unless you have an armed guard at every entrance and in every classroom, a rush attacked could still take out many. What would happen if a  high school kid thought it would be funny to run down the halls with a realistic looking squirt gun and a cop shot him dead?

What good would an army platoon do at a school, if some sick piece of trash placed a backpack bomb on a crowed school bus?

So What Do We Do?

Both ideas would make some feel better, but would just be a waste of resources without providing more that minimal results. But what do we do? Is this simply another part of the decline of mankind?

I say we stop concentrating on the "hows" and focus on the "whys." And I don't have an answer, but here are the things that have been racing through my head.

  • We need to be more aware of our surroundings and look for the signs that someone will do this
  • Make an effort to befriend the lonely outsider at school. Don't need to become BFFs, maybe a simple "hey" when you pass in the hallway could make a sad person's day less sad
  • Find better outlets for anger and frustrations
  • Find the reason for the sadness and depression and confront it, instead of simply suppressing it with prescribed medication or self medicating
  • Are we really being desensitized by violent movies and video game? Maybe when junior wants the next Black Ops shooter game, his parents take him to the VA Hospital to meet and talk to some of our Vets who can tell them exactly how fun those game were in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam.
  • A lot of this comes from broken families. Families need to start bringing back old fashion family values, like spending real time with the kids, no dropping them off at soccer practice while you meet your BFF for coffee at Starbucks.
  • Mentoring. Be a big brother/sister to someone who might have a tough road ahead of them
  • Maybe this seems to happen more in modern times simply because of pure numbers. This didn't seem to happen in the 1950's. There where semi-automatic carbine rifles and handguns then too. But there wasn't 350 million of us in this country either.
I don't know what to do. But I know arming the schools or making 20 round magazines illegal is not the answers. I know what I am going to do. I'm going to pay more attention to what's around me. I'm going to care more. I'm going to get to know more people. I'm also going to be more vigilant for possible trouble. I'm going to be more willing to help.

I also know what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to look for a quick cure all fix. I'm not going to blame. I'm  not going to over react.

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