I wrote this piece just after the murders at Sandy Hook.
I decided not to publish at the time simply because the issue was too emotive and raw. Time has passed and it is time for solutions.
Listening to talk radio whilst driving is enough to make ones blood boil whether you are conservative or liberal in philosophy because the views and opinions are intractable and predictable. Of course the topic for a week has been gun control and the horror of Sandy Hook. It's a parents worst nightmare right up there with child abduction. Suffice to say a sad lunatic with gun shot adults and kids without remorse. The why may be down to prescription drugs (fanapt) http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nancy-lanza-feared-son-adam-worse-article-1.1221505, his own bad head chemistry and of course easy access to his weapon of choice. The anti gun crowd contends if he didn't have access to guns then we wouldn't be talking about Sandy Hook. The NRA contends that if the teachers were carrying then he would have been stopped. Both arguments have some merit and both are flawed.
There are 190 Million guns in private hands in this country. Any idiot can buy one with a couple of hundred bucks legally or otherwise. Taking guns away from the public would take decades no matter what the coercions or incentives are. So let's get that off the table right now. It will never happen.
The NRA's argument that if a teacher was carrying is equally flawed because the lunatic would just show up with a bigger guns and body armor or build a bomb. So lets use the tech we have and a little common sense. Students and teachers go into schools. Visitors have to wait either outside or in a visitor room with bullet proof glass. Not expensive and not difficult to administer.
Kudos go to the NRA as they proposed that all schools should have a volunteer force of ex-army and retired cops to patrol the schools. Not a bad solution except the thought of some guy with PTSD returning from Afghanistan doesn't fill me with confidence. The unintended consequences of this will be the pedophiles will be lining up around the block to volunteer to hang out at the schools all day in a position of authority.
Ref: see Catholic Church.
I'll still give them kudos and assume it was not a cynical move to deflect the argument. I give them kudos for proposing a solution, any solution.
It's always easy to critique an argument than propose a solution. So here is my PARTIAL solution and it focuses on the fact that most of these crimes are committed by children.
Unless you have had military training, security, cop etc you don't have the right to carry a gun until you are thirty. Why thirty? ... Because you are not mature enough or responsible enough to carry a weapon.
Chances are you left High School at 18 and headed off to never never land a.k.a. college where the biggest decision you make is Schlitz or Bud Light and debated the merits of butt chugging vs traditional ingestion of alcohol. If you went the Ivy league route chances are you headed off to never never land part two in the form of corporate sponsorship, Wall St. etc. and now you think dabbling in coke is something you can handle. You are still a child. There is enough evidence to verify the human brain is still immature at least until mid twenties.
Ref: Brain matures at 30 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8204782/Brain-only-fully-matures-in-middle-age-claims-neuroscientist.html
The other reason for the 30 rule is if you have bad head chemistry chances are the problem would be documented by 30 and then no gun for you. It's kind of normal to be a sulky 18 yr. old but if you are still sulky at 30 then chances are there is something wrong with you and hopefully it's been noticed.
So lets address the biggest waste of time argument before Aurora, Sandy Hook, Columbine etc. Assault weapons, automatics etc etc. Let's face it if you need a machine gun to hunt deer you shouldn't be hunting deer. The only hunting excuse or self defense excuse you have for action hero weaponry as defense is this guy. So it's down to fun not self defense.
Don't get me wrong if I could legally drive a tank on the streets and carry a bazooka on my shoulder I would. I like shooting things and blowing things up. It's fun but it has no place in the city and what I would like to do is best kept to deserted islands so it doesn't infringe upon the rights of my fellow citizens. But the whole assault weapons thing is crap on so many levels mainly because the Genie is out of the bottle. Magazines can be altered on a whim. Semi automatics can be altered to full automatic with little effort. High capacity magazines can be printed at home now etc etc.
So here is the solution. Pay the local gun club with the shooting range to store the crazy stuff so that you can go to the range and shoot off the fun stuff. If you can't afford that then leave it with the local cops to store for you and then find a cheap range. Better still the cop stations should have a range open to the public. You check it in and out and it's used in a controlled environment. If you have any guns and kids you need to lock the guns up. You need to go to the cop station with proof that it can be locked up. If your kid is found with your gun then you should be held as responsible as your kid.
There needs to be a penalty for possession of a weapon under 30 but not so punitive that the perp would consider shooting someone rather than facing some unreasonable amount of time in prison. The hit should be a year picking up garbage on the highways or some other miserable community service drudgery. No ass rapery and introductions to gang life via prison.
Since I wrote this I have read no end of conspiracy theories and ideas about who, what and where and some rubbish about Batman dropping hints but one article that is really worth reading is here. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-01-shooters-how-video-games-fund-arms-manufacturers
The writer explores product placement within video games and points out that kids who play "Call of Duty" etc. really know their weaponry (or at least think they do) and have already picked out what sort of weapons they are going to buy when they come of age. I bet none of these kids would know how to field dress an injury from the weapons they worship.
* Next week we solve Schizophrenia and nuclear weapons proliferation.