People turn to religion and guns.

I don’t understand why America can’t talk about guns without getting angry.

I think that kind of illustrates our problem.  I mean, seriously.  If we were all tweens a parent would come along and say, “Look.  If you’re not mature enough to be able to have a disagreement about guns without cursing and yelling at each other, you’re definitely not mature enough to have a gun.  Now apologize!  And then go think about your behavior.”

Why is this hard?

If you want to drive you can take a test and get a permit. You take a class. You can buy a car and pay mandatory insurance.

Then you have to adhere to a crap ton of rules and laws about where you can drive. When you can stop and go and how fast you can go.  Even where and how you can park.

Your vehicle has to pass tests, too. It can’t pollute too much. It has to be in safe and reliable working order.

You can’t operate your vehicle when you’re drunk or otherwise mentally or physically impaired.

All of this to minimize carnage and chaos.

If you want to ride a motorcycle or drive an 18 wheeler or operate construction equipment? A special license, class and insurance.  Same if you want to pilot an airplane.

Machines of war? That’s a whole different ball game. Or at least on another scale of training and accountability.

There. Done. Problem solved, right? Okay. Wishful thinking on my part.

With Great Power…

But you see my point. The level of training and accountability and rules increase as the destructive capacity of the weapons increases.

If you want a fully automatic weapon, body armor and armor piercing rounds you are going to have to be part of an elite group of people, one way or another.

Yes, Lanza could have used a bomb but that’s why bombs are very illegal to own and make.  That’s why you can’t go to your local Walmart and buy a few boxes of C4 or TNT.  Not even in the South where you hear news, weather, traffic and hunting reports on the radio during rush hour.

Here’s one thing we all can agree on.  Adam Lanza should never have had access to guns and assault-style rifles.  If you have a troubled young adult or teen, soothing them or letting them soothe themselves with tools of destruction and lethal violence — that’s not healthy.

A Constitutional Right

There are boundaries to even our constitutional rights. All of them. Boundaries and consequences.  I’m not anti-gun.  I think most able-bodied adults should be familiar with them, at least in passing.  I think people should be able to go to a gun range and practice and have fun.  Go to a range and fire .50 calibers at cars or what not.  Bikini girls with carbines.  I’m not a hunter but it’s a good skill for anyone to have assuming they’re responsible and efficient.  People should be allowed to protect their homes.

Of course, that’s where things get tricky in that there are a lot of a-holes with guns.  Or normal people that swing a little toward the a-hole side of the spectrum and they have a bad day/week/year and all of a sudden.  Should a repeat drunk driver have access to firearms?  A violent ex-felon?  A domestic abuser?  A stalker?  Should someone on anti-depressants or anti-psychotics be allowed to have firearms? What about someone who lives in a house with any of those above?  That starts to get tricky.

There are details to work out and things to discuss. There are things that apply in areas of the country that don’t apply to others. Rural vs. suburban vs. urban vs. White House vs. prison vs. private property vs. public property.

I don’t see where the vitriol fits. Anger and guns is always a combustible and unproductive combination.

Arming Teachers

Once you arm teachers they cease being teachers and become guards.  The schools become armed learning camps.

Do teachers even want to have guns?  Would the teacher carry a gun on their person?  In a drawer or a closet or a lockbox?  I mean, let’s assume that a percentage of teachers are armed and not all of them.  That’s a lot of guns to be in a school with children and teenagers around.

Suppose a teacher has a concealed weapon and yet is smaller in stature and is teaching children who are physically stronger than he or she.

What about the teachers who become sexually obsessed with their students?  How would we safely screen the teachers?  Drug tests, alcohol tests, psych tests, training, enforcement.  Where’s that money going to come from?

Would he/she take the gun home with them at night?  I assume so since schools aren’t very secure.  Lots of breakable windows.

If we’re going to go there why not give some of the kids guns, too.  ROTC and Junior National Guard.  What could possibly go wrong?

Armed Guards

And where’s this money going to come from?  Not that my major concern is about money over the lives of children.  My point is that we as a society don’t seem to be willing to deal with social issues or to pay for them.

Would NRA members be willing to pay more taxes if it meant having at least one armed guard in every school?

And the idea of armed volunteers?  Really?

Technology

Could technology help?  Is there photo recognition software that can detect a weapon?  Metal detectors at every entrance that would set off an alarm maybe?

One of those Robocop prototypes would be nice but I don’t fully trust technology to be 100%.

What about gun technology on the prevention end?  Is it possible to only have guns work for registered owners?  I know, I know.  This is fantasy because of all the weapons already out there on the streets.  But some day.  It’s already being tried or experimented with by some gun makers.

What if Lanza’s mother’s guns were coded for her use only?

Split Second Decision

I get worried about people who legally carry guns exercising their judgment in various situations.  They’re untrained and they have all the prejudices that human beings have.

I fear that in a chaotic situation, for example, I would look more threatening than an Adam Lanza or any of the other shooters in the news recently.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.  There seems to be plenty of room to be sensible and try to prevent these tragedies and evils from happening again and again, but we don’t want to fix it.  We don’t want to deal with the combination of people with mental problems and the resources it takes to treat them — other than through the criminal justice system — and their ability to get their hands on enough tactical weaponry to go to war against our softest and most vulnerable parts.

Protect the innocent.  Put some deterrents around these so-called soft targets.  Just make sure any weapons are in the hands of capable, trained, mentally sound and competent individuals.

I know that even that is overly simplistic but you know.  It’s time to be reasonable.

The Conversation

And if I can end on something that may be controversial but I believe it’s true.

I’ve noticed that people who own or want guns consider themselves responsible and trustworthy.  They therefore assume that anyone else with legally obtained guns is responsible and trustworthy, despite much evidence to the contrary.

They also consider the thousands of homicides on the streets — let’s just say it, black guys killing other black guys mostly — to not be related to the issue.  Because they’re thugs.  And who knows where those guns actually come from.

On Huffington post today there’s a lot of links to news of gun related homicides, shootings and accidents.

But if you really want to convince those who are conservative and very pro-gun that some rules (or re-enacting old rules) is in order you’re not going to convince them by showing them articles of black people committing crimes with guns.  They don’t relate to that.  Hundreds of shootings on the streets of Chicago this year — what the hell is going on over there — doesn’t mean much to them as long as that crime stays contained in “urban” communities.

Shoot.  How would we control those guns?  Were they illegally obtained?  Stolen?  Where the heck did all those guns come from?  How do the parents fit into all of this?

It’s a culture of guns just like the rest of America.  Like the Capone gangster movies.  Like the Wild West.  All the rugged individual violence that we venerate.  Except with young people being indoctrinated into materialism at all costs, an exaggerated sense of machismo and a “street soldier” mentality.

I don’t know.  There’s a lot of aspects here and they’ve come together to create a perfect storm of nihilism and fear.

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