The Gang That Think Straight
If the nation is really worried about how to prevent another Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, the best advice is stop worrying. The spectacle playing out in Washington as well as many State capitals and even some local communities is a sad testimony to understanding problems and identifying remedies. We must remember, guns don’t kill, people do.
Think about Gabby Giffords, the Aurora Theater, and Sandy Hook. The accused had no legitimate beef with either the target or the innocent collateral victims. These killers were mentally unable to see right from wrong.
Consider also what the killing sites had something in common. There were lots of unsuspecting people gathered. Who would charge, guns blazing, into a crowded mall? Who would dress up, sneak in a back entrance, and surprise a darkened movie house full of attendees? And, why would anyone shoot up an elementary school, killing dozens of innocent and defenseless children?
Banning assault weapons is, in and of itself, not the answer. All of these tragedies could have taken place with hand guns or sawed off shot guns, plus lots of ammunition. All of these tragedies could have taken place in other venues, so putting armed guards in schools is a bozo answer. What about churches, sports stadiums, concert halls, Times Square, or hospital waiting areas?
Sandy Hook was an example of a mental health safety net failure. The perpetrator was a mentally sick person and was not receiving treatment.
But, what if there had been armed guards and the killer was instead a deranged teacher?
There is a problem with labeling Sandy Hook only as a mental health issue. (1) No one knows what to do that does not cost a small fortune, and (2) it is just too tempting to jump to gun control changes which most people have held as necessary for a long time.
State, City, and communities have been cutting mental health services. Without expressly knowing it, they have made a bargain around how much taxes we wish to pay and unintended consequences flowing from reduced mental health services funding. (So why would we put money back in the form of trained, armed school guards?)
Gun controls such as national registrations, gun purchase limits, high capacity ammunition clips, and guns bans (like assault weapons) make sense for totally different reasons. The facts are, however, that many Americans still think the 2nd Amendment is absolute and should be seen without restrictions.
Drawing a line around what the 2nd Amendment might cover, while worthwhile and forward thinking, is not in the political cards at this time.
Congress should be able to analyze Sandy Hook well enough to separate the real issues. They should also be able to realize that there are no absolute solutions. The best we can expect is a reduction in occurrences.
I also wonder what our Congressional leaders will say when some political or religious group, armed with the best military style weapons we can freely buy, descends upon the Cotton Bowl and massacres hundreds in the name of some cause?