About Gun Control and Related Issues
Let's do have a discussion about gun control. But let's also have a discussion about ammunition, explosives, about chemicals, the First Amendment, depiction of violence in the movies, violence in sports, drug use, civility, driving and drinking, driver's training, and the mental health system. All of these have been cited as contributors to random and unexpected death.
Start with gun control. Start with reading the controls that we have now and the locations where they are the most stringent. Start with determining who committed the murder and whether their acts of having or acquiring weapons was criminal or not. Take a look at Norway's laws on guns. How did that psycho in Norway kill all those people?
How do suicide bombers get all their explosives? What about the Timothy McVeigh's of this world? What about the street gangs? More people die in a weekend in Chicago than died in Aurora. Gun or drugs? Banning drugs hasn't seemed to work and some think it fuels the violence. But which drugs do we ban and/or control? Seems that more and more people want more and more drugs (note rise in use of synthetic drugs). Give it to them or control the distribution?
What about the mental health system? Most long term mental hospital facilities have closed in favor of drug-controlled, back-in-the-community treatment. Has this contributed to the incidence of mass killing, not to mention homelessness? Has the incidence of mass killing increased or is this the result of mass media and instant reporting coupled with population growth?
What about the First Amendment? As disruptive as the Second Amendment? Words can be provocative. Wars have been started with words. What kind of controls should we place on speech and writing? What incites people to violence? Haven't political disputes and/or ideas resulted in mass casualties and violence?
Along those lines, what about movies and video games? It is well known (Japanese army did this Read "The Rape of Nanking") that continued exposure to violence can numb the sensitivity to it. Look at the violence in sports - football and hockey where people come to watch the fights or the big hits. Anyone remember the movie "Roller Ball"? Boxing has evolved to cage fighting which is akin to organized dog fighting. Some have even argued that the old road runner cartoons promoted violence.
How many people die in auto crashes? Nearly 40,000 a year and probably 20 per cent are caused by drinking and driving. Yet, we permit drinking and tolerate access to alcohol for those with drivers' licenses. And, we tolerate speeding which is another killer. Nor do we train drivers well. We put young (and too old) people into 3,000 pound moveable, mobile, and high powered vehicles and say, "go to it".
Then there are those who feel the spiritual base of this country, if not the world, has gone to hell. A spiritual sense of life may be essential to preserving not just life, but the quality of life. Of course, there are also those who feel that the spiritual side as expressed in organized religions over thousands of years has caused mass loss of life. Today, that certainly applies to those extremist Muslim who preach death to the outsiders and even some insiders.
Can we deal with just one of these topics without dealing with all? Can anything be done about those who feel the urge to kill and can always find some weapon. Remember the little ditty about Lizzie Borden?: "Lizzie Borden had an ax/She gave her mother 40 whacks/And when she saw what she had done/She gave her father 41."
For now, the discussion isn't really serious. It's an election year and it's about politics. If you want to have a serious, intellectual discussion about any and all of these issues, it will have to wait. Two things I forgot and need to mention: 1) I have a permit to carry and my wife has an NRA membership and 2) The simplest way to control weapons is to ban the manufacture of ammunition.