Another horrible, awful nightmare from which it is impossible to awake. We are far too close to this tragedy to think clearly, but I am afraid that that proximity will not keep us from acting. We seem to be more interested in shape than substance these days, and there is an interest in doing something, anything, that makes it seem as though we have the situation under control, when the truth is anything but.
We have introduced and repealed Prohibition. We are considering (and in some cases, actually) repealing some drug laws. Yet, it seems that we learn nothing from these examples. People being murdered by guns is terrible, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the answer is to ban the guns.
A military expert was holding a seminar the other day. He said that we can come up with new-fangled gear to detect IED’s, and new techniques to disarm them, but the best way to deal with IED’s is to talk to the locals. Deal with the problem at the source. Stop it before it is even put in place, or at least, discover the problem before it becomes a problem. Banning guns is a bit like that.
We can make it illegal to own, sell, or manufacture assault rifles and automatic weapons. But attempting to keep this form of attack out of the hands of those who would use it against innocents does nothing to address the reason why such a person would commit such an attack in the first place.
We are spending a lot of time dealing with symptoms, when what we really need to address are root causes. Owning a gun is not a root cause of killing people, any more than owning a vehicle is a root cause of driving drunk.
One of the liberal pundits said that we need to do something to make sure that this sort of tragedy never happens again. It is that hubris that we need to counter. There is no such thing as safe in this world: not safe from hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning strikes, terrorist attacks, or attacks on school children. We can do what we can to protect ourselves; we can do what we can to keep the wolves at bay; but there is no way to ensure safety. The sooner we divest ourselves of that notion, the sooner we can address real problems, and attempt to find real solutions.
The newly widowed are advised to not make any life-altering decisions for a year after the death of their loved one. We don’t seem to have the opportunity to wait twelve months between these horrific attacks, but we do have the obligation, those of us not intimately involved, to step back and investigate the matter more fully before jumping in with ideas based on nothing more than a visceral reaction to outrage.
It seems as though making criminals out of those who would otherwise be law-abiding citizens is not the smart move. It didn’t work for booze, it didn’t work for pot, and it most likely will not work for guns. There must be another, more long-term, more far-reaching solution than setting up another ban that will be ill-enforced.
There will always be disturbed people in the world, and they will always have access to some sort of weapon. We have got to find a way to either defend ourselves and our loved ones, disarm the perpetrators before they can strike, or identify those who have issues so that they can receive the help that they need or be isolated from those they would hurt.
It’s hard to think clearly when we are all in such pain, but we owe it to ourselves to think rationally about the entire situation, not just engage in a knee-jerk response.