The recent shooting at the school in Connecticut was absolutely horrible. The week before that incident there was a shooting at the Clackamas Town Center in Portland Oregon which is only about 30 miles from where I live. It wasn’t that long ago that a dozen people were killed in a Colorado movie theater.
Do guns kill people or do people kill people (and the guns are just an ends to the means)? The debate rages on. If guns weren’t so readily available, would these massacres still have happened? In most of these cases, the gunman turns the weapon on themselves after their killing spree. Is it so hard to imagine a suicide bomber strapping an improvised bomb to themselves and entering a school or mall and taking out dozens of people?
The NRA is saying we should be posting armed guards (possibly National Guardsmen) at schools and other events. Unless we start installing TSA Airport screen devices and checkpoints at all of these locations, how are we going to prevent a shooter from doing at least some damage? If the gunman is that intent on killing people, a couple of guys out front is not going to stop them. Case in point: the Columbine shooting incident had an armed sheriff’s deputy on site and that didn’t stop the shooter.
Ok, here is where I get on my soap box for a few minutes.
I believe in the 2nd amendment. If it weren’t for guns, we would still be under British rule. This country was built in part by guns. I don’t agree with some of it, but having an armed population can sometimes make a corrupt despot think twice about doing what North Korea has done to its people.
While I don’t hunt or shoot for sport, I have hunted in the past and went shooting for sport. While in the military, I shot sem-automatic and automatic weapons. I personally own a shotgun and a pistol. I understand that some people enjoy shooting weapons just for the pleasure of doing so. Guns have always fascinated me in how they are made. The precision and tooling required to create a gun I find very interesting.
I do however feel that we should ban the sale of automatic/semi-automatic weapons and large clips/magazines for general public use with one caveat. If you want one of these weapons, you can have one, but you MUST keep it at an approved firing range. I don’t see any need for someone to take their semi-automatic weapon out of one of these facilities. You want to shoot fully auto? Fine, do it in an approved facility or target range. The guns will have some sort of RFID or tagging system that sends out an alert if it leaves the approved gun range.
I don’t want to see the banning of single action bolt rifles, hand guns (with regular sized clip), shotguns or anything like that. I feel a person has the right to protect their property and go hunting (this from a vegetarian 😉 ). I do think it should be harder to acquire these weapons than is currently in place.
I don’t think posting armed guards everywhere is going to help. I think all that does is give a false sense of security. Many banks have armed guards and bank robbers still rob banks. They may wear body armor or they just feel like they are invincible – whatever.
Here is the monkey wrench that is being thrown into the works: 3D printed plastic guns. Pretty soon it won’t matter how much you regulate or try and stop gun proliferation, 3D printing is going to change that. Right now the availability of 3D printers are still too expensive for most people, but so too was inkjet printers when they first came out. 3D printers are set to change manufacturing and distribution in the coming years. Right now the guns being printed are crude and the parts are being banned in several of the online 3D parts repositories. This is hard to keep up with especially as time goes on and more parts and repositories are out there (think BitTorrent for 3D parts).
Bottom line is that we need to start looking at the why’s and how’s that creates these sort of horrible tragedies. Is it because we have a society based on violence? Well, things were violent back throughout history. Gunfights in the Old West, dueling with swords or guns at the drop of a hat, etc. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons just make this killing more efficient.
Perhaps we should be spending more time on “at risk” individuals who have displayed anti-social tendencies or have serious mental issues. I don’t mean to just drug them up with the latest drug du jour that big pharma has cooked up, I mean real work with these people. To me this is where we should be spending our time and money.
Look, I don’t have the answers here. I don’t know who has them. But, I think we as a society should be constantly talking about these things. We shouldn’t wait for a horrible tragedy to occur to start talking about it. That isn’t the time to have serious discourse on the subject.
I am hoping as a society we learn to better understand what causes these types of occurrences so that we can become something better than we are now.